Stitch Floral · Oct 12, 2019

Fabric appliqué: 4 methods you should know

I actually really LOVE the art of appliqué! Even though I don't use it that much (practically never) but I do love seeing others' works on the Internet and appreciate the artistry so much :)

My October project that I've mentioned earlier in this post is also appliqué-friendly and, personally, I'm going to experiment a little in this field! So I thought if anyone wants to try the same I should tell a bit more about the methods of applique in advance.

Method 1

So, the first thing you should remember is that the majority of fabrics tend to fray on the edge.

And because of this, if you just simply baste a cutout to the ground fabric, eventually it will fray quite a lot even if at first it doesn't look like it.
However, sometimes this kind of ragged and frazzled edge might be the desired effect! Especially, for enthusiasts of rustic style. In such cases, this method is what you need.

And, basically, all you need to do is just work back stitch along the whole shape, stepping a little away from the edge.
Make your stitches rather small so that all of the fibers are secured.

I'm using quilting cotton in this example and it doesn't really fray that much – I frayed it myself for this picture as well as I could. However, if you use linen, for example, it is likely to fray a lot easier and the fibers might pull apart right in front of the stitches. In this case, your back stitching should be even smaller.

Method 2

If you don't want the edges to fray, you can work buttonhole (blanket) stitch around the shape. You can work it more densely, of course, like I did in one of the examples in this post.

By the way, I'm using a thread of contrasting color for all of the appliqué methods in this article to make it more clear. Naturally, you can use thread of a color similar to the appliqué cutout if you don't want it to stand out too much.
Ah, and this method is commonly used in felt applique!

Method 3

Now, if you don't want any fraying to take place but also don't want to work a border of buttonhole stitch around it, you can use a fusible interfacing! :)
Instructions are easy: 1) cut a piece of interfacing material equal to the piece of fabric you want to apply it too, 2) interfacing material has two sides, one of which is adhesive. Put the interfacing piece with the adhesive side up, and lay the fabric piece on top of it, with its backside down and face up. In conclusion, the adhesive side should be next to the backside of the fabric. 3) iron it thoroughly (settings of heat are according to the type of fabric) staying for several seconds in one place.

When you have applied interfacing with the fabric, cut the shape out of it.

The thing is, the fibers are now glued from underneath so they are going to hold together and are very unlikely to fray. It is almost like paper. Well, unless you expose it some rough tugging like in a washing machine or if you use it on everyday clothes

So, what you will do now will depend on your artistic choice. If you want it to look raw like it is, you can baste it down with tiny running stitches of similar color.
Or you can use any decorative stitch, you can find many on the Stitch Library. I used french knots here :)

Method 4

This one is likely to look a bit more dimensional, but there is like 0 chances for any fraying to happen.
And again, we need interfacing material (it will give a certain advantage but actually you can use another fabric, I will mention it below).
BUT we need to put fabric and interfacing material in a different manner now!

So, what we do is we put fabric face up, and then we lay interfacing material with adhesive side down. So, the face of the fabric and the adhesive side are supposed to be looking at each other.

Then you can draw the shape down and backs titch along the edge.

Cut the shape out with a seam allowance and cut a slit in the interfacing material.

The turn it out. Now you have a shape like this – face of the fabric up and adhesive side down.

You can now place it where you need on the ground fabric and iron it down.

If you want to secure it even better, you can stitch a border of buttonhole stitch again, or baste it down in any other way. Or you can work invisible stitchlike I did in this example.

Like I mentioned, this method can be used with a different fabric instead of interfacing material. Just skip the ironing part and baste the piece down in the way you prefer the most :)

So, here are 4 methods for your fabric appliqué! As for me, methods 2 and 3 are what I'm more likely to use but in the end, it all depends on the situation.
Hope you find the method you of your liking too and try some appliqué in your next project! :)
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