Since I do a lot of machine appliques on my totes and bags, and I've recieved several questions about them, I've decided to make a tutorial for them. The applique in this tutorial is for a custom messenger bag, so you can see from start to finish what a difference they can make.
Appliques can range from super simple to quite complex. Here are a couple of examples.
simple ying-yang... two piece applique
complex applique - 8 piecesPlease Note:
I was self - taught.. so I'm sure there is a different way to do them, this is just how I manage. Gather your goodies:
* something to applique (I recommend something PRE sewn, it can be difficult to add to an already constructed item)
* Appropriate thread (lots of it!)
* Pen, Marker or Pencil
* Thin cardboard or sturdy paper
* Sewing Machine
* Applique foot (you can do this w/out one, but its MUCH easier if you have it!)
Okay. Ready? Great!
First, you will need to make your applique pattern. I suggest something simple if this is your first one. You can use hand-drawn images, purchased templates, or even clip art printed from your computer. I chose to draw mine out on cardboard.
Once you have your pattern drawn, cut it out and then trace it onto the front
of the fabric you wish to use.
Cut around your pattern in a square shape, so your applique design will be inside of the square. This will make it easier to cut out your Wonder-Under and you won't need to cut out your design more than twice.
Follow the instructions on your Wonder-Under and iron the fabric to the shiny side. Once you have it well ironed, you can then cut out your design.
Then chose where you'd like to place it on your item to be embellished, peel off the back of the wonder under and iron it on!
I suggest using the same thread for the top-stitch and for your bobbin when you applique. Reason being.. if your machine's tension is off, you're not going to see a different color thread peeking out of the top.
You are going to set your machine to a zig-zag stitch
, with a width about 3, and of with a stitch length of just above zero.
*You may need to play with it a bit by using a test piece of fabric. Once you've set your machine, take a scrap and give it a go. If it doesn't seem to move at all, increase the stitch length, if there is too much space between the stitches, decrease. You want a nice fluid over-laying zig-zag stitch that looks like a straight line.
Once you have the right settings, you're almost ready to go!
Next, attach your applique foot. I've seen several variations of these, so check your manual. Mine is clear and has a small arrow on the front. I prefer the clear ones so I can see where I'm going, especially along curvy lines.
Now, the idea is to have your applique centered between your "zigs and zags".. half of the stitch on the applique, half on the fabric. The arrow on my app. foot marks the center for me, so I use that as a guideline. Make sure you have a good 3 inches or so of pulled thread from your needle and bobbin before you begin.
Pick your starting point, line your app. up, drop your needle into the fabric and begin! Slow and Steady does it!
If you are doing mulitiple pieces, make sure you do them in a well thought out order!! Try to make it as easy as possible for yourself by planning them out!
If you need to go around curves, you can use your hands to control the feed and to stear the fabric. Sometimes it is necessary to stop stitching, drop your needle into the fabric, lift your app. foot and re-position your design.
* If you need to curve left - make sure your needle is in the RIGHT side of the zig-zag!
* If you need to curve right - drop it on the LEFT side.
This will insure a clean fluid curve with no fabric showing in between your stitches.
Continue working your way around:
When you come to a point, or corner, simple stitch to the end, drop your needle, pick up your foot and turn your fabric in the direction you need to go and re-stitch over the end of the stitches.
Once you get to your starting point, go over it for a cm or so and stop. Don't cut your threads too short! Turn over your work and using the bottom threads, pull the tops ones through and securely tie them off. THIS IS A MUST!! You don't want all of your hard work to un-ravel!
it looks neat on the back too!
Flip her over and check her out! If there are any mistakes, its quite easy to go back and fix them.
I added leaves to my tree using just wonder-under.
and the whole bag:
*whew!* it can be a lot of work, but WELL worth the effort.. don't ya think?
A few tips:
* The more you play, the better you applique. You will get better with practice, and the tips and tricks will come to you through experience.
* Once you have the simple designs done, try for something more difficult. You should see the piece thats on my to-do list... 34 pieces!!
*I used about 110 yards of thread for the tree applique, so be prepared with your materials and make sure you have enough of one color.
* There are tons of specialty threads out there that work great for appliques, like the mulit-colored thread in the ying-yang design above. Feel free to play and experiment.
Okay.. if I left anything out, I'm sure I'll catch it, but if anything is too confusing just let me know. This is my first big tut!
***I've removed the broken pictures. If I ever have the time to do this again, I'll make sure to update. In the meantime, If you have any questions, feel free to pm me anytime. ***
Show me what you can do!