My daughter, Hayley, and her husband, are expecting our first grandchild and I very recently had the fun of hosting a baby shower for her! Being the crafty mama I am (and grandma I will be!!!), I thought it would be fun to have a crafty activity for the guests to enjoy! *grin*
Appliquéd baby onesies make a darling group project, and with a little forethought and advance preparation, they can be easily made during a party, even by inexperienced crafters!
Plain white baby onesies in a variety of sizes were purchased and then washed, making sure not to use any fabric softener or fabric softener sheets; this step will remove the sizing and help create the best/strongest bond when fusing the appliqués to the onesies.
ETA (as per a question down in the comments, related to this project post):
For any fabrics you are using to do the applique work that could potentially shrink, you will want to pre-wash and dry them, without any softener, as well. Then iron them flat before fusing the Heat-N-Bond to the back side so you have a nice, smooth application.
As far as washing a finished onesie, machine wash on the delicate cycle and then I personally like to hang-dry, instead of machine dry.
After purchasing a few printed cotton fabrics, I also went through my collection of felt for fun colors. I love the wool/rayon blend felt we carry at Ellen Hutson because it cuts very crisply with both my steel rule and low-profile dies, such as those made by Memory Box, Savvy Stamps, and My Favorite Things , etc. For more information on the various types of dies, please visit this awesome article by Ellen from the InTouch Newsletter Archives.
Before die-cutting, we fused Heat-N-Bond Ultra Hold (purchased at a fabric store), an Iron-On Adhesive for appliqué work, to the back side of the printed cotton fabrics, and pieces of felt we wanted to work with.
It helps to cut the Heat-N-Bond to slightly smaller than the piece of felt or fabric you are ironing it to, and to use a pressing cloth; this will prevent any possibility of adhesive melting onto your iron by accident. Ask me how I know! LOL! ;) Take care to use a medium-high setting, and no steam.
Once the adhesive was bonded to the fabric, we were ready to die cut! By cutting the fused materials to sizes just large enough to accommodate the size dies we were working with, we could easily run multiple shapes through the Big Shot Machine all at the same time. YAY!!!
For any of the low-profile dies that were more intricate, the metal adaptor plate helped provide just enough additional pressure to ensure a complete cut.
We also hand-cut some shapes--many of my low profile dies are smaller in size, and were suitable for the smallest of the onesies (0-3, 3-6 mos.), and on the larger (18-24 mos. size), we hand cut larger shapes I didn't have dies for that we thought would be fun. Even though I can't draw, my daughter can! So while I die cut shapes, she also drew shapes on the paper backing that we could cut out by hand.
We then put an assortment of cut shapes that worked well together, along with some coordinating buttons, into a zip loc bag, and rolled them up inside a onesie, creating "kits". The little kits were then placed into a basket so that guests could choose a kit to assemble!
All the guests were able to simply peel off the paper backing of the appliqués, and place them where desired on the onesie. We had an ironing station set up on one table, which we protected with folded bath towels.
When ironing the appliqués to the clothing, it's a good idea to carefully place a pressing cloth over the top of the appliqués, taking care not to move/shift them, and hold the iron down in one spot, for about 6-8 seconds, then lift and move the iron and repeat, until the entire appliqué is bonded, using a no-steam setting. Avoid rubbing the iron back and forth (although it's instinctive to rub the iron back and forth, you'll get best results by simply pressing down, then lifting and pressing down in the next area.) Felt may require a slightly higher heat temp, and possibly keeping the iron in place for 8-10 seconds because it is thicker than the lightweight cotton fabrics.
If you notice any edges of the appliqués lifting up, you may need to press the iron to them again, holding in place a little longer to make sure the adhesive is melting and fusing to the onesie.
Each of the onesies turned out ADORABLE and I couldn't resist taking a shot of them all! And, it was super fun to watch all the guests, including Hayley's own grandmother, thoroughly enjoy making them--I couldn't have been more tickled when some of the gals mentioned to me that they thought it was the most fun baby shower idea they had ever seen and that they really had a ball making them!
Buttons: From my stash
Other: Needles & thread (for sewing on buttons), Heat-N-Bond Ultra Hold Iron-on-Adhesive (fabric store supply), Cotton Fabrics (fabric store supply)