Saturday, February 9, 2013

DIY Applique Without an Embroidery Machine

Applique without an embroidery machine? Yes! You can even do it by hand if you’re that good. But just a simple sewing machine can do the trick. Here’s what you need:
  • Your garment
  • accent fabric for your design
  • paper or interfacing as a stencil for your pattern
  • fabric scissors
  • paper scissors (never use your fabric scissors for paper, yikes!)
  • heat bond iron on adhesive (use heat n bond lite if you plan to sew, and ultra if you do not want to sew. Sewing will increase durability.)
  • iron & ironing board
  • sewing machine threaded in a coordinating color
Step 1- Trace and cut out a simple design on your paper or interfacing to make a stencil. You can actually print designs, like a letter or number from your computer, if you have a printer. (make it a larger font)

Step 2- Cut out a piece of fabric big enough for your design. Add Heat n Bond Lite to the wrong side of your fabric. Follow the directions on the package to iron it on to your applique. I actually place a piece of interfacing down on my ironing board then the wrong side of the fabric face up, place the heat n bond on top of the fabric (tacky side down), and iron the back side of the Heat n bond (paper side) to protect my ironing board and iron from getting the sticky adhesive on them. Make sure to trim any excess heat n bond away before the next step. Remember to iron this on the wrong side of your fabric!

Step 3- Use your stencil to cut out your applique design. Pin it down to cut. It needs to be precise with clean edges.Good fabric scissors are a must!

Step 4- Position the applique where you want it on your garment. (You can mark it with disappearing ink fabric marker) Peel back the backing on the heat bond and place the applique, adhesive side down on to your garment.  Iron on your applique design. (Again, see Heat bond package for directions)

Step 5- Take your garment to your sewing machine and set the machine to a zig zag stitch. If you like the look of the zig zags, set your stitch length to something like a 2 or 3. If you like a column stitch (you can’t see the zig zags) set your stitch length to  .5 . I recommend practicing these stitches first on a scrap piece to see how they look. SLOWLY, stitch around the outside of your design. The border of your fabric should be in the middle of the zig zag stitch, this is to properly secure the design and prevent fraying of the edges of your applique. Remember to back stitch a few stitches at the beginning and end. When your turn corners, remember to leave your needle down! If you use a longer stitch (2-3) some fraying can occur after washing depending on the type of fabric used. This adds to the overall look of the piece. If you do not like this, than use a .5 stitch length, this will completely seal in the edge of the fabric. Remember to just go slow!

If you think you might like to try this technique, check out this other tutorial on making a personalized burlap garden flag. Good Luck, and have fun!

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