15 March 2013

Let's Sew! Series: Appy Applique

Applique is a simple method that you can use to decorate a t-shirt, bag, skirt, blanket--anything really. An applique is decorative piece of fabric cut into a shape or design and then applied to another piece of fabric. Simple enough, right?

Supplies: Iron-on applique paper*, paper pattern for tracing (optional), iron, pins, thread, fabric, t-shirt (or bag, skirt, etc.). For this tutorial,I'm using an old knit tank top.
*Heat 'n bond, Wonder Under, Fusible web, etc. 
1. Choose a design and either draw or print it from your computer, then cut it out.  You can also use printed fabric with large designs and shapes. 

Trace the design, face down, onto the back of your applique paper. Cut this out and leave some space on the edges. 
2.  Iron your fabric, place the bumpy side of the applique paper onto the back of the fabric. Your traced design should be facing you.  Iron in place. 

Cut out the design getting as close to the traced lines as possible.

3. Iron t-shirt. Peel paper backing from applique and place onto t-shirt (the design will be facing you).  Iron in place. 

4. Stitch around the edges to secure and stop frays. Remember to back-stitch to lock your thread in place before and after sewing.  I like to use a satin stitch--a very tight zigzag--but you can use a straight stitch or basic zigzag. If you use a straight stitch, the edges outside of the stitch will fray slightly over time, which can produce great results depending on the style you're after. 

 When zigzagging, make sure to stay right on the edge of the fabric. The needle will catch both the applique fabric and the fabric/t-shirt you're applying it to, locking down any loose ends. 

The finished applique.  Does it look familiar?

For more sewing tutorials and projects, click below to visit the Lew's Sew! page.

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