Erika, a member of our creative team and expecting mother, humorously explains her process of personalizing a onesie by printing on it with the help of the Terial Magic fabric stabilizer.
Let me begin by saying that this blog title is somewhat misleading. Yes, this is an easy way to personalize clothing, but it started out as possibly the most complicated way for a beginner to personalize clothing. I feel like this blog should be titled "How I Tried and Failed to Make A Very Complicated Project That I Thought Would Be Easy, But Then Persevered To Make A Way Easier Project", but come on, who would really read that... Besides myself.
The continuous talent that we see in our team is inspiring! I fell in love with this adorable Pacific Northwest themed image by Alisa, one of our in-house artists, and I knew I had to repurpose it somehow for a blog. With a baby on the way, and a new fabric treatment product to play with, I thought it would be the perfect design to add to a tiny onesie.
Terial Magic Time!
Terial Magic is a new product that iii has begun selling this year. It is a liquid fabric stabilizer! This might not mean a lot to some of you, but it will be revolutionary to others! It allows you to treat fabric like paper—no stretching or fraying, and making it printable.
Yes, this spray treatment allows you to print onto fabric with your regular inkjet printer! I originally started out this project with one idea in mind, but after trial, error, and experimentation, it didn't turn out that well. I decided on another approach, and made a way easier second project!
I ended up making two personalized onesies through different processes. I will separate the processes for my first project and my second project to show you where I went wrong, and how you can avoid those same mistakes!
*As a disclaimer for this blog, please note that I am a Social Media Coordinator, not necessarily an artist or fabric art enthusiast of any kind. I have only basic knowledge of sewing, so I don't know why I thought this was such a great idea in the first place.
- ¼ yard of light-colored fabric (or however many colors you will need)
- Clothing item/s
- Fabric Scissors (or rotary cutter and cutting mat)
- Straight Edge
- Terial Magic
- Small handful of batting
- Large Bowl (not pictured)
- Straight pins (not pictured)
- Needle & thread for hand-stitching (not pictured)
- Iron & Ironing Board (not pictured)
- Sewing Machine (not pictured)
- Inkjet/Laserjet Printer (not pictured)
Step 1: Choose Your Design
For my first project I wanted an almost quilt-like layered fabric look on the onesie. That doesn't sound too complicated, right? I processed Alisa's artwork in Adobe Illustrator and created vector shapes that I could then cut out of fabric and layer on the onesie to create a representation of her art.
Then I complicated things. I turned all my .ai files into .dxf files, and cut out all the shapes that I needed from different colored fabrics using an electronic cutter. Why didn't I cut them out by hand? I guess I wanted to be fancy. For my second try at this DIY project, I took an easier route of printing the same vectorized artwork onto white fabric, to cut out and sew to the onesie. I prepared the vectorized file to print out as an image, 4" in diameter.
Step 2: Prepare Your Fabric
Treating fabric with Terial Magic is easy. Since it comes in a spray bottle, just spray your fabric in an enclosed container (bowl or ziplock bag) until it's saturated.
Squeeze out the excess, then hang it to dry. When it is damp, iron it flat, and you're ready to go! In a grievous oversight I did not treat the onesie for my first project, but then I learned, and I certainly treated the onesie for my second project.
I did not treat the entire onesie, but just the area I would be working with, then ironed it when it was damp.
If you're going to print onto your fabric like I did for my second project, you should also cut your fabric to nice 8.5" x 11" pieces to feed into your printer. Other print sizes will work as well, but you have to make sure your printer will support a different size.
Step 3: Print Onto Your Fabric
I didn't need a printer for my first project, because I used separate colors of fabric to recreate my design. For my second, and more successful project, printing the design onto white fabric was so much easier with a little printer that just connects to your computer!
The truth is, since this inkjet printer was also a photocopier, I didn't even have to connect my computer to it, but just photocopied my design and printed it in color onto the fabric!
After printing onto fabric, it's always a good idea to heat-seal the ink in using an iron
Step 4: Sew Your Design in Place
This is where my first project went awry. Remember, my initial idea was not to print onto the fabric, but to create a layered fabric/quilted look out of different colors of fabric to represent Alisa's design. There were a couple major problems with my process, and a bunch of small ones as well.
Problem 1: Onesies are tiny, leaving little/no wiggle room for sewing a circle! Not a great choice in clothing to personalize.
Tip: Choose a piece of clothing that will allow you to move around your sewing machine freely, or one that you are comfortable working with (if you're past the beginner-stage).
Problem 2: Woven fabrics don't stretch, but knits do! I didn't think about the fabric types I was using, so I didn't treat the onesie! This resulted in puckering in the onesie around the edge of the design.
Tip: When you're using multiple types of fabric, just apply Terial Magic to everything. It's worth it.
Problem 3: I just used a straight stitch to attach each piece of fabric. But folks, this is a onesie...meaning it will most likely be washed thousands of times in its lifetime. A straight stitch just isn't going to cut it.
Tip: Think about the durability you need for your project. Adjust your stitch likewise. I chose a wider, tighter zig-zag stitch for my final project.
Problems 4-10: Below you can see my first finished project. You can see puckering around the edges, and crooked sewn lines. I haven't washed it yet, but I'm sure the edges will fray after the Terial Magic washes out (this is where the zig-zag stitch comes in handy!). Because I used thicker top thread than necessary, and the thread tension was too high, the bobbin thread was visible in some areas.
It was also blue, not white—another mistake. By this point I had spent so much time on the first project, and it was so much more complicated than an easy DIY blog, I decided not to redo it.
Instead, I changed the plan to use a printed version of Alisa's adapted design, and sew it onto the onesie. Like I said before, I treated both the onesie and the fabric with Terial Magic for my final project. This made it much easier to manipulate both pieces of fabric, and it left my final design without any puckers! I centered my design, then pinned it to the onesie using some straight pins.
Then I sewed around my circle with a wide but tight zig-zag stitch. Wide: the width of the stitches around the edge. Tight: the stitches were close to one another (the feed dogs were moving a little slower). Once 3/4 of the design was sewn to the onesie, I stuffed it with batting and finished the circle.
Step 5: Add Details
It still looked a little flat to me, so as a finishing touch I hand-stitched around each shape in the piece. Looking back at my design now, it's not as fluffy as I would have liked it to be, so I would add more batting if I did this project again.
Notice: the onesie is a little wrinkled, but not puckered around the edges of the design!
It took a couple Netflix episodes to finish the hand-stitching, but I'm sure someone with more experience, or a less interesting tv show could do it quicker!
After that, I considered my second project finished! Honestly, I'm happy with the way both of my onesies turned out! I learned a lot, and got to really see the benefits of this new product. I'm sure our little baby boy will wear them often!