Doing applique might sound like serious business but in reality, a complete beginner can learn to do one in just a matter of hours.
There are advanced complicated methods but you don’t have to go for them initially. As a beginner, it’s a good idea to learn how to do applique in simple methods that don’t require much embroidery knowledge to begin with.
This guide is aimed at people who are just beginning to learn about appliques and want to learn the whole process step by step.
Learn How to Do Applique
Here’s a step by step process:
1. Select Applique Template
Unless you’re very good at drawing, you’ll probably like to use a template for your applique.
You make one yourself but if you’re nervous about the final design then choosing one from the internet is the easiest idea.
There’s a lot of free templates available on the internet that will do the job and once you get used to doing appliques for once, making designs and doing the sewing on your own will be a good pastime. But for this step, you might want to choose a template.
2. Choose Your Fabric
You have hundreds of options for appliques and you’re free to choose. There’s no right or wrong on which background fabric is the best suited for your design or which will last longer on your fabric. But there are some basic rules you may want to follow.
You should try to use a harder fusible web for applique under a thin fabric to help the fabric hold its shape for a long time and not lose up or get frayed easily.
On the other hand, use a thinner webbing under a thicker applique to ensure the final combination doesn’t feel too thick and uneven on the skin or touch.
Using a thinner web with a cloth that’s thin as well will make the applique to get frayed after a short time.
Also, think about the purpose of the fabric. Is it a dress to be worn regularly? Or is it something that’s only meant for decoration?
If something is intended to be used on a regular basis then the fabric should be tough and not get frayed easily, otherwise, the fabric will not be usable for a long time. Less used items can go a long way with frayed fabrics.
Leather, fleece, felt, suede, and vinyl is some examples of strong appliques.
These don’t get frayed easily and can handle rough uses for longer periods. Jersey, twill, cotton are the ones that get frayed and you should be careful with these.
3. Apply Webbing
A fusible web helps the applique hold onto it. It works as a support system for the background fabric.
Cut the fusible interfacing web according to the applique shape and iron both together to create a flat-out shape to hold these together.
4. Draw Template on the Web by Tracing
Trace the applique shape on the webbing. You can do this with a pencil, pen, or marker but the pencil mark is eraser removable and can be cleaned out if afterward.
5. Cut and Iron Template
Cut the appliques according to the shapes marked from the design and remove the under the cloth covering of the fabric.
Now put the web and template on the background fabric and place the hot iron on top. Don’t swipe the iron, as it might cause the fabric shape to move.
Repeat this step for all the fabric cutting one by one. Lift the dry iron up and slowly put on another fabric without swiping on the appliques.
6. Pin a Template Stabilizer
This is not necessary but it can be a good idea to use some stabilizers.
Use a fabric template stabilizer under every applique piece until the processing is completed. Not to say that this step is a must but better to be safe.
7. Stitch the Design
There are many stitches like blanket stitch, satin stitch, zigzag stitch that work greats on every design. You can do stitching as you want, but some stitches like straight stitches will cause the fabric to fray easily.
If you don’t use a thick, fray preventive fabric then you better do a zigzag stitch and it will cover the applique from edge to edge.
Straight stitch and blanket stitch are time-saving and can be a good hassle-free option if fraying won’t matter much. The ones with straight sewing are called raw edge applique. They have their edges unsewn or raw.
Raw edge stitching is one of the easiest methods. As the edges are not protected and left to wear out and to fray, they’re best used for clothing or items that are not intended to be used on a regular basis.
Things such as a cushion cover, cloth card, bedsheet can be some best places to use a raw edge applique.
It doesn’t take much time, isn’t a great hassle to do, and can result in a beautiful design.
If you want your raw edge applique to stay in shape and not get frayed out, one thing you can do to protect the edges is to cover the edges with thick zig-zag sewing.
This needs to be done with a sewing machine as hand sewing will not be as effective.
There’s another way to do applique that doesn’t require all these hassles yet gives beautiful output. The name is decorative stitch or satin stitch design.
This way, you cover your fabric in all shapes and do simple sewing to hold the applique pieces together.
This style is quite popular with beginners as it doesn’t need fancy tools or much time.
The decorative technique is simple enough for beginners to do in a short time yet teaches all the underlying applique techniques a newbie needs to know.
8. Removing Stabilizer
After you set all the appliques to the fabric, you should remove the stabilizers kept underneath. A small scissor or tweezer can help you remove the stabilizer fabrics from small corners.
Knowing how to do an applique will open a road to you with endless possibilities. You can make designs yourself or choose a pre-made template. Now you can create crazy sewing projects and quilting projects with these applique techniques.