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Mario Half Pipe T-Shirts for Back to School with HTV

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Little boy wearing the Half Pipe T-Shirt. HTV Star on a Mario T-shirt.

Matching Mario inspired t-shirts for three boys using the Half Pipe Pattern from Ellie & Mac. This is such a cute back to school set. Instead of applique, heat transfer vinyl was used. Get the free “Super Star” cut file for Cricut.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, I may receive a commission off the sale. This does not impact your price for the product. I received the Half Pipe Pattern free to review for this post. Thank you.

G starts 1st grade this year and K is going into pre-K. Everyone’s a bit meh about the summer coming to an end- they enjoy the play time. I think getting back into a school routine is going to be tough. Part of my routine growing up was back to school shopping. We went shopping for clothes and supplies, and this helped get us revved up for back to school AND provided a nice transition. And I ADORE back to school shopping with my kids now.

So I took the kids shopping for some clothes and supplies, but I also wanted to make a few things. They love the boxer briefs that I made them, as well as many shirts and other items. Ellie & Mac was having a Back to School Blog Tour so I signed up, anticipating that it might be fun to make a few “mommy made” items for school. They were excited to be able to pick out which pattern they liked. Naturally, they picked the pattern that used an applique.

In my head, I was all “Yeaah!! Gonna rock this applique thing!” but then I checked the date I signed up for (the 24th) and the date I was sewing (the 18th). I didn’t have enough knit fabric to do what I wanted and a store run was out of the question… Tristan’s birthday was on Saturday and our in-laws were visiting so we were supppppper busy. Not only that, but my mother’s helper has gone back to college (wahhh!). Unless I find a mother’s helper for the school year, my crafting and sewing time is going to be very limited.

Needless to say, I was trying to decide how to pull this off and I decided to try using heat transfer vinyl in place of the applique. It gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my new mini heat press that I got from my friend and it made use of HTV that I already had on hand from my “My First Solar Eclipse” shirts that I made the boys.

THEY’RE SO CUTE! AHHHH! I love the matching shirts. You wouldn’t believe how many photos I had to take though to get a few that the kiddos weren’t moving in…

Three brothers in matching Mario shirts.

Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom so you don’t miss out on the giveaway for this blog tour!

Supplies for the Half Pipe Tee with HTV

Subscribers get the cut file for Cricut Design Space free. Sign up below. This is for the starmen / invincible star / super star and face cut out if you want to use heat transfer vinyl.


The Half Pipe Pattern from Ellie & Mac with Heat Transfer Vinyl

Click Here to Buy the Half Pipe Pattern from Ellie & Mac

Review of the Half Pipe Pattern

If you’ve sewn other shirt patterns, you’ll find this is pretty similar to any other t-shirt that you sew. The main difference is that you’re color blocking. While you could color block yourself by pulling apart your favorite t-shirt pattern, this makes it extra easy to do. I love patterns that have color blocking built in because there’s less room for error.

The Half Pipe Pattern fits from 12-18 months up to size 14 so it will work for my sons for quite some time. I made the 18-24 month size for my 1 year old (who normally wears 12-18 mo clothes), size 5 for my middle son, and size 8 for my oldest. They seemed to fit according to the measurements chart provided by Ellie & Mac.

You can do half and half on the front only, or on the back as well. I did one plain back as it was easier.

This pattern requires a knit fabric with 4 way stretch.

I ended up using a mix of scraps for the plain fabrics I choose… the plain side of the front is pretty soft, thin fabric and I was worried it wouldn’t have enough recovery. I’m not super familiar with sewing clothing yet, but I decided to use a bit more sturdy knit for the neck band. If I’d used the thinner fabric, the neckband might have ended up looking stretched out pretty quick.

The pattern is very detailed and explains how to add your applique if you want to use one instead of HTV. I think it has great instructions for someone new to sewing clothing, even if you’ve never sewn a t-shirt before. It explains fabric choices and stretch. There’s a glossary of terms. Overall, I was impressed with the instructions on the pattern. That’s one thing that I love about PDF patterns- they have AWESOME detailed instructions with photos. I am petrified of store bought patterns because PDFs are what I learned to sew on.

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Tips for Using HTV in Lieu of Applique

When it boils down to it, applique is super cute. I didn’t have the time to figure it out as it’s not something I do frequently. The heat transfer vinyl was a great alternative, but I had a few suggestions if you try it yourself….

  • HTV doesn’t go well over the seam that goes down the middle (sigh). You can see the seam through the HTV. It’s a small cosmetic thing that’s bothering me. If I did this again, I might move the star completely onto the plain side of the shirt, instead of having it overlap both sides. The overlap looks much nicer on the applique.
  • The yellow glitter HTV that I have isn’t quite yellow enough to be the correct color for the Mario star. This has also been bothering me. Next time I’d probably run out and grab some regular yellow. My kids didn’t notice/care, but my husband pointed it out immediately. I was really hoping it was all in my head. On one hand, SPARKLES, yay! On the other hand… not quite the color I was going for,
  • Using a heat press was probably a good call here. I am not sure how well the HTV would have stayed on if I’d attempted to use an iron… that seam might have made it hard to get equal pressure on all parts of the HTV (time will tell if the heat press did a good job).

