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Ballet Shoe Applique on Shirt


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Sometimes I can’t leave things alone. 


I know we’ve talked about this before.  And how my husband, Steve, sometimes teases me and tells me I can add frill, color, and spice to whatever I want……except to him.  Or his laptop.  Haha.  (He secretly loves my issues.)


I bought this little skirt (for a price I could never make it for….ya-hoo!) and a shirt at Baby Gap right after Christmas during some gonga sale


I LOVED the skirt.  And so I bought a little plain shirt to go with it.  Now that the skirt fits……the shirt bored me.  So, I got my fabric scraps out and showed that plain shirt who was boss.  Yeah, me.


I added some sweet little ballet shoes to the front……tied together with a big bow.




That fluffy skirt thanked me for giving that shirt more life. They’re a great pair now. 




And this little baby girl?  Yeah, she’s munch-able in whatever she wears……but extra cute in her ballet shirt.




This project would also be perfect for those shirts with a stain on the front.  Or a hole.  You know you have plenty of those.





One of the best parts about it?  It took me about 20 minutes to do.




So easy, so quick, and so darn adorable.  Success.




Would you like to make your own ballet shoe applique shirt?


First of all, I saw a shirt similar to this……I think at Target.  Or maybe baby gap?  I can’t remember.  But I saw it and loved it.  And it turned out to be a very satisfying project.  Hooray.


To get started, decide what shirt you want to add your applique to.  Then find some scrap fabric that you can use to make the shoes…….and some ribbon too.


Before cutting out the ballet shoe shapes, iron some fusible adhesive to the back of some of your scrap fabric.  (Need help with fusible adhesive?  Go here.)


Leave the paper backing on the adhesive and then draw your ballet shoe shapes on the back.  (If you need to draw your shoe shape on paper first and then use it to trace onto your project, that may be helpful.)  Then cut out a smaller oval shape in another color of fabric, for the inside of the shoe shape.



Next, place the ballet shoes (and their inner oval) right to the front of the shirt.  Tuck a piece of ribbon right under the very top of each ballet shoe, so that you can hide the raw ends of the ribbon.  Iron the shoes down, securing the ribbon ends in place as well.  (My ribbon was nice and wide, so I folded over the ribbon.)



Next, I sewed a straight stitch, nice and close the edges of each ballet shoe and inner oval.  (After washing, these edge may fray just a tad, but not much.  If you’d prefer, you can do a nice tight zig-zag stitch that will enclose the edges a bit more.)

Then, I kind of twisted the ribbon and pinned it in place where I wanted to sew it.  I didn’t just want straight lines of ribbon because I wanted it to look like actual messy ballet strings.


Then I sewed the folded and twisted ribbon right in place.


Then I tied a bow with the same ribbon and then sewed it right down to the shirt, covering the ends of the ribbons that were already sewn to the shirt.


To keep your ribbon ends from fraying, you can either use fray check, or heat them with a lighter.  I prefer the lighter method.



And that’s it. 


Nice and quick, right?






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This post is sponsored by:


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. Anne M. says:

    I am in love with this shirt! I am always looking for good applique ideas…it’s one of my favorite crafty hobbies!! How does the bow hold up to washing and drying??? What kind of ribbon did you use???

  2. ZARA says:

    I LOVE IT! & I LOVE MAKEIT_LOVEIT! :) Glad to find you!

  3. Tracy says:

    I just finished making both my little girls matching ballet shoes shirts, and they are adorable! I love that you make things so much prettier then they are originally, I do too! I love all of your re-purposing things too… I can’t even count all the shirts, pants, etc that I have around my house that I don’t wear. Thanks so much for all the fantastic ideas!

  4. Christy says:

    I am so addicted to your site! Love this and everything else! Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Peggy H says:

    wow.. what GREAT idea! And so adorable! (both the applique and your baby girl :)
    Thanks so much for sharing! I am gonna try this for my little ballerina :)

  6. Jen says:

    love this!! i’m obsessed with appliques – i can add an initial to anything – and my baby girl will be getting one of these very soon. thanks for the inspiration. very cute!!!

  7. Antje says:

    Thank you! As soon as I had seen this blog I HAD to make it. And so said my little girl… :-) But it is a very quick project, maybe I’ll make lots more for her or other girls, so cute!

  8. Shari @For the Little Doll In Your Life says:


  9. MarLaney @ Our Marvelous Clan says:

    This is so cute! This is a great idea to cover a stain my daughter has on a newer shirt. If only I could sew…lol. You make this look so easy.

