Appliqué is a sewing technique that I have enjoyed since I was a little girl, sewing with my Grandma. Appliqué is perfect for using up pretty scraps of fabric that you have left over from previous projects, and a really lovely way of adding shapes and patterns to your patchwork and quilting projects, but in its simplest form you can add shapes to a base layer of fabric, and then use that design as a feature for another piece of craft, such as a card, or frame as handmade artwork!
The technique I have used here is often referred to as ‘raw edge’ appliqué because the cut edges of the fabric are left raw, but secured in place with stitching. Some people prefer to fold the raw edges in, but I like the handmade, rustic look of the finish, so I’ll be doing my project using this method.
For my project, I’ve used a hand-drawn flower template. You can either draw yourself a shape to use as a template, or choose one of the freely available templates to be found online.
You Will Need…
- Cotton fabric scraps in coordinating colours for your appliqué shapes. Felt is also great for appliqué if you want to try that!
- A base fabric to appliqué on to.
- A template, pattern, or line drawing to use as your design pattern.
- Embroidery needle and thread or sewing machine with complimentary thread colours to your fabrics.
How To Make…
- Choose the shape that you want your design to be. Either print out your template or draw your shape.
- Cut around your chosen template.
- Pin your template to your fabric and cut around the shape.
- Work out the placement of your fabric(s) and pin in place if needed.
- Start stitching your design. I’ve used two different types of stitch for my project.
- Once you’ve finished stitching, add any embellishments to your design, and your appliqué is done!
The top layer (middle of the flower) is blanket stitched; this is a really popular appliqué stitch that protects the raw edges of the fabric and gives a lovely neat finish.
For the other layers, I have used a simple back stitch. You could also use a straight stitch or a satin stitch on your sewing machine for this project.
For the best results, stitch slowly and carefully – it’ll be worth it!
For multi-piece appliqués, you would start stitching on the bottom layer of the appliquéd fabric. The top overlapped pieces are stitched last. Use different coloured sewing cotton or embroidery thread to match or compliment your chosen fabric if you wish. If you are stitching by hand, use two strands of embroidery thread.
Remember to secure your stitching well at the beginning and end (if using a sewing machine, do this by back-stitching).
I decided to make my appliqué the front of a card. To do this, I’ve simply cut out a square the size of my design from a blank card, and stuck in place.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this simple project idea. Once you’ve mastered the art and are more confident, there are many online projects and tutorials using appliqué, and I’m sure you’ll love the end results – they’re so pretty!!
Practise makes perfect with this technique, so best advice I’d give you, is practise, practise, practise, have fun & enjoy!!
If you enjoyed this then I am writing a series of quick 5 minute craft ideas. If there is something you want to try then please leave it in the comments below.