How to Apply HTV as an Alternative to Applique

I wanted to make sure to explain how I setup my cut file for this project. Glitter vinyl isn’t supposed to be layered so I sliced the eyes. I used yellow glitter vinyl for the star with the eyes completely cut out. The plain black vinyl is placed in the empty eye spots. Then I layered the white glitter vinyl over the black eyes. I could have sliced for the white dots too, but I didn’t think it was necessary seeing the black was regular HTV.

When you look at the cut file, you’ll see three different sizes (6.75″, 6″ and 5″)… there’s also a full star that’s hidden. Unhide it and resize if you want to mess around with sizes a bit. You need to resize all of the individual pieces if you resize the star.

These are the non hidden files. You can see there are white dots, black dots, and the stars. You really just need small scraps for the white and black.

Free Cricut Cut file for a Mario Invincible Star, aka the Super Star or Starmen.

You’ll start with just the front piece of your shirt. I did NOT sew my whole shirt together before adding the HTV- just the two front pieces.

Mini heat press, about to press a star on a Mario shirt.

I didn’t mirror these because they are the same regardless of if they’re mirrored. Once you print each color, you can weed away the excess. Then cut around each star and eye pieces.

Weeded pieces for the layered Mario Star cut file.

Make sure to warm up your shirt front with your heat press. Then press your star on.

Invincibility star pressed onto a Mario shirt.

After the star is on and you’ve peeled off your plastic top to the star, go ahead and add your black eye circle. Press. My glitter HTV was warm peel, but I believe the black was cool peel. Once the plastic was peeled from that, I followed up with adding the white dot on top.

Star for a Mario shirt using heat transfer vinyl.

After removing the plastic from each piece, I pressed the shirt once in between layers. I am hoping this will help keep the HTV on properly.

As usual, it’s best to wash these inside out. Fortunately, my kids almost always send their clothes through the wash inside out… how bout that, I don’t even need to do any extra work!

The baby’s shirt has the star right in the middle, but I put the stars on the big boys’ shirts off to the side a bit.

Super Star Mario Shirts for the three boys. LOVE these!


Please pin this!

Matching Mario shirts using the Half Pipe sewing pattern and heat transfer vinyl. Get the free Cricut cut file for the Mario stars on

Adorable Mario shirts with the Super Star on the front with HTV. Get the free cut file from

The Ellie & Mac Back to School Blog Tour

Ellie and Mac Blog Tour

Visit all the bloggers on the Back To School Sewing Patterns Blog Tour Featuring Ellie and Mac and enter the giveaway to win a $50 store credit below!

  1. August 20th: Seams Sew Lo (Intro)
  2. August 21st: Seams Sew Lo
  3. August 22nd: Momma Newey’s Makes
  4. August 23rd: Mama You Can Make It
  5. August 24th: DIYDanielle
  6. August 27th: Mijn11jes&ik
  7. August 28th: Tenille’s Thread
  8. August 29th: Make it Sew with the Bear and Pea Atelier
  9. August 30th: My Sewing Roots
  10. August 31st: SequioaLynn Sews
  11. September 1st: Mijn11jes&ik
  12. September 2nd: Crafty Curly Couture
  13. September 3rd: Sew 4 Five
  14. September 4th: Our Play Place
  15. September 5th: Fée bricolo
  16. September 6th: Jot Designs (USA)

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Half Pipe Pattern from Ellie & Mac Sewing Patterns, Boys T-Shirt with Applique

Use the Discount Code DIYDANIELLE on for 10% off any cutting machine or heatpress (no minimum). Excludes: materials/accessories/mystery boxes/etc. Applies to US/CA only, code expires 12/31/23.

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Kelsey garnhart

Tuesday 28th of August 2018

Cool I wish I had a cricut


Tuesday 28th of August 2018

This HTV stuff scares me ???? I don’t know if I’m quite ready to go there but I love what you did here!


Tuesday 28th of August 2018

Yeah that's how I feel about applique. Lol.

Lo | Seams Sew Lo

Monday 27th of August 2018

Your boys are so adorable. I love their matching shirts too!! So cute!


Monday 27th of August 2018

Thanks so much!

Kimberly McQueen

Sunday 26th of August 2018

I love the idea of matching shirts for your boys! I have a boy and a girl and they want nothing that identifies them as related to each other when they are at school! HA! These turned out so wondermous!!


Sunday 26th of August 2018

Hahaha, yea that will come someday. But they don't all go to school together yet!


Friday 24th of August 2018

Fun project! I haven’t tried HTV yet, I’m afraid it would come off pretty quickly... Maybe I should just give it a go and see what happens...


Sunday 26th of August 2018

I love HTV, but you do need to press it well or it WILL come off :)