Add an embellishment to a boys tee

We’re so happy to have Sarah of Sarah Jane Sews here today! Sarah shares beautiful projects and tutorials for the whole family over on her blog, and we encourage you to visit her site and make sure to say hi! Today she’s going to share a great t-shirt design complete with template so you can make one up too!


Hello, Once Upon a Sewing Machine Readers!  I’m Sarah of Sarah Jane Sews.  I have sewn on and off since high school, but it wasn’t until I had my first child — a boy — that I got into sewing fairly seriously.  A large percentage of my projects are for him, and most years I make him a birthday shirt.  Last year he even designed his own outfit!  His 8th birthday is next week, but he didn’t have any suggestions this time around.

We recently went on a trip to Boston, and one of O’s favorite things was a tour of the USS Constitution, so I used that as my inspiration.

My original plan was to somehow applique or stencil the ship onto the front of a tee, but fortunately I realized that simplicity is a virtue and a life preserver would be less likely to make me want to tear my hair out.

For the shirt itself, I chose the Fishstick Designs Patrick Curved Raglan, which I have sewn more than any other pattern.  It is definitely one of my go-to boy patterns!

The life preserver is a combination of raw-edge applique and freezer paper stencil.  I sewed the left side seam, then placed and sewed the applique before sewing up the other side.


I’m really happy with how it turned out, so I hope O likes it too!  If you’d like to make one for your own little history lover, you can download the applique and stencil template here.

Rachel and Donna, thanks so much for having me!  I’ve been enjoying Sew You Had a Boy, and can’t wait to see what’s still to come!


Find more Sew You Had a Boy HERE


{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Amy Mayen May 2, 2013, 9:52 am

    Sarah Jane, kudos!! A great shirt for your son! I love this series:)

  • cyndi May 2, 2013, 1:19 pm

    So cute!!! Love this idea to add something to a plain t-shirt! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Cindy May 3, 2013, 3:38 pm

    I LOVE the applique! It’s cute and would suit an older boy just as much as a younger one. Thanks so much for sharing, Sarah.:)

  • Jennifer Lachman May 6, 2013, 6:50 pm

    That looks great. I love the way it adds interest to an otherwise plain shirt.

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