Friday, June 15, 2012

How to make applique easy

A while back I was talking with someone (I wish I could remember who) and discussing issues of applique embroidery. Knit fabrics can be finicky and don't want to stay in place, but they can be secured with a looser stitch and won't fray at the edges. Woven fabrics stay in place much better while you're working, but you have to be much more meticulous about stitching down the edges, and that can take a *really* long time. So, whoever this brilliant person was suggested that I use fusible interfacing to secure the edges of woven fabrics. Brilliant!

It was actually quite easy, and seemed to work with several different weights and types of fabric. Just take a small piece of fabric (bigger than your design) and a piece of fusible interfacing, iron them together as per product instructions, and then draw on either side and cut out your shapes. 

A note of warning: make sure your piece of interfacing is at least a little *smaller* than your fabric when you're ironing them together, or you'll fuse the overlapping sections of interfacing to your ironing board.... oops!

This thistle design on a plaid flannel is the only one I've sewn on to anything so far, but I really like how it turned out. I used a sort of connected running stitch to secure down the edges, and I really like how it gives a solid line, and doesn't take away too much from the plaid. Often I like to use a blanket stitch on the edge of knit appliques, but that would have been too busy here. The very edges of the flannel did start to fray a bit, but only after I'd sewn them down - the interfacing held everything together. Also, I feel like between the interfacing and the stitching, it's very secure. The bonus is that it took much less time than a satin stitch around all the edges to hold the loose threads in!

Here's just a bit of a sneak preview of what I'm making here - it's a smallish purse. I sewed the bottom edges together without turning them inside, in the hopes that I'd get a bit of a frayed edge to echo the appliques. It will still be getting a shoulder strap, hemmed top, and probably a tab and button closure, in the same flannel plaid.

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