Friday, 2 March 2012

Tutorial ~ Even Simpler Machine Applique

It typical fashion, I've done things backwards.  ^_^
The other day, I put together a tutorial on machine applique, and while I was working on it, I thought to myself "You should have done a simple motif applique tutorial first"  But since I'd already taken the pictures and started working on that tutorial, I figured I might as well finish and post it first, which leads us to this tutorial, even though, logically they should have been the other way around.  And I'm also thinking that in the interests of completeness, I should also do a tutorial on making applique patterns...which will end up being third, but should have been second...I always do seem to go about things in a somewhat circuitous route!

Anyway, without further ado, lets get on with it!

Last time I showed you how to do applique using a stencil or pattern to create your applique shape.  This time, we won't bother with that, we will simply find a nice motif and applique that.  Even simpler!

You will need fabric with a fairly big motif on it.  I love these cute dinosaurs, so I'm going to make a T-shirt for the Young Lad.

You will also need: vliesofix, sharp scissors (not your best fabric ones though, remember), an iron and ironing board, and a T-shirt (or something else to applique onto).

First, decide which motif you would like to applique, and cut out a piece of vliesofix big enough to completely cover the motif with a bit extra for trimming away.  Place this piece of vliesofix on the wrong side your fabric with the rough side down.  Make sure your whole motif is completely covered.  Press to fuse the vliesofix in place.

Before you cut, think about where the stitching will go, and whether you want any background fabric to show round the motif.  I don't want the background to show, but I also don't want my stitching to cover up the dinosaur, so I cut it out just a few milometers from the edge of the motif, about the width of my zig-zag.  I have followed the contours of the motif quite precisely, but if you are new to sewing, you may prefer to make your outline a bit smoother.  You could even just cut out a circle or square of your fabric if you wish (if you're going to do this, you'll need your vliesofix to be that shape, of course).  I didn't bother to cut out between the legs, as there is hardly room for two rows of stitching there.  Also, I'm not worried about little bits of other dinosaurs being on the edges, as the stitching will hide them.

Next, peel the backing paper off.

(Different dinosaur, sorry ^_^)

Now place your motif on your T-shirt.

Hmmm, he looks a bit sad and lonely there all by himself, and really the motif is a bit small...lets add some friends!

Ahh, that looks better!  Now, just use your iron to fuse the motif in place, remembering to clean your iron before you do, just in case any adhesive got on it (you did read that other applique tutorial, right?  So you already know about cleaning your iron.  No??  Well, you can have a quick read now ^_^)  

Once again, set your machine to zig-zag, with your stitch length really short, and your stitch width small-medium (you might want to do a little test on a scrap of fabric).

Here's a tip for the benefit of any absolute beginner sewers out there.  When you are sewing round your shape, the only thing you need to worry about is curves and corners.  The thing you want to remember is that you want your stitching to cover up your fabric, not leave gaps, so just make sure that when you go round the corners and curves, you've got your needle on the correct side of your zig-zag.  I've made a couple of diagrams to show what I mean.  The black dot shows the needle position, and the yellow arrow shows where the stitch will go when you turn the fabric.

Outer curves

Inner curves

Inner corners

Outer corners

Now that we know what we are doing, simply stitch around your motif!

Viola!  Wasn't that easy?

In case you're wondering the fabric is designed by Robert Kaufman Fabrics, and although I have seen it in lots of places, I bought my piece here.


  1. Once again, great instructions, make it looks so easy, I'm not so sure about the which way the needle goes bit, I'll have to have a go :-)

  2. Oh, well, guess I'm not as good at doing diagrams as I am at sewing lol! ^_^

  3. Thanks For great instructions. I have been using Steam a seam. I hand buttonhole stitch but keen to try on machine. New to this so great to be able to look at what others do.

    1. Hi Maxine, I'm glad you anjoyed the tutorial. I'm hoping to add a tutorial on hand applique sometime too. ^_^

    2. That would be great.Going to try a pukeko on the machine this week.Found some cool shapes at "Just Incredible"


Thank-you so much for taking the time to comment, I love reading them all!