Monday, October 24, 2016

Lucky's Brown Bear Birthday T-shirt

Lucky is 3 years old!  How did this happen?  I can't believe that I have been a mom for almost 3 years now.  Since Lucky had two huge birthday parties in a row (Under the Sea Birthday Party and Halloween Themed Birthday Party) I wanted to do something lower key for him this year.  When I got my Oriental Trading Company catalog, I saw a set up for a Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see? party and knew that this is what I wanted to do.  Especially when I saw that some of the themed favors (puzzles, slap bracelets and bubbles) are Lucky's favorite things.  Lucas LOVES Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see? and other books in the series (especially Panda Bear, Panda Bear what do you see? and Polar Bear, Polar Bear what do you hear?)

I thought I would keep do it yourself (DIY) things to a minimum, get a permit for a playground structure and have a simple easy party.  I did think I would DIY the party bags but the Brown Bear bags for sale were so much cheaper than anything I could make I bought those, too!

I had to DIY SOMETHING for Lucky's birthday.  For the last two birthdays I purchased his birthday shirts from the Etsy store Lil Threadz Clothing.  There are TONS of Eric Carle themed shirts you can purchase on Etsy, but I knew that I wanted to try to make the appliqued shirts myself this time.  There are many Eric Carle fabrics on and other retailers, but I stuck with the Brown Bear fabric and Caterpillar dots to make the number.

I purchased some Jumping Beans shirts from Kohls.  I wanted to find some non-white plain T-shirts and had a really hard time finding something in toddler size.  In the end, I found some raglan long sleeved T-shirts and onesies that I could make work for the boys.  With an early October birthday party, long sleeves shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Lucky really loves the brown bear fabric.  I would catch him pulling it out of the box to lay out on the floor or to show Daddy.  He assigned Keith the white dog, me the purple cat and Rowdy the blue horse. (This later changed to a Red Bird!) Lucky is, of course, the brown bear.  I hope that I can find a way to incorporate the other animals into the party attire for the rest of us!

My plan is to applique a large "3" to the front of the shirt and then the brown bear to the back of the shirt.  I spent a lot of time looking at different fonts for 3's.  I eventually decided on a simple 3 and drew it on two sided iron on transfer interfacing.  I would also like to applique on text that reads "Brown Bear" because Lucky's last name is Brown and because he is the little Brown Bear at this party.  We'll see how things go with space.  I have never stitched on to a knit fabric before, so this is going to be a new experience for me.

The long bear is just over 7" across.  The shirt (flat) is 11" wide.  I know this will stretch some.  It SHOULD work.

Maybe I should put the bear on the front of the shirt.  Applique on both sides could be too much.  I'll see how my 3 looks on top of the bear.

I do not think the 3 stands out enough on top of the bear.  I'll go back to the original plan to have the bear on the back of the shirt.  (I also realized that I could incorporate a Brown Bear into Lucky's birthday look through a hat, but that is something for another post.)  

I'm not sure about making applique letters this small.  I considered looking for some iron on letters but in the end decided to just leave it plain.

This is the first year that Lucky is really aware of what a Birthday Party means.   He will tell strangers that he will be 3 at his birthday party and even invited our neighbors little girl to the party before I had a chance to email her parents!  (We went to a lot of parties in September so this was helping pump him up.)  He is very excited about his party and Brown Bear shirt.  I hope it still fits in a month!

It is time to applique!  I'm nervous, why am I so nervous?  Oh yeah, if I stretch the shirt too much while I'm sewing it could pucker weird.  Deep breath and here we go.

I used the zig zag stitch (stitch #8 on my machine) with a stitch width of 1.5 for both appliques but a stitch length of 4 for the brown bear and of 3 for the numeral.  (Brown bear settings - [8, 4, 1.5], #3 settings [8, 3, 1.5])

It worked!  The shirt came out better than I expected, or really just as I had hoped it would be.  I would have loved to come up with something that was very different from what I could buy on etsy, but nevertheless I'm proud of myself for completing this project myself.  

And it doesn't hurt that Lucky absolutely loves his birthday shirt!

Just like he loves his baby brother!  

Someday Lucky is going to want to pick the theme of his birthday, but as soon as I told him that we were going to do Brown Bear he was SO excited.  I hope that he is always this excited about his parties!  

Stay tuned, I'll talk more about Rowdy's shirt, the really cool DIY party hats and what we did for the actual party in future posts!