Thanksgiving Turkey T-Shirt

By Emma Jeffery

Difficulty level


Rate this article


Tools used

  • Circle Shape Template (8 1/2" x 11")
  • Ovals Shape Template (8 1/2" x 11")
  • RazorEdge™ Softgrip® Scissors (8")

Supply list

  • T-shirt
    Assorted fabrics with a mix of patterns and solids
    Adhesive fabric spray or fusible fabric bond
    Embroidery floss and needle

I used my Fiskars Oval template to cut five ovals measuring 3” x 4” from assorted fabrics. I cut three patterned prints and one solid cotton to make an alternating pattern for the turkey’s wings.


Next, I used the Fiskars Circles template to make the turkey’s body. I used the 1.5“ circle for the head and the 2.5“ circle for the body. I drew in the turkey’s neck to connect the head and the body and cut it out.


It is important to adhere the wings to the t-shirt with an adhesive before sewing the fabric pieces to the t-shirt because pins will NOT hold the design in place and your jersey WILL ruffle up in all directions. Apply a fabric bond to the wrong side of the wings and position centrally on the front of the t-shirt. I used a fusible fabric bond, but you could also use an adhesive fabric spray to hold the applique onto the front of your shirt as you sew.


I sewed a small zig zag stitch close to the edge of each of the wings. The fabric on the edge of the stitching will fray as the top is worn and washed, so stitch close to the edge for a neat look.


I embroidered the turkey’s face with two French knots for eyes and a little orange beak. To make a French knot, first bring the needle through the back to the front of the fabric. Hold the needle against the fabric and wrap the floss around the needle 3 times. Insert the needle back through the fabric very close to where it came up and pull the floss all the way through.

French Knot Collage

When you have finished the turkey’s features, apply fabric bond to the back of the head and body as before and stick it to the wings before sewing onto the front of the design.  I couldn't resist the temptation to add the word ‘gobble’ to the bottom of my t-shirt, so I used the letter templates to write the word backwards directly onto the fabric.


After I cut the letters out, I sewed them onto the front of the shirt with a straight stitch.


I used a cotton canvas for mine, which will fray over time. For a different look, consider using a non-fraying fabric such as jersey, fleece or felt.


I put my design onto this t-shirt for my daughter, but the technique and design could be used on almost anything, just by using bigger or smaller template shapes. I think a set of turkey place mats, dishtowels or napkins would be a very appealing way to bring some Thanksgiving decor into your kitchen this year or putting the design onto a tiny baby onesie would be so sweet.


Click here for more ideas on making your Thanksgiving special