monogram pillow cases How to Make a School Bus Appliqué Tee or Dress decorative pillow shams
Updated: 2020-03-30

If you have young ones returning to school this fall I’m guessing they love spotting a bright yellow school bus. I know mine do! So as I was thinking about a way to make back-to-school clothes fun for my girls I came up with a school bus appliqué for embellishing a basic t-shirt or dress.

This fun design would work for boys or girls equally well. The boys might like the extra “gear” of the optional side mirrors included in the template. Sew it onto a simple shirt you’ve sewn or even a purchased cotton shirt. I sewed my own Bateau Neck Dress pattern in a bold stripe and appliqued the school bus on it. This applique is a great way to create something unique and fun to get your child excited about returning to school. And it’s not too difficult—it just requires a bit of patience.

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Tip: I like to use fusible webbing to keep everything in?place as I stitch, which eliminates all of the stress!


The fun—and art—of applique is experimenting with the right combination of solid and patterned fabrics as well as colored threads. This can take a bit of time but it will pay off in something that looks unique and professional. Because I appliqued a boldly striped t-shirt dress I kept the applique fabrics solid colors but I love mixing prints in appliques too. It’s up to you!

Tips for sewing with knits:

Step 1) Prepare the appliqué pieces.

Iron paper-backed fusible webbing to the wrong side of your fabrics. (Make certain the fabric is a bit bigger than your webbing so it doesn’t accidentally bond to your iron or ironing board.)

Print and cut out the School Bus template. Start with the largest shapes first, and cut them out of your fabric by tracing around them and then cutting along the lines. Then cut out the smaller shapes in the same manner.

Step 2) Create the layered appliqué .

To minimize the amount of stitching on the inside of the t-shirtmonogram pillow cases, I like to sew most of the smaller shapes to the bus before sewing it onto the shirt. I would recommend sewing on the “grill” and “School Bus” header. I also sewed on the “tires and bumper” with decorative stitching and later used a regular straight stitch in black to sew it to the t-shirt.

Start by layering the smallest shapes onto the larger shapes as follows:

Topstitch the “red lights” on the header and above the bumper on either side of the grill. I used an eyelet stitch (#61 on my BERNINA 580) ?at a 4.9 width and 4.9 length for the small “red lights” and a 9.0 width and 14.0 length for the larger red lights. (Note that you’ll need a 9mm stitch plate and foot for this width to work!) Alternatives to this would be to sew on mini pom-poms for the lights, or hand- or machine-embroider circles using a satin stitch, or applique small circles of fabric, perhaps with an “x” formed by straight stitching.

Step 3) Stitch the appliqué to the shirt.

Now that all the smaller pieces are secured to your larger bus shape, position the bus appliqué on your t-shirt or dress and iron it in place. Then use a topstitch to secure the bus to the garment.

If you are using the optional side mirrors included in this template, iron them in place last and then topstitch around the edges.

Sit back and admire your work! And just wait until your child sees it: All smiles!

If you like this applique pattern you can find a few others on my Aesthetic Nest blog:

To continue my discussion of minimalism, I wanted to share how we incorporated it into the?design?of our home.

How gorgeous are these DIY ear warmers?? I love all the different styles you can make from one tute as well. When I spied these on Delia Creates I just had to beg Delia to share the DIY with you, and lucky us, she agreed! Take it away Delia: With autumn here and winter right around the corner, it is the perfect time to make these easy DIY ear warmers! These are so fun and quick to make, you may want to make four…like I did! All it takes is an old wool sweater or 1/4 yard of fleece, scissors, thread, and a sewing machine. Pretty simple. For this one?I used an old wool sweater that got ruined in the wash and became semi-felted.

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