Striped Tee with Leopard Appliqué

This week’s post is all about a shirt that I had as much fun making as I have wearing it (and that’s a lot of fun!). My striped tee with leopard appliqué was inspired by BurdaStyle’s DIY Cat Appliqués tutorial.

The moment I saw this tutorial I fell in love with the cat appliques and couldn’t wait to whip up my own version. One of the examples in Burda’s post especially caught my eye – the black and white striped tee with the cat made from a leopard print. To me, this was the perfect combination of a classic top with a bit of whimsy and print mixing.

For the tee, I selected the Ponte de Roma Stripe Black/Ivory from I usually enjoy sewing with ponte knits, and this one was no exception. It has the perfect weight and structure to hold up nicely to the appliqué. Using Simplicity 8376, this shirt went together like a dream. The pattern was exactly what I wanted for this project. It was simple and straightforward, and the only alteration I made was to add 4” to the hem. I used the basic pattern, without any of the suggested pattern hacks. I easily completed the shirt, from start to finish, in just a couple of hours, and that included matching the stripes. I serged all the seams for a clean, finished look.

Now it was on to the fun part.

For the cat appliqué, I selected a 100% cotton leopard print from This fabric is no longer available, but I know there are similar fabrics on I didn’t follow Burda’s instructions exactly, as I’ve worked with appliqués before. I first took my fabric and fused a piece of fusible web to the back. I then used Burda’s free template and cut out my cat. Here it’s important to take a moment and make sure you are cutting the appliqué in the correct direction. I typically trace my pattern onto the fusible web side, since it’s basically a paper backing. This means I need to remember to trace my pattern upside down so the cat faces the correct direction.

DIY Striped Tee with Leopard Appliqué – Detail

After cutting out the cat, I placed it on my shirt and played around until I had it where I wanted. I then removed the fusible web backing and ironed the cat in place. From there, I used a tight zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to sew around the edge of the cat.  I prefer to appliqué directly onto the garment as opposed to hand tacking. I think it gives a more secure hold, unless of course you want the appliqué to be removable. I’ve included a picture of the inside of the shirt, because I love the way the underside of appliqués look!

Detail view leopard appliqué on DIY black and white striped tee.

My initial plan was to hand stitch eyes onto the cat, but after trying on the shirt, I realized one of the cat’s eyes would land in an unfortunate spot.

DIY Striped Tee with Leopard Appliqué – Front View

I left the eyes off, but I still love the way it turned out.

After completing this project, I’m excited to try out some more clothing appliqués, and I would definitely recommend this shirt pattern. I have since made this pattern in a more casual version, which I will try to post soon.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

DIY Striped Tee with Leopard Appliqué – Front View

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