Tuesday, 12 March 2019

T-shirt Time

Ages ago I borrowed a friend's Silhouette Cameo cutting machine and mindful that I need to give it back soon, I'd thought I'd give it another whirl.

I bought some A4 sized sheets of stretch iron-on vinyl from PicturePerfect and came up with some designs with the kids input.

P wanted something to do with mountain biking and came up with the phrase "This is how I roll".

I found a silhouette of some mtb moves and we were set. He chose the black T-shirt with yellow and white. I stuffed up a little part of the iron on yellow bike (the front hub of the third bike from the left if you're looking for the spot) and in trying to replace it, everything got ironed again and again. That resulted in the yellow vinyl becoming a bit more see through and less solid than it should have been.

He still absolutely loves it. I think it will be a favourite T-shirt for sure.

The phrase we all came up with for A, and everybody thought was perfect for her was this....

If you can't quite read all of it, try it this way: 

She had also wanted some more gym shorts. Suddenly all those many leotards I made are too small, or maybe just out of favour, I don't know. I was loathe to make more leotards in a bigger size just to have them passed over, so a quick pair of knit shorts it was. These are the Oliver + S Nature Walk pants in size 7 shortened. I had them already traced off as they're the shorts I used for P's swim trunks back here, or maybe here. I probably could have sized down a bit more, but she's happy.

I had quite a bit of trouble getting the settings on the Silhouette cutter right for the vinyl. Initially the machine went on the same crazy rampage that it did before Christmas when I first used it. It would jam, get stuck, then go off on a wild angle and slice the backing mat to pieces. Then, if I reduced the cutting depth or pressure it would barely mark the vinyl at all. Infuriating. At this point I was feeling like I could have laboriously hand cut the stencils faster...

The solution was some lithium grease on the cutting bar rail thingy, lots of sliding it back and forth and trying again. I finally hit on the right blade depth (5), cutting speed (4), force (31) and passes (2) to get a good, clean cut with only a slight mark on the mat. Annoyingly, I will need to purchase yet another mat before I give the machine back.

Once I finally had it sorted it seemed it would be easy to keep going, so both kids got a surprise T-shirt in addition to the one they had commissioned.

This sequence of cartwheeling required a bit of tidying up in Paint.net but then came up really well as a stencil. She was delighted!

And then, for P, I went with an idea that I first saw Brittney (Sewing For Four blog) do a good 4 years or so ago. A little riddle on a T-shirt...

Can you work it out?...

Well done you clever thing!*

All the T-shirts are the Jalie 3669 - Nico raglan T. I made them in the sizes I had traced off last year for the band members T-shirts. 

He wears Size O, no mods - seriously I have NOT added sleeve length. This is the kid that usually gets up to 5 inches of extra sleeve length. I think he could do with a touch more length than this pattern but it's obviously a very generous sleeve length if it fits the monkey child straight out of the packet.

She wears Jalie Nico size M, no mods. (and Nature Walk pants as shorts, size 7)

All fabrics were out of the stash and I just used self fabric for the neckbands. Not perfect for neckbands, but good enough.

It was a lot of fun and I kind of wish Flipper wanted a meme T-shirt too. What he does want is some more leg and arm warmers and to have reflective iron on vinyl monograms. Well, it just so happens I got some reflective iron on vinyl too. I better cut those letters before giving the machine back, or forgetting how to set it up for successful cutting.

*If you didn't get it, the clue is it's the title of a Dr Seuss book.


  1. I love all of these designs and am particularly impressed with your persistence with the machine!

    1. THanks. I'm nothing if not stubborn like that. I'm just a bit embarrassed at having chopped through two of those cutting mats now. Oops

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Inder. they're incredibly satisfying to make. the kids have some cool ideas and you'd never find T-shirts in a shop that reflected how weird your own kids can be :)

  3. My husband wanted to buy the Cricut machine. I suggested not. Wondering if that was a mistake now. Your tees are terrific.

    1. Never say no to a craft purchase. Isn't that rule number one? :) Honestly, I take pride in hand cutting stencils, and I kind of enjoy it, but for lettering these things really are the bomb. I secretly want one now.

  4. P and A chose the perfect T's and the surprise T's are very clever as well. I do applaud you for perseverance with this machine and hopefully the reflective letters were easier to deal with.

    1. THanks Sharon. I confess I've been distracted by the next shiny idea, and so Flipper's stencil cutting has been set aside. but I really must clear this machine out and therefore get on with it.

  5. I love them!! How clever (and I confess I didn't get the Dr. Seuss one until I saw a clue...). And so much cooler than any shop-bought T-shirt.

    1. Thanks! It's fun to make something you'd never find in stores.

  6. Very, very cool.
    May I know your source for iron on reflective vinyl? Do you need special tool?
    Thank you

    1. Thanks Nicole. These sheets all came from PicturePerfect and are generic iron-on vinyl. The reflective stuff, that I'm yet to use, is the official Silhouette brand. It was gifted to me, but I'm sure if you search Silhouette Australia it will come up. No tool needed other than an iron.


I get a real kick out of knowing you've visited the blog and love to read comments. Thanks.