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Topic: How to make sorority (or any organization) letter shirts  (Read 14977 times)
Tags for this thread: shibori , tie_dye , tutorial  Add new tag
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« on: June 25, 2009 11:22:55 AM »

I love showing pride for my sorority. I also love making things. And I love not spending $20+ for a T-shirt. So I made my own letter shirts!

Of course, these methods can be used for any abbreviation or short word, not just greek letters. Or for things that arent shirts, like bags or pillows.

Ive come up with a few different methods for making letter shirts, so  here they are from easiest to hardest.


The pink shirt below was made using a sticker stencil. I printed the design on full page sticker paper, cut out the stencil with an exacto knife, stuck it to the shirt, and used a sponge brush to paint the open space. Sticker paper stencils are great if you are only making one shirt because the sticker part makes it super easy to place the middle of letters, like the center of the O or the A. If you want to make multiple shirts it would probably be easier to make a stencil out of cardboard...it'll be a bit harder to use, but you only have to cut out the stencil once.

The tie-dye shirt was printed black on white at a print shop. White shirts with black ink on only one side are super cheap in large quantities. We bought a bunch and tie-dyed them as a bid day activity.

(dont forget to have everyone put their initials on their shirt unless they are taking them home to wash them themselves...)


This method is more involved than just printing, but looks more like the expensive letter shirts. Its a good method for group activities because it doesnt involved sewing (or waiting around for your turn at the sewing machine). The grey shirt below was made by ironing on fusible webbing to the back of the blue fabric, cutting out the letters, and then ironing it on to the T-shirt. Fabric paint was used on the edges to outline the letters and keep them from fraying or curling up. It also works to kinda zig-zag the fabric paint across the edges, but I seem to have given all the shirts I made that way away to my sisters.


This is my favorite method. Its also the most time consuming. You need to cut out the letters and pin them to the shirt. Think very carefully about where you place them, or even try the shirt on and place them while wearing it. Otherwise its really easy to get letters too far apart, or at an unflattering chest position. Be careful with super stretchy fabrics because the letters will change how the shirt stretches and how well it stretches.

The sweatshirt below was sewn by hand. If you have access to a machine I would suggest doing it by machine instead, but since its a sweatshirt and doesnt need to be washed all that often its held up all right. I used two layers of fabric to give it that outlined look that professional letter shirts have.

Most of the time I use my machine. This shirt I made using my really old sewing machine that could only do normal forward and backwards stitching. The letters are made out of a knit fabric and cut out with pinking shears to minimize fraying.

My new machine can do a ton of decorative stitches. The best ones Ive found for making the edges are zig-zag or some sort of ladder type stitch, although other stitches work, especially if you use a fabric that wont fray. After pinning the letters on, sew around them once with normal back and forth stitching to hold them in place while doing a decorative edge.

Be careful on corners if youre using a wide stitch to make sure when you turn the needles is on the correct size of the letter. Also be very careful on curvy lettersthe corners of the Os I did by turning the wheel by hand instead of using the food peddle because I had to turn the fabric so much. Test on scraps before you start sewing to the shirt.
Also, really stretchy shirts dont work so well. Its not impossible to make work, but where you put the letters helps a lot. If its a stretchy shirt you need to try it on to pin the letters. The grey shirt that I put argyle letters on is the same kind of shirt as the green shirt below, but as you can tell, putting the letters in a row across the chest worked better than at a diagonal.

« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2009 04:42:42 PM »

sweetness Smiley i started a sorority at my high school this year (we've had a fraternity for years) and i'll pass this on to the new president for use next year Smiley
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2009 11:02:08 AM »

they look good hon
but whats does sorority mean?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2009 11:45:33 PM »

i like all the good ideas!  nice variety, and your shirts turned out cute!

I'm looking to trade for kawaii Japanese fabric or cabochons!  PM me if you're interested!

Visit my etsy shop!   Cute girly clothing and accessories!  bydanalynn.etsy.com
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