These three shirts are for a friend's family - who is probably reading this ;)
Applique is sort of my main sewing endeavor (besides the one dress I made for Ava), I am super self taught and so my zigzag stitches (the Ava shirt) skip, it all takes me a long time, and even though I plan on adding buttons, ribbons, etc. I usually am 'done' with the shirt by the time I get done with the cutting, tracing, ironing & sewing. Make these in lots, they are pretty satisfying - can be done in about 30 mins each or even less for the tie which is super easy and a good place to start. These photos are huge so if you click them they will pop up full size and you can see the detail.
Some Good Links:
How to Applique - http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=518
Applique Zig Zag Stitch Problems - http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=330969.0
Using a machine to make more of a satin stitch with really close zig zags - http://www.girlythingsbows.com/applique_shirt.html
My personal tip - if you can't get your zig zag to work or you are having problems you need to use iron on, tear away backing.
p.s. Michelle you should totally add some funky buttons and bows to these - wait do you decorate boy's clothes with buttons like that - maybe not.