Friday, February 15, 2008

Machine Applique Tutorial and Giveaway!

Applique Tutorial:
Please Note: I was self - taught.. so I'm sure there is a different way to do them, this is just how I manage.

Appliques can range from super simple to quite complex. Here are a couple of examples.

simpe two piece applique

complex applique - 8 pieces

Gather your goodies:
* something to applique (I recommend something PRE sewn, it can be difficult to add to an already constructed item)
* Wonder-Under or other fusible webbing!
* Scissors
* Appropriate thread (lots of it!)
* Pen, Marker or Pencil
* Iron
* 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 or purchased templates. I chose to draw mine out on cardboard.

Once you have your pattern drawn, gather your fabric you'd like to use for your applique and 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 trace your design onto the wrong side of the fabric, the wonder under side. Remember to flip your design based on how you'd like it to appear on your finished product. Then cut out your design!

Decide where you're going to place your applique on your "item to be sewn" and iron it on, again following the instructions on your wonder under.
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 your settings 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 thick 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 almost entered between your "zigs and zags".. just over half of the stitch on the applique, the rest 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 multiple 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 steer 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.

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. Always end with your needle on the outside of your stitching.

Continue working your way around...
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 bobbin threads, pull the tops thread through and securely tie them off. THIS IS A MUST!! You don't want all of your hard work to unravel! This sounds confusing, but if you pull up on the bottom threads, you'll see the top threads come through a bit in a loop. I use a pin to pull them up.
it looks neat on the back too! (I used a darker thread for my bobbin so you can see better)

Flip her over and check her out! If there are any mistakes, its quite easy to go back and fix them.

Once everything is A-Ok, finish your project and ooh and ahh at your new applique!

*whew!* it can be a lot of work at first, 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!!
*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 multicolored thread in the ying-yang design above. Feel free to play and experiment.

If you have any questions, just let me know and I will do my best to answer them.

Leave a comment on this post through Saturday night and I'll randomly draw a name from a hat. The winner will receive the little birdie plush I made above! Cute yummy wool felt and purple cottons, stuffed to perfection and embellished with a vintage button. Sew Cute!


Tizzalicious said...

Fantastic tutorial! I always wanted to know how to do this!

The Smug Cat said...

How cute. Sadly, my sewing machine is 1960s vintage & does not have all these handy gadgets.

trudette, said...

Great tutorial, your work is lovely.

The Banner Queen said...

Wow! What a fantastic tutorial. That must have taken you hours to write up. Well done!

rosytoes said...

This is great, thank you, it's so clear and easy to follow. Your work is so lovely, you have a great eye for colour.

kathijane said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I have some appliques cut out, but wasn't exactly sure how to sew them on! I'm going to give it a try now!

Anonymous said...

Great tutorial! Even the most novice sewer should be able to follow that! And just so you know, I've been sewing for well over 30 years, and that's pretty much the way I do it too! Thanks for posting it, I'm sure there are lots of people who it will give the courage to try something new!

Alorinna said...

What a great tutorial, thanks for this!

Ophelia Miller Boutique said...

Thanks for sharing. I will certainly bookmark this one.

Do said...

Yay! Thanks for the tutorial. And the birds are cute :)

MonsterBug Blankets said...

Wow Sew Serious--thanks for the great tutorial! It was easy to understand and follow--and the applique you did is gorgeous! :) I JUST started appliqueing for some Christmas presents--and I LOVE it! So much FUN! :) I'm working on some new items even now--just playing around to see what I like. Thanks!
MonsterBug Blankets

Kate said...

I've always been too afraid to try this out, but your tutorial makes it seem like something I might be able to pull off. Thanks so much for sharing!

Mal said...

that's such a great tutorial! I've always liked your work on craftster. I've never had a chance to try this tute, but have been looking for an excuse :)

Weirdbuglady said...

Great tutorial! Adorable little bird :)

sbonetsue said...

Thanks for the lesson, I need all the help I can get. The bird is so cute!

cricket said...

Great tutorial! I have never done applique. Now I will have to try :)

mushroommeadows said...

Wow!!! I love it; I can't believe that you're self-taught! Thanks for sharing! :)

Yay...a give-away! :D

Lisa K. said...

This is a great Tute! I bought a new Viking sewing machine last summer specifically to be able to start doing applique and I have yet to use it. Now you've inspired me to get going with it. Thank you!

melissakate said...

Alright! This is a great tutorial.
I love the look of applique, but it's usually a bit of a struggle between me and the machine! The Wonder-Under is a great suggestion. Why didn't I ever think of that? lol

GrayEyedScorpio said...

This is something I love to do. It takes a lot of thread though! Your work is pretty!

Nicole Solo said...

thats so cute! thanks for showing the process :)

Rachel said...

My stats tell me that people are still using this tutorial. So awesome! :)