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More than a Basic Tee -- The Primary Tee with Fabric Applique

I'm excited to be participating in the Change Up the Tee Blog Tour hosted by Made for Little Gents. This month, several ladies sewed basic tees for their boys, but hacked these tees to be a little more than basic. This blog tour was sponsored by GYCT Patterns. For this blog tour, I used the Primary Tee for the first time.  I was really excited to try it out, because, let's face it, I love new patterns. I'm ALWAYS excited to try out a new pattern. πŸ˜‰

So as the title of our blog tour suggests, I was supposed to change up this basic tee. I really enjoy putting appliques on shirts. They're super cute, easy to do, and make basic tee shirts stand apart. I have an embroidery machine that I LOVE using for appliques, but sometimes my creative side likes to make them myself. So I decided to make an applique for a tee shirt.

I'll tell you all about my experiences with the pattern and making the applique below! 😊

The Primary Tee by GYCT Patterns:

I referred to the Primary Tee above as a "basic tee," because I was sewing a basic tee using the pattern, BUT this pattern is really more than basic. 

This pattern has a few options included that set it apart from other tee shirt patterns. Included in this pattern is a unisex tee shirt with both short and long sleeves. You also get a pocket piece, if you wish to have a pocket on your tee. There is ALSO tee shirt dress included! I probably won't get too much use from the dress portion of the pattern, since I only sew for boys, but talk about value! Sizes 12 months all the way to 12 years are included. 

So you get a unisex tee and a dress both included in the same pattern! If you're already be sold on the pattern, GYCD is offering a discount code to the readers of the blog tour to take $2 off the price of the pattern. If you're interested, use code SEWBLUE to get your pattern for $5.95. You can grab the pattern for the shirt here (affiliate link).

Sewing the Tee

Due to time constraints, I decided to sew only one tee for this blog tour. Both of my boys fit into the size range included in this pattern, so I chose to sew for the one who would cooperate for the camera the best. 🀣 Daniel is a bit stubborn, and if something is not his idea, he doesn't always cooperate. Luke generally "works" the camera, so he's the one who got the new shirt (for now, at least πŸ˜‰).

Luke cooperates for the camera, but not so much for the tape measure, so my measurements were a bit of a guess. Ha! I did the best I could, and it looked like he would fit into the 18 month based on the chart, so that's what I made. He wears an 18 month now in most patterns and in RTW clothes. I feel like this was a good choice. He might have still fit into a 12 month in this particular pattern, but in the interest of having a little growing room, I'd say this size is perfect.

We live in Louisiana, and it's summer time, so short sleeves were the obvious choice. Since I am making an applique for the front, I decided to not use the pocket piece. All of the pieces went together perfectly, and I enjoyed sewing it.

I sewed this shirt using a 95% cotton 5% lycra from Purple Seamstress Fabrics.

Making the Applique 

I have a whole post dedicated to explaining how I make appliques here. It was actually my first post, and what really got me started!

I took a few pictures along the way when I was making this shirt to explain my process, but for more detailed information, see my other post.

I sketched out my applique. Sometimes I trace other pictures, but this was a super basic design, so I drew it myself. I cut around it and held it up to a tee shirt that fits Luke to see how I felt about the size of the design. I was worried that it was a tad large, so I put it on my copy machine and reduced the size to 85% of the original. I think this was perfect!

Next, I trace my design on to Head and Bond Lite or something similar. I'm out of Heat and Bond Lite so I used this other stuff that I have on hand from before. It works just the same. Remember when you do this that your design will be mirrored once you put it on your shirt. So if it is something that really matters which way it is facing, you need to flip it before you trace it!

Then I iron my design onto my scrap of fabric. I've used knits and woven fabrics for appliques with success. Any scrap will work! For this particular applique, I used a scrap of interlock fabric.

Cut around your design, peel off the paper backing, iron on, and then stitch it down using your preferred stitch.

I prefer to stitch down my designs before the shirt is constructed. It's just easier, but you can totally add an applique to a finished shirt too! πŸ˜‰

Luke's Tee Shirt

I'm pretty much in love with his new tee! It's amazing how something so simple can change up a basic tee so much! It's cute, something different, and since I designed the applique, no one else will have one exactly like it! Now... I really think he needs a pair of shorts to match. Another day. πŸ˜‰ 

Thank you so much for reading this post! Be sure to check out all of the other stops on the blog tour, and see how other ladies change up a basic tee!

Also... Be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY! GYCD is giving away a shop credit, so you don't want to miss out on entering to win that!

Kicking Off The Changing Up The Tee Blog Tour Thanks for reading! Check out what other bloggers are doing and come up with ideas for changing up the tee by following along with the blog tour below: Fri. June 29 Made for Little Gents (Intro to Tour) Mon. July 2 Family of Makers Tues. July 3 Made for Little Gents Wed. July 4 Frullemieke Thurs. July 5 Made by Laura! Fri. July 6 Auschick Sews Mon. July 9 Kate Will Knit | Sew Cute Couture by Kathy Tues. July 10 Tenille's Thread | Mahlica Designs Wed. July 11 Momma Newey's Makes | Our Play Place Thurs. July 12 My Sewing Roots | Elli and Nels Fri. July 13 Dreams and Stitches | Stylin' Stacy Ready for the giveaway to GYCT Designs Shop? Here you go! Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

**I received the Primary Tee Pattern for free for participating in this blog tour, but these are my own opinions. 

**I have included my affiliate link to the Primary Tee Pattern in this post. If you are interested in shopping through my affiliate link, you can also find it here: 

And if you purchase remember to use code SEWBLUE to get your copy of this pattern for $2 off! 😁

If you do not already, please come follow me on INSTAGRAM! I'd also LOVE to see what YOU make! 


  1. I love this airplane! I used the same striped fabric in some shirts I made for my boys recently. :) It's fun to see it used in a different way!

  2. I think he will be getting striped shorts to match! I just ran out of time before the photos. We have VBS and then vacation that were so fun, but took out a couple of good weeks of sewing time. I'm planning to either do shorts or bloomers!

    I always love seeing other people sew something with fabric I have used for something else. It is so fun to see what different ideas people have with the same fabrics!

  3. This is adorable! I need to get into applique!

    1. Thank you! It is really fun! :-) You should give one a try!

  4. Great tutorial, I have never tried doing an appliquΓ© this way, but now it looks so easy I think I will need to give it a go

    1. Thank you! It really is pretty easy, and lots of fun! 😊

  5. Beautiful!
    I should definitely try out an application from fabric too after seeing this.


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