DIY

Applique 101

Recently, I have become an applique addict. Before now, I was very frightened by the thought of it. I don’t know what to say, but I have been known to have some irrational fears. Using an iron is one of them. I am terrified I am going to F. up and burn an iron shape onto whatever I am ironing.

But, one of the grea
things about pushing through your fears, is that it feels so wonderful on the other side!

Applique 101

So come along and read on to see all about my applique adventures and how you can do it too!

Ok, you remember this outfit from when I showed you some pictures from our trip to Savannah. My very talented friend, Bethany made these. Like I mentioned on our Facebook page (you are over there with us, right?!? It is SO fun!), she has been sewing with her mother and grandmother since she was a little girl. She even made my Homecoming dress for me. I will have to try and dig out that picture and scan it for you. I remember going to her house as a little girl, doing crafts and always burning myself with a hot gun. I really treasure those memories with her and her mother and I am sure they were the first seeds planted in me, to make me into the crafty adult I am becoming, even if I do still burn myself with the hot gun, all the friggin time.

So here is the back, she took three strips from a jelly roll, and sewed them on with a ruffle foot. A ruffle foot is awesome, instead of doing one basting stitch to gather the material and make a ruffle, and then sewing it to your piece, it’s all one step and saves time. It is now on my sewing wish list.

Applique 101

Applique 101

Her daughter, Brielyn and Penelope are one week apart.

Applique 101

This is the front. Just beautiful. Petal shapes to make a flower, then a button in the middle to finish it off. Use a strong needle when you sew the botton on, because going through the fusing and the fabric makes the layers pretty thick.

For my first project, I got inspired by these trees from one Penelope’s books. This book is super cute by the way, it’s printed on recycled paper and is all eco-friendly and stuff.

Applique 101

Applique 101

Then I bought a cheap tank top from Old Navy.

Applique 101

And picked out some coordinating fabric scraps. I also dipped into my sacred bamboo felt stash.

Applique 101

So why do you need fusible fabric? You honestly don’t, if you don’t want to. But it makes the fabric stiffer and stay in place when you are sewing, so it doesn’t rumple up. I didn’t use any on the felt, because I was afraid to iron felt, (remember my irrational fears?) and it rumpled a tiny bit, but not bad at all, in my book.

I haven’t tried it, but you might could get away with spraying the fabric with starch to stiffen it up. The only catch with that, is that you could not sew the fabric the way Bethany did the flower (with a straight stitch, not a zig zag stitch over the edge like me). In Bethany’s case, the melted fusible fabric is really what is keeping the fabric to the shirt. In my case, it is the stitching. Make sense?

Applique 101

There are a ton of different options for fusible fabric/tear away stabilizer, I just grabbed what Joann’s Fabric had. Typically you iron the stabilizer to the wrong side of your fabric. Then peel off one layer and then iron that onto your shirt. When you are ironing the first piece of stabilizer to the wrong side of your fabric, use an old sheet or piece of fabric in between it and the iron, so nothing sticks to your iron.

Applique 101

I cut out simple circle shapes for my first applique. You have to consider reversing the picture of whatever you want to do, if you do something like a bird, or it will be facing the wrong direction on the shirt.

Applique 101

I just free hand drew my trees, but if you do a google search, a ton of free applique patterns will pop up.

Applique 101

Then I placed them on the shirt, where I wanted them.

Applique 101

And went to town, sewing a zig zag stitch around the edges.

Applique 101

What do you think? Couldn’t start selling them on Etsy or anything, but pretty cute for my first time, right? Speaking of Etsy, I made a board on Pinterest, of some of my favorite Etsy applique shirts for inspiration. You can see them here. Be sure to follow me too!

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  • Mamastiks
    August 11, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    Very cute. I love making appliques. My favorite is a bird with hand-stitched legs & a button eye that I made for my 5 year old. She loves it.

  • Courtneybee
    August 11, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    You did a fantastic job! I can not zip zag on a sewing machine to save my life…adorable!

  • Samantha {Moody Mama}
    August 11, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    It is so cute 😉

    and I love where you said "and stuff" because that is just like something I would say LOL

  • Maureen
    August 11, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Steph that is insanely cute and amazing. P&B are two peas! I had no idea applique was so easy! Great job!

  • Cristina Arkin
    August 11, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    Very cute! Totally worth digging into the felt stash for!

  • Anna
    August 16, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    Cute! I've been making similar onsies using wonder under backed fabric and stiching around them. They turn out so much cuter than any of the baby clothes you can buy in the stores.