Thursday, April 17, 2014

"O" is for Onesies

So...a few posts back (letter J for those of you who may remember), I told you that I made a deal with myself at the beginning of the A to Z Challenge that I could use two throwback posts. Well, today is throwback post number two!

O is for Onesies! In my case, custom onesies.

But before we get started, I need to say THANK YOU! The A to Z Challenge has made me step it up and get my projects on the blog en masse. In return, stats have gone up, followers have increased, and I've had FOUR posts selected as featured projects on linky parties at : Sugar Bee Crafts, My RePurposed Life, and Artsy Fartsy Mama. My Jean Aprons, Cereal Box Coasters, "Home" T-Shirt, and Kitchen Rag Rug have all been picked as favorites. I am floored! Thank you all so very much for the love you've been showing the blog. It has made me so very happy.

Now (now that I've gushed)...back to today's project...

These onesies were one of the very first craft projects I undertook for the blog. And now I've done them several different ways and in several different styles. Today, I'll be reaching back for a tutorial on the method utilizing iron-on fabric. It's fairly simple and comes out looking pretty darned good. Ready? we go!

*** Originally posted way back in September 2011. In fact, it was originally a guest post over at my cousin Jenna's blog, Mom, the Intern. The projects were originally completed in September 2010. ***

My brother and his wife were expecting their first child and I wanted to make something cute to welcome her into the family. As my very first niece, she needed something special.

I had done some photo rag quilts in the past (which I blogged about here) and I had a lot of iron-on photo fabric left over. So...I came up with the idea to make some custom onesies.

I dragged Collin out of the house on a shopping endeavor. Now, of course when you're not looking for something you find it all over the place, but when you want it, well...then it's nowhere to be found. That seemed to be the case with these darned onesies. A few weeks before, we had been out shopping for something and I had seen them in several different styles and colors. We head out to actually get some, and can I find anything? Of course not. I finally wound up with a more than lackluster group than I had previously planned - a bunch of plain white onesies and one cute little pink one. It would have to do.

The first thing to do was to decide what designs I wanted to make. In the case of my niece, I had a total of six onesies that I could make. I knew that I wanted to make the pink one with her name on it, but no idea of what to do with the others.

So...I started digging through the scrapbook room for ideas. I wound up finding some cute phrases on some of my Slice cards that would work fantastically. So...the final plans for the plain white ones were to use the phrases "Princess", "All Girl", "So Cute" and "Cute as a Button". I still had one that I was clueless on. I tend to be somewhat of a smart mouth, so I wanted one that was somewhat witty.

For those of you who know me, I tend to use the phrase "suck it" quite frequently. I honestly didn't realize how often until my wonderful friend Erin pointed it out to me. I say it a lot. Well...when you think of a baby, what else do you think of? A pacifier, right? I figured this was a perfect combination. In fact, I was pretty freaking proud of myself for coming up with something I found so darned hilarious. (Have I mentioned that this was at about 10 p.m.? I may have been a little bit rummy.)

I hopped on the computer to match up some pictures with my phrases. My sister-in-law loves Hello Kitty, so I knew that had to be one of them. I decided to pair the Hello Kitty iron-on with "Princess". A quick perusal of clip art, and I had figured out the rest. I imported them into Publisher and added the text. I selected a cute, whimsical font that I love - Sunshine Poppy. I then made the colors match the photos, and created some outline to keep the letters from coming out looking flat.

After that, I printed the pictures and phrases out on my Quick Fuse paper. For those of you who haven't used it before, I love this stuff. It's pretty fool proof. The only trick is to make sure you print on the correct side. The smooth, shiny side is the iron-on side.

I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics. I'm pretty sure most crafts stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby carry them as well. They sell for around $25 for a 10 pack. I used to be able to buy them in packs of 25, but lately I seem to only find the smaller ones. And...being the thrifty shopper that I am, I always use one of my coupons to buy them, so I generally get out of the store for around $16, after tax. Not bad. If you add in the cost of the onesie and figure that you can generally make about 2-3 per sheet, this works out to approximately $4 per onesie. Awesome.

While you're waiting for the ink on the photo to dry (the packaging says 1-2 minutes, but I'm a worry wart so I always leave them for at least 5), bust out the iron and smooth out your onesies. Trust me, it makes life a LOT easier - even if you think they look fairly wrinkle free. Don't use any starch to iron them though, as this can interfere with the bonding of the QuickFuse with the fabric.

Once dry, cut out your photos and fonts. You can either do a group cutting or you can cut out each individual letter. It just depends on what look you're going for. I cut mine out individually...I just think it comes out a little cleaner and more professional looking that way.

For the centers of letters like the "A" and "G", use a sharp X-Acto knife. This is the most time consuming part of the project. But the extra time is totally worth it.

After everything is cut out, you're just one step away from super cuteness. Lay each onesie out individually on your ironing board. Line up the photo and the letters on the front of the onesie like you want them to look when the project is finished. Your iron should be set on a medium high to high cotton setting. Make sure to turn off your steam function - the water vapor will wreck the bond.

Coming from straight above, sit the iron down over the top of the fabric and press down for 10-15 seconds. I tend to sweep the iron for a little extra time around the edges to make sure nothing pops up. Check the fuse with your fingernail. If you get any lifting, put on a little more heat. The fabric paper is pretty tough and I haven't had any issues with scorching to date, so as long as you're reasonable, you should be fine.

And that's it! You're done! The only caveat to these is laundering. They do need to be handled somewhat gently to prevent the fuse from coming off. They do best when hand washed in cold water without detergent. This is understandably somewhat tough with an infant, but do the best you can to spot treat the areas outside of the photos. You can also use a small amount of liquid fabric softener in the water, if needed. This will pull out some discolorations. Allow them to dry flat or in your dryer on low heat. (I can't guarantee that there isn't a risk of damage, but I've been okay washing them in a machine on delicate and then following them up with a low heat tumble dry.)

Once my friend Kari saw them, she talked me into making some for her new niece and nephew. So...I had the chance to make some boy ones as well.

I like this kind of project for baby gifts because it just seems more personalized and thoughtful. In my case, getting the six completed for Marley took me about 4-6 hours spread out over 2 days (most of that time was taken up with the cutting - which I did while watching TV). The total cost for her gift ended up being around $20 - including the more expensive pink onesie. Not bad for six finished projects.

Thanks to all of you stopping by from A-to-Z Challenge! I love new readers. Make sure to leave me a comment below (including your blog address) so that I can return the favor by visiting you. 


  1. Very cute. I don't have kids so probably don't appreciate this to its fullest - but I did chuckle at Suck It!
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding

    1. I still giggle at the "suck it". It's horribly irreverent, but I so don't care. I think it's hilarious. ;)

  2. Love all your projects, Elle. I'm going to pin it for later reference when I want to find a project of my own. I hope you finish your A to Z blog project too. Enjoyed my visit. Thanks, Maria from Delight Directed Living

    1. Thanks Maria! The A to Z has been a blast! Glad you were able to visit.

  3. How fun! My big boys would love to create their own t-shirts!

    Thank you so much for sharing your creativity with us at Show-Licious Craft & Recipe Party! Join us again on Saturday morning at 8:00 am EST!

    ~ Ashley


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