Tips, Tricks and Tools to Tame the T-Shirt


By Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs

Transforming a t-shirt into a new treasure is exciting, personal and presents a few challenges. Let’s take a look at how to manage one particular element – unruly fabric.

Here’s the t-shirt before, and the final Becca Bag showcasing the t-shirt goodness.


Charley Harper design t-shirt. Becca Bag from Lazy Girl Designs LGD136.

The Challenge
If you are familiar with t-shirt quilts, you might know that it is standard to stabilize the shirt with a lightweight fusible woven or tricot interfacing. That helps prevent stretch and it makes the material easier to manage. It also adds a little stiffness to the material.

But what if you want to keep the softness of the shirt? That means finding another way to manage this fabric.

Fussy cut the artwork for the project, then grab your Press Perfect Hot Ruler from Clover, item 7811.


Instead of fusing the t-shirt to interfacing, I decided to fuse it to fleece. I also needed to piece two panels to create the bag.

My plan was to cut the pieces to size, fuse them to the fleece, fold under one edge, overlap the edges, then topstitch through all layers.

Fold and Press the Edge
Use the Press Perfect Hot Ruler to measure, fold and press ¼” at the end of the panel. The Hot Ruler has grip, which helped control the fabric, and its long length allowed me to press the entire edge in one step.TshirtBecca3

Position the ruler close to the edge. Fold the fabric edge over and match it to the ¼” mark on the ruler. Shift the ruler if needed.TshirtBecca4

Here I’m using the Press Perfect Holt It Precision Stiletto to manage things and prevent me from burning my fingers – nice!

Also notice that I have the Press Perfect Iron Shine on my iron soleplate to help protect the material and artwork on the t-shirt. Without the Iron Shine, use a press cloth to protect the artwork.TshirtBecca5

Here it is, a beautiful, perfect hem. I didn’t stretch or distort the fabric. And the hem is even from end to end. And no burnt fingers.

Fuse and Stitch
Now I fused both fabric pieces to the fusible fleece and overlapped the ends. The fleece stabilizes the material and prevents it from stretching while I topstitch on the fold through all layers. TshirtBecca6

Press for a Nice Finish
After completing construction, remember to give the project a good final pressing for a beautiful finish. The Press Perfect 2×4 Mighty Mini Board is ideal for small projects or small details.TshirtBecca11

Viola! The right tools made this project easy and manageable for hassle-free construction and a beautiful finish. Now I have a treasured keepsake from this t-shirt.

Challenges like the ones I faced in this project are the inspiration for my Press Perfect line from Clover. We are making new things, we have new challenges, but tools haven’t kept up – until now!TshirtBeccaBag

More about this project on the Lazy Girl blog.

Enter our giveaway challenge to win a free Press Perfect Hot Ruler by Joan Hawley. The challenge will run from Wednesday, Feb. 17 to Tuesday, Feb. 23.

Show us why you need a Hot Ruler!

  • Post a picture on any social media outlet (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) showing us why you need a Hot Ruler.
  • Mention us or use our hashtags (#CloverUSA, #CloverNeedlecraft).
  • Include a Clover product in your picture
  • AND WIN.

We will pick and announce our winner on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

**We will pick one random person, to win one Hot Ruler and a tote pattern. To be eligible, must be a U.S. or Canada resident.

9 thoughts on “Tips, Tricks and Tools to Tame the T-Shirt

  1. I love this product – could really use it to add to my arsenal of Joan Hawley must haves. Too bad I am traveling for the time being and away from my stash of clover supplies – of which I have many! Wish I could win this one!

  2. Sorry, i cannot show why I need the HOT RULER, I have nothing at the moment,however, I looked locally for it when you first posted it and has not been available around my area. So, please accept my entry for this wonderful gadget for my sewing. Thanks for the opportunity.

  3. Just bought the smaller hot hemmer and love it. I know making the cosmetic bags similar to what you just made would make this tool most useful. So please pick me in your drawing. Love Clover products.

  4. What a great idea with the t-shirt. Would get a lot of use out of this ruler . can’rt wait to try it out. I love all of the Clover products.

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