little: create. Take one white singlet and...

Friday, 31 July 2009

are at your fingertips with these super-easy sewing (and non-sewing) projects. Using a plain, inexpensive white singlet, adding buttons, ribbons and all sorts of trim is as easy as a stitch or a sticker. These are so easy, the kids could easily join in and create their own masterpieces.

Colour-match or mix-and-match an assortment of buttons for a gorgeous, old-time look. Crochet trim is easily attached to the hem, either hand-sewn or machine-sewn. Use clear thread for buttons so their simplicity and colours shine through.

This large piece of lace trim has a sweet, almost formal look, reminiscent of pin-tucked shirts. Secure with matching thread.

This adorable look is achieved by a store-bought fabric sticker, hand-tacked to the front of the shirt. Broderie anglais trim is attached to the hem with simple running stitch, using red embroidery thread. For the arms and neckline, use elasticised red thread and gather the stitch lightly before tying off.

It only takes a few moments to create
these cute-as-pie singlets.

Line them up across the chest. You could also use thread to link the buttons together as though they were holding hands.

Assorted sizes look great tacked along the hem. Try different colour schemes. Monochromatic looks perfect, however to give a fresh, bright look, use contrasting colours.

Instead of tying off thread, tie a bow on the front. Be sure to use thread that won’t fray, and double-knot the bow so it won’t come undone in the wash. Secure the knot with a little dot of fabric glue.

This assortment of jewels looks more like a candy shop than a singlet.

A beautiful bunch of buttons could almost pass for a gorgeous beaded necklace – any little girl would love this. Sew on a pendant.

It doesn’t take much to create something cute - bear-like, mouse-like or just abstract. Like all art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

You’ll spend the most amount of time
just experimenting!


An adorable caterpillar emerges from a row of buttons. His antennae are long silver beads, two sewn end-to-end. A butterfly would be just as easy.

Line up a colour scheme for a high-impact look. Vary the shapes and sizes or use the exact same button for a very uniform look.

Setting the buttons in a wavy line gives a nautical look. Why not make a fish out of a button? Use a large round button for an octopus body and little ones for legs.

Your little ladybird will love this look. Mismatch sizes and types or go for a more uniform look with same shape and size. You could try a multicoloured effect too. With a simple running stitch, you could join the buttons to create a dot-to-dot picture.

How cute are these? With a few buttons,
you can create the sweetest little friends…

Sew buttons with strong, clear thread or make sure it matches the button exactly. Arms and legs are silver beads, wings are fabric from a craft store, hand-sewn in place. A short-nap feather boa or other trim serves as a hemline.

Tightly tie a silver initial under your button baby with strong embroidery thread. This can also be done on socks, hats and other accessories. Secure the knots with fabric glue.

Never leave children under three alone while wearing small parts such as buttons, beads and charms. Even if they are stitched on tight, little fingers are dextrous! These items are not intended for sleepwear.

These letter charms can go on the neckline or along the hem. The E is attached over a piece of grosgrain ribbon, machine stitched to the chest. Stitch more ribbon to the hemline. For a frilled-look, sew two or three layers of ribbon, starting with the lowest piece then adding further pieces over the top, half a centimetre higher. Top stitch in place.

The tiny lamb buttons on this singlet scamper from a blue cloud promising rain. Buttons like this can be found at haberdashers or online.

Stack buttons and then straight-stitch a stick figure person underneath. Very simple, very cute!

These looks use dolls’ clothes, fabric stickers, ribbon, trim, buttons and google eyes, secured with fabric glue or simply hand-stitched or machine stitched in place. Be sure to remove all paper from stickers, including sticky backing. If you want to remove the clothes for washing, use Velcro tape to secure them instead.

For ribbons, tie in place on shoulders at your preferred location, knot firmly and then stitch through the knot to hold in place. Seal ends of ribbon with a lighter or PVA glue.

For the empire-line ribbon singlets, pin and top stitch ribbon around chest line. Cut a smaller length of ribbon and overlap it a few times before sewing a contrasting button in the centre to secure.

These gorgeous flowers are so whimsical. Add google eyes for extra cuteness, secure with fabric glue.


Trucks, cars and lorries are easily made with buttons, wooden toggles and belt buckles. Secure with very strong thread.

Give dotty friends some personality with google eyes, attached with fabric glue. Create a bear-like face with four buttons.

Clothing stickers are can be stitched on or secured with Velcro for easy removable for washing. Hand wash permanently stitched items.

These balloons are designed to be temporary; tack water bomb balloons to the chest with embroidery thread before a special event. Discard after use. Not suitable for children under three.

For a special event, creep out friends with this arachno-tee. Using black embroidery thread, tie plastic spiders over singlet, snipping ends short. Remove spiders before washing.

Don’t limit yourself to singlets. Use coloured t-shirts, jeans, socks, hats and even shoes. Use running stitch in a contrasting colour to embellish neck and sleeve lines. Blanket stitch in coloured embroidery thread or yarn also works well.

If you want your ideas to be permanent, use items that will wash well. Otherwise, use the Velcro method. Simply remove item and wash singlet as normal. Buttons and ribbon wash well, however, hand-washing is recommended for longevity.

Photographs by Tania McCartney. Read more of my ezine under "little Magazine".

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