After spending way too much money on Greek letter shirts, I decided that I needed to find a cheaper alternative. In the end, this DIY is not only cheaper, but it offers a lot more variety in designs and stitching. I will never buy another machine-made shirt and after this tutorial, I hope you are swayed too!
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
Here are the materials that you will need:
· Flat surface to iron on (ironing board)
· Sewing machine
· 2 bobbins (1 for each color of thread)
· Matching threads for your fabrics (2)
· Foreground fabric (at least 6”x14”)
· Background fabric (at least 6”x 14”)
· T-shirt of your choice
· Wonder Under or Heat N’ Bond (must be sew able)
· Greek letter stencils (1 set for foreground and 1 set for background)
· Cutting Board
· Sewing needle
· Exacto Knife (optional)
Step 2: Iron Your Fabrics
Before starting your project, make sure to iron both of your fabrics and your t-shirt. Use the cotton, no steam setting. If any of your materials are synthetic, lower the temp or place a cloth over the delicate fabric while ironing. (Keep iron on)
Step 3: Position the Wonder Under
After everything is smoothed out, place your fabric on the ironing board right side down. Then place the Wonder Under on top of it, paper side up.
Step 4: Iron It Down
Once you re satisfied with the positioning of the Wonder Under, place the iron on top and hold there for 8-10 seconds. Let fabric cool down.
Step 5: Trace Your Letters
Now place your stencils right side down onto the Wonder Under paper. Using a pencil, trace around the letters. Make sure to do this, or your letters will be backwards when you flip the around again.
Step 6: Cut Your Letters
After tracing, cut out your letters. If you have tricky letters like "Phi", you can opt to use an Exacto knife for more precise cutting. Repeat steps 1-5 for your foreground and background letters.
Step 7: Place Foreground Onto Background
Once you have both sets of letters, peel the paper off of the foreground letters and position them onto your background fabric. When you are pleased with the way it looks, iron it down. Let the letters cool again.
Step 8: Position Letters Onto the Shirt
Remove paper from the background fabric and position them onto the shirt. In order to assure a good placement, put the letters 3-3.5 inches from the collar of the shirt. Using a ruler might help with this step as well as keep them straight.
Step 9: Iron Them Down
When you have placed your letters where you want them, iron them down to the shirt. Hold down iron for 10-12 seconds. Let the cool down afterwards.
Step 10: Adjust Sewing Settings
Now you can begin to sew your letters. I recommend starting with the background. I just found it easier this way. You can use whatever stitch you want. In order to change stitch length and width, just change the dials on the sewing machine. Use a scrap piece of fabric to test out what your prefer.
Step 11: Start Sewing
Once you have picked your stitching, begin sewing the background. This is not a race and the first set of letters you do can be tricky so take your time. Also, don't forget to either reverse and then go forward to strengthen the stitches or use a very small stitch length to make sure the starting stitches are tight and secure. Do this for the last stitches as well. Make sure to leave a good amount of thread for the beginning and end stitches.
Step 12: Tie Up Loose Ends
Once you have sewn the background, take your loose ends and pull them through to the back with your needle. There should be two strands already on the underside of the shirt for the bobbin thread. From the back, take one top thread and one bottom thread and double knot them together Cut the remaining thread leaving half a centimeter end.
Step 13: Repeat!
Repeat this step for the other letters and the foreground of the letters.
Step 14: Enjoy Your Shirt!
Once you have finished sewing and tying in loose ends, you are left with a beautiful Greek letter shirt your friends will be envious of. Enjoy!