Appliqués are a great way to turn something drab into fab and make coordinating looks. Give a basic tote new style or a plain shirt some extra flair. It's easy and inexpensive too - especially when using scraps. Earlier this week I shared my how-to for making lined pants with fold-over detailing (aka Ants In My Pants) using some darling Timeless Treasures Itsy Bitsy Ant print fabric.
Today's Crafty Gear 411 gives a quick run-down of making appliqués from scratch and shows how adding an appliqué to a plain tee makes a totally custom ensemble:
Here's how to make your own custom appliqués:
- Item to appliqué
- Paper & pencil
- Cotton fabric
- Paper-backed Fusible Web and Sew-In Stabilizer
- Sewing Notions: shears/rotary cutter, disappearing marker/tailor's chalk, iron & ironing board, press cloth, pins, coordinating threads)
- Optional: hand sewing needle for detailing
To start, create an appliqué design on paper and decide what will be the basic outline shape(s) for the applique (fine detailing will come later in the stitching). I wanted to make an ant on a picnic blanket, so I drew a three-segment body for my little ant on paper and used that as the pattern to pin onto some Soho Solid Black fabric and cut out:Itsy Bitsy watermelon fabric for the picnic blanket and cut matching pieces for each from my fusible web:
éd items look. Satin stitch is really just a fancy name for using a wide zig-zag set to a very small stitch length (close to zero). The trick is to line things up so the right side of stitches go just past the raw edge of the fabric to enclose it under the stitching and go slow around corners and curves for a uniform look.
It's also best to use a good stabilizer on the back if you're appliquéing on a thin or stretchy fabric. The stitches tend to pull a bit and get puckery on these materials - especially when there's a lot of stitching close together. My stabilizer of choice for these sorts of projects is the kind you can tear away because it gives a good, solid backing and just rips away when done.
For the really fine details hand stitching is the way to go. I added a couple of hand stitches in blue for some the tiny eye detail - little accents like that can really add personality.
Now the appliqué is all set and a custom-created-by-you look is complete. Enjoy!