    I’m slowly teaching myself how to sew. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Kristie V says:

    You are so stinkin creative love it and you inspire me to keep on sewing keep on sewing (like on NEMO just keep swimming) cause I get frustrated really easy and want all my sewing projects to be perfect and sometimes loose the sense of creative and I forget to have some good ol’ fashioned fun. Thanks KV :)

  11. Latha says:

    oh this is sooooo adorable. i made the tinker-bell costume for my 3 yr old last week. it was a precious project… sewing things for my children has been on my wish list for long and i’m glad there’s someone to help me now:) thank you dear sewing fairy…..

  12. Daly @ Write a Bio says:

    It’s beautiful! Excellent way to cover up those stubborn stains she always makes all over the place :D

  13. Emily says:

    You can always cut your ribbon with a soldering iron (or woodworking tool) instead of using a lighter.

  14. Taylor says:

    Lovely…what a sweet little outfit! Blessings!

  15. Jennifer says:

    I need to get a plain shirt and make this for my daughter ASAP, I love love love this!!

  16. Tiffany says:

    oh my word could that little Lady of yours get any cuter??!!…just sayin…she is so adorable!…I miss my little lady at that stage!

  17. star says:

    Ooooh! This is adorable!! I think I commented a while back on if you had any applique tutorials and now you do!!

  18. Kathi Alderink says:

    Cute tutorial, thanks! Where did you get that skirt? It is SUPER cute!

  19. Kasia says:

    I love your blog =D

  20. Kelly says:

    That is SO cute, and I love the little brown skirt to match!

  21. Morgan says:

    Super cute! That skirt is amazing, and yes, probably needed more than a plain T-shirt. Sweet baby girl.

  22. RobyGiup says:

    The shirt is perfect for that skirt (that, let me say, is just wonderful!), well done!

  23. Dijana says:

    Love the project! I would die for skirt tutorial! :-D
    Love your complete onog!
    Best wishes from Croatia!

    1. Dijana says:

      I meant, i love your complete blog!
      My mistake :)

  24. Annette says:

    LOVE IT!

  25. anilegra says:


  26. Patty says:

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Katarinka says:

    Очаровательно !
    Просто и эффектно !

  28. Jess B says:

    Wow, love it! Love that even I could probably do this. I’m such a beginner!

  29. Crystal says:

    I would make this in a second but how easy is it to wash that shirt? Does it have to be hand washed b/c of the ribbon?

  30. Laurel says:

    Cute skirt and super darling baby. She is getting so big.

  31. Tara says:

    I can’t wait to make one. This is so very sweet!

  32. Meaghan says:

    These are really cute. I have three girls and every season I do the same thing….buy good quality plain t-shirts – or long sleeve tops and applique them. Have never thought of ballet shoes. Thank you.

  33. Tricia says:

    Very cute. I think that those little ballet slippers are screaming for a little bow on top of each one. So adorable.

  34. Kara says:

    Oh my gosh–so cute! My 10 month old is always standing on tip-toes, so this would be perfect for her. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Leigh Ann says:

    Love it! Pinning it! I’ll make one later.

  36. Beth says:

    Oh my heavens, that is so stinkin’ cute! I have 3 boys but you can bet I will find someone to make one for! Smiles~Beth

  37. Annie says:

    Oh that skirt is YUMMY! And as always you made the shirt much much better!

  38. Michele says:

    How adorable! That shirt and skirt are pretty cute too.

  39. Mellissa says:

    Pinned it immediately and I can see why you were tickled at that crazy cute Gap skirt! Thanks for creating and sharing!

  40. Jenny says:

    My girls have a shirt like this from Target and a friend asked if I’d made it! I laughed and said no way! Who knew it could be this easy! Your version is ADORABLE! Thanks for the tutorial! :)

  41. Stephanie says:

    I love it!!! Now I want to go buy a white tee shirt! Thank you for sharing, you are so creative.

  42. Krista says:

    So cute and easy! My almost-two-year-old just started ballet. I want to make this to add to her dance wardrobe (which currently consists of one leotard and one pair of tights!)

  43. Jenn says:

    I love it! I’m on a tee embellishing kick and my little ballerina would love this!

  44. mrsblocko says:

    Awesome tut. How bad is it that I want a skirt like that in my size?!

  45. Kendra L says:

    CUTE. ALL of it…the “munchable” baby, the tutu is to die for, and the applique to match! I wish I had a girl!!

  46. Lynn says:

    Love this! I have been wanting a ballet shirt for mygirls and Ijust

    1. Lynn says:

      Bought plain shirts!P.S. That skirt is to die for!

  47. Shannon Paterson says:

    New sewer and curious, will the edges of the shoes fray? LOVE it! Our littlests are nearly the same age so your projects have been super fun! Looking forward to Denver!

  48. Lindsey says:

    LOVE! Such a great idea! I am totally going to make a few of these for my girls!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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