My friend, Becky (PSUSNA), asked me to put together a quick tutorial on how to applique.  It’s really pretty easy.  It’s pretty dreary here so for now this will be sans photos.  Hopefully tomorrow it’ll be sunnier and I can snap some shots to help flesh this out a bit.

1.  Find an image (I use Google Image Search for clipart with strong a outline) and size it to fit the garment and then print it out.

2.  Trace the image on paper liner (I like to use Steam-A-Seam 2 and these directions apply to using it) and remove the second liner, if using a letter or something where direction matters, trace in reverse. (Check to see which liner removes first by peeling apart at the corner. Trace on the liner still attached to the web.) Skip tracing if you are not using a pattern.

3.  Stick Steam-A-Seam 2 to the wrong side of fabric.

4.  Cut Steam-A-Seam 2 and fabric together along traced lines.

5.  Peel off remaining paper liner (leaving the sticky webbing on the fabric) and stick appliqué to the garment.  You can move it around at this point to make sure it’s where you want it. 

6.  Press for 10-15 seconds for with your iron set on the highest setting.  Don’t move your iron too much, it’ll move your applique and possibly wrinkle it.  Repeat, slightly overlapping pressed areas until complete.

7.  When applique and fabric are completely cooled, turn the garment wrong side out and iron on tear away stabilizer to the reverse side of your applique (the shiny side toward the fabric, the soft side out).  It doesn’t necessarily have to be the exact size, I usually cut mine a little big and just iron it on.

8.  Choose your thread (I usually use something contrasting) and set your sewing machine on a zig-zag stitch.  Sometimes I use a really narrow zig-zag to make it look like a satin stitch.  Other times I use a wide zig-zag so the very edges of the applique fabric will fray just a tiny bit.  It all depends on your preference for the appearance of the garment.  If you use the narrow stitch just remember to go slow and don’t pull your fabric or it’ll stretch your stitches out and they won’t have a nice satin look.

I used a narrow zig-zag on this dress to outline the dog:

I used a wide zig-zag on this t-shirt to outline the square:

9.  Once you have all of it stitched, tear away the stabilizer on the back.  You may be tempted to skip the stabilizer step but I don’t recommend it.  The garment can and will pucker and it just won’t look as good.  Use the stabilizer, you’ll be glad you did.

This was my first applique experiment and, sadly, I didn’t use stabilizer (even though it was included in the kit…duh).  The corduroy puckered and it just didn’t look all that professional.

Hope these instructions help!