Customised clothing and DIY handmade tote bag for Mother’s Day

If you want to give your mum something unique for Mother's Day this year, look no further! Today's blog post contains two DIY upcycling ideas that you can make at home to create a fashion gift for your mother that no-one else will have...

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For a gift that looks like it’s come right off the rails of her fashion favourite shop, why not try making your mum her very own slogan t-shirt? You can upcycle a second-hand tee from a charity shop or buy a low-cost basic jersey top to customise.

The hardest part is choosing a slogan just for mum! I went for ‘You are my sunshine’ and ‘happy’ for the t-shirts I created, but you could add any message that means something to your mother – a favourite lyric perhaps, or an uplifting quote.

Choose a sheet of iron-on heat-transfer vinyl, available from craft shops and online, in your mum’s favourite colour, or in a hue to coordinate or contrast with the t-shirt you’re using. There are two ways of cutting out the slogan from the vinyl sheet –

1. You can program the message into a paper-cutting machine if you have one and simply pick away the vinyl that you don’t want to transfer onto the t-shirt. Just remember to cut the text in a mirror image so that it reads forward once it’s ironed onto the t-shirt!

2. If you don’t have a cutting machine, print out the slogan onto paper and then trace around the edge of the text using a pencil. Then flip it onto the back of the vinyl sheet and scribble over the edges of the text to transfer the shape of the text onto the vinyl. This should be a mirror image of the text, that you can then cut out using scissors.

3. Position the slogan onto the t-shirt across the chest and use an iron to securely fuse the vinyl to the fabric. Make sure that the steam on your iron setting is turned off so that the vinyl transfers correctly. You can follow the timing guidelines that came with the vinyl sheet to make sure you’ve heated it for the correct amount of time.

Once the vinyl has cooled a little, you can peel away the plastic backing from the text to reveal mum’s brand-new slogan t-shirt. Simply wrap it up and give it to her on Mother’s Day!

Customised tote bag

Everyone needs a canvas tote bag to take to the shops, so make an extra-special one for mum by customising it. You can buy basic canvas bags from pound shops or reuse one that you already have by putting it through the wash and ironing it. Then simply add a personalised photo or message.

I’ve used iron-on t-shirt transfer paper to print a photograph onto the canvas surface. Simply choose a favourite photo, pop the transfer paper into the printer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to transfer any image onto the bag.

I chose a photo of a favourite day out at the beach with mum, but you could add images of her pets, photos of her grandchildren, or any vintage snaps from your childhood. Ensure that the image will cover the full A4 size piece of transfer paper and set it to print at ‘full bleed’.

1. Once the photo has been printed onto the paper, position it face-down onto the canvas bag and iron it in place. You’ll need a firm surface to apply the heat and pressure from the iron so be sure to use a sturdy ironing board. Follow the instructions on the transfer paper to find out how long to iron the design onto the canvas bag.

2. The transfer paper that I used could have two different finishes – I opted to remove the transfer backing paper while it was warm, which created a matt, vintage-style photograph. Alternatively, the backing paper could be removed after it had cooled for a solid gloss finish.

This method can also be used to apply photos to t-shirts, cushion covers or any fabric you like, which you can then use to create a make-up bag, device cover (check out my step-by-step video to make those projects) or even a quilt.

So, there you have it – two handmade gift ideas that can be fully customised to suit your mother. I hope you enjoy making these projects as much as your mum will enjoy receiving them on Mother’s Day.

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The pink links in this blog post indicate an affiliate link, sponsored link or information source. All thoughts and opinions in this post are based on my own experience and I am not responsible for your experience. 

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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