Fancy decorated and bejeweled tee shirts can be expensive, and many girls and young women are taking advantage of the attractive iron-on transfers and rhinestone transfers now available to custom design their own shirts.
Oddly, working with transfers can be easier than applying a saying or slogan using iron-on letters, since you must work with many small transfers (each letter) as opposed to a single large design.
Following are some tips that I’ve learned from experience in using these charming but sometimes awkward to apply letters and numbers.
- Use Cotton Tees: 100 percent cotton tee shirts. If you cannot find an all cotton tee, purchase one with the highest percentage of cotton that you can find.
- Wash And Iron Your Shirt: Wash your shirt and dry it without using fabric softener. Press to remove wrinkles.
- Carefully Cut Your Iron-On Letters: Carefully cut out the individual letters that you’ll be using. Try to cut so that the bottom, top, and side margins on each letter are the same. This will aid you in lining up the letters. I try to leave a scant 1/8th inch of space around each letter. Of course you don’t need to worry about this if you are going for a free form look.
- Double-Check Placement: Place the letters of the first line of your slogan face down (paper side up) on your tee; check spelling. If the letters aren’t face down, they will stick to your iron and make a mess.
- Use the Right Iron Settings: Preheat your iron to ‘cotton’; DO NOT USE STEAM. If you are right-handed work right to left and top to bottom. Once you remove the paper backing from a letter, you must be careful not to touch it with the iron. If you do, it will pull off your tee and stick to the iron. A Teflon press cloth is a good idea if you plan to create a number of shirts. These are easily available in any shop that sells sewing notions.
- Be Patient When Ironing on Letters: Press firmly for 40-50 seconds using the tip of the iron in tight places. Allow the letter(s) to cool slightly. Using a straight pin, carefully lift the corner of your first letter. If a letter isn’t adhering to the shirt, press for another 30-40 seconds. Be patient. Recheck and iron some more until the letters release completely from the backing paper and adhere to your tee. You may find that the body of the letter will adhere but not the edges. In this situation press down with the tip of the iron where the letter is sticking to the backing.
- Be Careful With your Layout: Align the letters for your next line and repeat step 6 above being very careful not to touch any completed letters.
- Be Careful When Laundering: Your letters are machine washable but you should turn your shirt inside out to prevent abrasions from other items in the wash load.
It’s important to be patient when applying letters and numbers. Take your time and relax. The results will be worth it.
By Florence Dove Google
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