Nightmare Before Christmas T-shirt Applique

3:40 PM

Another Halloween project--sewing a simple applique on a t-shirt.
It's been fun this year that my little guy is excited for Halloween, and this was a quick 15 min project that made his little day and served as a potty training prize.  Luckily, things are clicking and I hope we'll be done potty training here in a few days!
Anyway, here's our scary shirt to show you!

When I showed him his $3.00 prize he jumped up and down saying: "Cool Halloween shirt!"
I hope people recognize it as the main character from the movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, because running around in a black skull t-shirt kind of reminded me of Sid from Toy Story.

-black t-shirt
-white fabric scrap
-interfacing: fusible, Heat'N'Bond, stitch witchery, etc.
-thread (white and black)

I sketched the head of Jack Skellington for my applique.

1. Trace template onto interfacing
 I used fusible interfacing because that's what I had on hand.  Heat'N'Bond is double sided that makes it even easier if you have that.
Since my interfacing only had one fusible side, I traced the face on the shiny/ glue side using a black marker.

2. Iron interfacing on white fabric
I used a scrap of white broadcloth.  I iron the interfacing on the highest setting for the fabric without steam.

3. Sew Face Features
Your tracings should show through your white fabric, showing you where to sew.
 Using black thread and a shorter stitch length (1.5) I sewed the mouth and teeth lines with a straight stitch.
For the nostril holes, you could just sew straight lines too.
For my nose holes, I chose to use my zig-zag stitch.  I set the stitch length to almost zero, or the button hole setting.  Then I started with a narrow zig-zag (1) and as I sewed twisted the knob up to stitch width 5 then back down to 1.  It makes a oval shape of thick thread.

4. Cut Out Applique
Cut out the skull and eye holes.
*If you are sewing this on a shirt that isn't black, rather than cut out the eye holes, you can trace and sew black scraps on top of the white skull for the black eyes.

5. Pin and Sew the Applique on Shirt
If you are using Heat'N'Bond, at this point you can peel off the paper backing and iron the applique on the shirt.  You could be finished at that point, but I always sew on appliques for durability.
Since the back of my skull didn't have adhesive, I pinned it on the chest of the t-shirt.
Using a straight stitch and white thread, I first sewed around each eye hole, pretty close to the edge, less than 1/8". 
Next I just sewed the circle perimeter of the skull (1/8" seam allowance) and it was finished!

A quick, cheap, easy, little Halloween project!
Happy Halloween!

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  1. Very cute! All I could think of when you said Sid for Toy Story is " That ain't no happy child!"...LOL! Thanks for the smile! I needed that!

  2. Of course people should know who Jack Skellington is....isnt he like the most important face for Halloween????
    Cute shirt, and to think I just bribe my kids when they are potty training with M&M's.

  3. Super cute!! I have a friend who LOVES TNBC, I night have to make her a shirt now, lol!
    It's funny- right after reading your post my son came downstairs wearing his sweatshirt from Disney that has a Jack face on it like your shirt. :) It must be a sign.

  4. So simple and cute. I love that movie... I'm making myself a Sally dress for Halloween, the perfect costume to use all the little fabric scraps I have. (ok, to be honest not all of them but a lot)

  5. Love the pics and that its actually an applique and not silk screen. Very cool!

  6. Glad to know my 3yr old isn't the only one that loves Jack! And thanks to Heldin des Chaos for the idea - I have been trying to figure out what to dress my daughter in to match big brother's skeleton costume - SALLY!!! See if I can pull it off!

  7. Love Love Love this!!! I am totally doing this one for my little dude!! Thanks for the fab idea!

  8. You are incredibly talented! I couldn't sketch Jack let alone do this project, I am sure.

    I love Nightmare Before Christmas and nearly every Tim Burton film! :)

  9. Made my own for my two boys!
    Thanks for the idea!
    Here's a link... just scroll down until you see the two blue t-shirts, as it was a pretty long post to update


  10. I'm making myself a Sally dress for Halloween, the perfect costume to use all the little fabric scraps I have.

    Funny Teeshirts

  11. Thanks for the sketch! I used iron on vinyl and it worked great. You did a super job on the likeness. Thank you!


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