Thursday, October 18, 2012

A tutorial not only for the birds...

Sew around the shape

Take your time
The CreativFestival was so much fun, and I enjoyed meeting the many people who stopped by our booth.
There was a lot of interest in how I did the bird applique, so I decided to do a little show and tell tutorial for a cheater way to do needle turn applique. This is a fun way to do applique. The finished result has finished edges and is slightly padded, adding texture to your project.

You will need a scrap of linen, scrap of muslin, thread, a sewing machine, a chopstick, and fine tipped sewing scissors.
Clip notches all around the shape
Cut a cross slit into the muslin
Press the shape
Smooth the seams

Step one: place linen and muslin together, right sides facing each other. Trace your shape onto the fabric. Remember that whatever you trace will be reversed. Shapes can come from anywhere, but chunky ones work best. You and trace around a cardboard template as I did with the bird, or even cookie cutters. (That would be a fun way to do gingerbread people.) Pin the fabric together, within the traced shape.
Step two: sew around the shape using a very fine straight stitch length. Go slowly, and use the hand wheel now and then to go smoothly around the curves. Take your time. If you have a clear embroidery foot for your machine, this step is a lot easier.
Step three: Cut out the shape, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way around.
Step four: Clip notches all the way around the shape, taking care not to clip into the stitching.

Step five: cut a cross into the muslin.
Step six: turn the shape through the opening in the muslin. Smooth the seams and ease out the curves using a chop stick or something similar. Roll the seams between your thumb and forefinger. Gently wiggle the seams back and forth to make sure all the clips and curves are smooth and rounded.
Step seven: Press the shape with steam on.
Now, your shape is ready to applique to your project.
Applique by hand:
Place the main fabric in an embroidery hoop and ensure it is drum tight. Pin the applique onto the fabric.
To do the applique, use an applique needle, which is slightly shorter than an regular sewing needle. If you can find it, use a fine silk thread, which tends to resist knotting. It is really nice to work with for many hand sewing projects. It is about $2-$3 more than a spool of polyester blend thread.
Pin your shape to the fabric. Pick up just a bit of the shape's edge and sink the needle into the main fabric, trying not to pull too tightly. Continue stitching, just catching the edges, all the way around the shape.
This technique is so much fun, and it can be used to personalize all kinds of projects. You can also add embroidery, buttons and beads to embellish your work.



  1. I have some applique projects in mind - I should try this technique - maybe on ... a zipper bag! ;)

  2. Oooooh, I need to try this, so useful, thank you my dear!


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