DIY No Sew T-Shirt Transfer

Hey! How many times have you seen a jumper or t-shirt with a really cool piece of artwork on the front and thought, ‘if only I could put that design onto a nicer shirt…’? Well, in this DIY post I’m gonna show you how to do just that, no sewing required. 

I’m that sucker who is constantly buying stuff in the sale and telling myself, ‘oh I know it’s not my size but I can totally DIY it (because that’s a verb now) and make it into something cooler’. Well, of all of the many, many items in my ‘to DIY’ pile, this t-shirt is the only have that I have ever actually done anything with haha, and I’m very proud of that so I’m going to share it with you. 

I bought this from H&M at least six months ago now. I was just drawn to the beautiful, gold sequin perfume bottle design on the front but when I got it home I found the actual tee to be unflattering and of cheap quality. Thin, a baggy, shapeless cut and a kind of dirty white looking colour, I knew it wouldn’t last more than a couple of months as-is but I didn’t want to return in and give up on that beautiful design so I thought, ‘hey! Why don’t I just transfer the design onto a nicer t-shirt?’. Here’s how I did it… 

Now this technique can be applied to most clothing, not just tops, but for the purpose of this post (and my current wardrobe needs), we’ll start with a basic t-shirt to t-shirt transfer.

You are of course going to need, you guessed it, a t-shirt! I decided to go for a plain, black fitted tee. Mainly because Pinterest has me really appreciating the simple t-shirt and ripped skinny jeans combo and all the ways this can be dressed up or down at the mo from Nikes, a beanie and a long, woolly winter coat to pointed heels, a clutch and faux fur jacket. I looove simple pairings that can be changed dramatically with just a few accessories.

Once you’ve got your t-shirt of choice, you’re going to want some clothes pins and some hemming web. These are pretty easy to find, I picked mine up at my local Tesco Express, but any haberdashery (that’s the place were you get sewing stuff for you young folk) will have them fo’ sho’. You can also do this with fabric glue but I personally find hemming web easier and neater to work with. 

Okay, so first, cut out the design that you want to transfer – obvs. Use large, sharp scissors to do this (be careful!!!) and cut as close to the design as you can for a nice, neat end product. 

Next, you’ll want to pin the design to the new t-shirt. This will keep the design in place while you permanently affix it and it’ll give you a chance to go ahead and try it on with the designed pinned on (again – be careful! Don’t go pricking yourself…) so that you can check that it’s straight, centred and exactly where you want it.

Okay, now your design is perrrfectly placed, you’ll want to line it with hemming web ready to be ironed on. Measure out and cut enough strips of hemming web to line the entire outside of your design. You’ll want to do this quite precisely as too little will leave the edges of your design flapping and unstuck but too much will melt out from the edges of your design and leave messy looking glue residue. 

Once you’ve carefully measured out enough strips of web for the design, go ahead and unpin half of the design so that you can lift the edge and lay the hemming web strips between the design and the t-shirt. Once each strip is in place, carefully replace the pins so that they are securing both the design and the hemming web to the t-shirt. Then do the other half. As you’re doing this, take care to make sure that the web remains in place as you re-pin and that it doesn’t protrude out from the edge of the design since, as I said, if it does it will melt and look messy.

Once your design is pinned back in place with the hemming web underneath, it’s time to iron it on! Flip your t-shirt inside out and put your iron on the appropriate setting for your t-shirt. Gently remove the pins from just one edge of the design again, making sure that the hemming web stays in place, and then carefully iron over this part of the design, using a low steam setting and holding the iron firmly onto the design for approximately 20 seconds. The hot iron will cause the web to melt into glue which will permanently fix the design to your t-shirt. By doing this in sections you can make sure that your design stays pinned in place while you iron. 

Continue removing pins and ironing sections further, checking that your web is staying in place between each section. 

Repeat until you’ve ironed over the whole design and then leave it for five minutes to cool. 

And hey presto! You’ve got a brand new t-shirt that’s just as you envisioned it! Hemming web is machine washable and dry cleanable so wash your t-shirt as usual according to the stricter care instructions out of both the new garment and the item you took the design from. E.g if you cut out a design from a t-shirt that says ‘handwash only’ and ironed it onto a new t-shirt that says ‘wash at 40 degrees’ then still handwash the new t-shirt. This is because, although the new t-shirt may be machine washable, the design is still from the handwash only t-shirt and you don’t want to risk ruining the design after all the work you’ve gone to move it. Make sense? 

This technique can be applied to most garment. Putting quirky patches onto jumper elbows, sticking designs onto the back pockets of jeans and remember that gaudy, itchy Christmas jumper with the cute design that you get out just once a year? Well, now you can turn it into something cute and unique that you can wear year-round with this technique.

I really love this particular t-shirt I’ve done for evenings out when I want to look dressy-casual. After work drinks, dinner at a friend’s house… I’m actually wearing it right now as I finish this post on the tube, headed to meet a friend for drinks and a light bite in London. Shit, I just realised I’m at Baker Street and about to go underground – don’t you just hate that??? Oh well, I’ll have to press publish when I emerge. I’m using the blogger phone app for the first time in a long time so if this post is all scrambled the first night that it’s up I’m very sorry and you’ll know why! If it’s like that I’ll fix it as soon as I get home, promise! I just ran out of time to finish this earlier and I really want to stay on top of my posting schedule! 

Right, I’m going to get off my phone and talk to my boyfriend now before he kills me. Have a great Saturday night and follow me on Twitter @missjadefraser to see what foody goodies I get tonight!

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x Jade Mercedes Fraser x