I was totally inspired when I saw this turkey shirt by Artsy Fartsy Mama on Throwback Thursday, I knew I just had to make one of my own for the kiddos. I knew I wanted to give it a little touch, my own personal accent, if you will. But I didn’t know how far I’d go! If you get Rainbow involved, things will be very creative indeed. She is now 8 years old and has an opinion all of her own. She wanted her turkey shirt to be her way. So I got out my big box of fabric (I think I horde it) and we went and picked out some more so she could have it just the way she wanted it.
Bubby, who is freshly 4, was pretty simple. He just wanted a turkey shirt. So I let him pick out how he wanted it to look and let Rainbow help me do the cutting, gluing, designing, and placement of her shirt.
I had a very hard time finding plain brown shirts. Who knew? I went to my local craft store and acquired 2 plain white t-shirts and a packet of Cocoa Rit’s Dye (powder). I have never dyed a shirt before but it was super simple. I followed the directions for the washing machine, added some hot water, the packet of dye, a cup of salt, and teaspoon of detergent and let the shirt agitate. It was supposed to agitate again before it rinsed but I got distracted and missed it. It turned out well though! It came out a light brown with the stitches still in white, which I liked immensely. DIY Fail avoided!
The next step in the process is getting a pattern. Most people would not need a pattern since these are basic shapes, but I am not too great at cutting a good circle or straight triangle. If you are like me, I made you a quick pattern, Turkey Shirt Pattern. I also made some letters. I found them to be too small for my use but it may be perfect for you, Turkey Shirt Pattern Letters.
- Brown Shirt (or white shirt and cocoa rit dye)
- Fabric patterns of your choice (white for eyes, colored iris, black pupil, orange beak, red gobbler/waddle, various patterns for the feathers)
- Fabric Glue (I used Amarillo Rose No-Heat No-Stitch Glue. It was $3.99 and I used a 50% off coupon)
- Pins (optional)
- Paint Brush or Sponge (optional)
Total Cost for Each Shirt: Under $5
Cut out all of the pattern pieces (if you are using them)
I always pin my pattern pieces to the fabric to make it a ton easier to cut out. When they are standard shapes that I need two of, I will fold over the fabric and cut out two to save time. This works well when you pin the fabric and pattern together.
To cut out the pupil, fold the pattern for the eye in half once, then again, then again… etc., until it is an 1/8th and then trim off the end to make a smaller circle for your pupil.
In order to pin smaller pieces, just push a pin through the middle.
Since Rainbow is very creative and particular, she insisted the Turkey had a “gobble” (aka a waddle). Since I didn’t have a pattern for this, I placed my turkey peak on the fabric I wanted and pinned it. I then lightly traced with a pencil where I wanted the gobbler to go and cut out around the beak.
Have your kiddo place the pieces where they want them to go.
Rainbows final placement (before she decided at the last minute to add eyelashes).
In order to make the center of the bow, just cut out the center circle in the pattern after you have cut out your bow.
Also, if your kiddo wants eyelashes, just cut out some thin, slightly curved pieces from black fabric.
Put your glue on the back of your fabric and use a paint brush or a sponge to spread it out. You want to have good coverage, but most importantly you want it to come out to and cover all of the edges.
If you have any fraying or sticking up edges, just place a little glue on your sponge and put it directly onto the shirt and fabric. Smooth it out with your finger. Any frayed pieces of fabric you can push back into the fabric with your nail and it will glue down that way.
Once the front of the turkey is done, start cutting out your feathers while you wait for it to dry. Cut out your first piece from the pattern and then pin it to the other pieces you will be using as feathers. Since I am using two feathers in each color, I folded over the fabric for each color and then pinned the one I cut out on top. This saves a ton of time and they will come out just as well.
Place the feathers how you would like them. If you are using six, I recommend placing the first center two and building off of them for even placement.
I started making a standard turkey for Bubby’s shirt but Rainbow insisted he needed something extra special too. So his turkey got a pilgrim hat! I am not great at cutting out without patterns as I stated before, so this should tell you how easy this is. I cut out a square in black for the main part of the hat, then I cut out a long strip and rounded the edges, next I cut out a smaller rectangle for the strip on the hat, and finally I cut a square out for the buckle, folded the piece over and cut out a smaller square, and viola; a pilgrim hat!
As you seen, I also added their name on it, per Rainbow’s request. I was going to abandon the idea but she insisted on it. She even cut out her own letters! Since Bubby is still a little young, I gave him a helping hand, but he picked out his colors.
You could also easily sew these on by hand or with a sewing machine. However, I wanted to experiment with fabric glue and I must say, it is a lot easier! I have already washed them and they are perfect, still looks great!
We hope you enjoyed our DIY No Sew Turkey Shirts. If you make your own, please share them in the comments! We would love to see them.