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DIY Crafts: Sew Beautiful Appliques

Updated on May 14, 2013

Use an Open Toe Presser Foot

The sewing machine is ready to go
The sewing machine is ready to go

My Sewing Experience

DIY crafts are very popular today. Today's sewing machines are completely different than they were when I started sewing. I used to be an expert seamstress and made my own clothes, curtains and many other things. The sewing machines were so simple to operate with a basic and simple mechanism. You threaded the machine and the bobbin and adjust the seam length and tension; and you began sewing. Technology has also taken over the sewing world.

I mentioned to my husband several months ago I would enjoy making new curtains and pillows for the boat. For Christmas I got a new sewing machine. I will have to try that again sometime. Maybe I will tell him I would like a Mercedes. I wonder if that would work.

I took a few classes at a local sewing machine shop on how to operate my new computerized sewing machine. I am so glad I did this, as I probably would have figure it all out, but it would have taken a long time. I am convinced that you need to know what to do before you begin reading the instruction manuals. The machine even comes with a needle threader, which is supposed to save time, however it took me many tries to master this simple operation.

I decided to expand my abilities and take a class in doing appliques, as I thought they would be fun to incorporate in my sewing. I guess you all know now that I dabble in many things. I have always been like this. You mention something fun to do or learn, and I am off and running. Unfortunately I did not take photos in class so I am reconstructing how to do these embroidery appliques.

What You will Need

  • A sewing machine with computerized stitches
  • An open toe presser foot (optional but helpful)
  • Background for applique like clothes, curtains or any items.
  • Different applique fabrics-microfiber, felt, denim, fur etc.
  • A pattern for applique-a heart, square, letters or any chosen object.
  • Fusible Web-Steam A Seam is excellent
  • A pair of sharp scissors
  • An iron
  • Stabilizer fabric-paper with a smooth side

These are basic supplies that I used, A trip to the fabric store and inquiring about different fabrics and other supplies will add to the enjoyment of this project.


First Steps of The Applique

Here is a list of the steps will need to accomplish making appliques. These appliques make a lovely addition to your sewing projects. If this is a new experience for you be patient as it takes time to get that perfect applique. Also practicing on the sewing machine will perfect your skills.

  • Press the background fabric and remove all wrinkles.
  • Trace your chosen pattern on non shiny side of fusible web.
  • Press the pattern piece to the chosen applique fabric.
  • Carefully cut out your pattern going around the edges leaving 1/4 inch around the line.
  • Peel one sheet of the two sheet fused paper so the backside is sticky.
  • Trim the chosen pattern to the line you have drawn.
  • Place the pattern on backside of background fabric. It will stick in place!
  • The applique is ready to stitch.
  • Press the stabilizer paper under the fabric you are going to attach the pattern and press to fuse together. Make sure the shiny side is face down away from the applique.

Different stitches

Best stitches to Use for Appliques:

  • Blanket stitch is forgiving and adds a decorative touch. You can use the same color thread as the fabric or add a different color thread.
  • Satin stitch is when the stitches are very close together and create an interesting effect. This takes a lot longer to sew due to the small stitch.
  • A plain straight stitch works fine and is easy and forgiving.
  • A zig zag stitch of any size
  • Any chosen decorative stitch

FABRIC STITCHES, FABRICS AND SUPPLIES

Experiment with different fabrics for your appliques.
Experiment with different fabrics for your appliques.
This was my first attempt at sewing an embroidery  applique
This was my first attempt at sewing an embroidery applique
All of these hearts are different textures and different stitches. Experiment with different shapes and different fabrics.
All of these hearts are different textures and different stitches. Experiment with different shapes and different fabrics.
Stabilizer to hold the applique in place and give stability to the background fabric. Make sure to iron it to your fabric.
Stabilizer to hold the applique in place and give stability to the background fabric. Make sure to iron it to your fabric.
The Heart with the most forgiving stitch..the Blanket stitch. This is my favorite stitch.
The Heart with the most forgiving stitch..the Blanket stitch. This is my favorite stitch.
This is the best fusing for appliques.
This is the best fusing for appliques.
Trace this heart or anything you wish for your pattern
Trace this heart or anything you wish for your pattern

Uses for Appliques

  • A piece of clothing you already have--to dress up.
  • A blanket
  • A bedspread
  • Place mats and napkins
  • Baby clothes
  • Personalized gifts for birthdays and holidays
  • Wall hangings with different shapes and colors

Experiment with Stitches and Fabrics

When adding appliques to your chosen fabric, it is kind of a trial and error process. When you come to points and curves you will be adjusting the presser foot. Most of the stitches require you to line the presser foot with the outside of the applique in order to cover the outside line. With experimentation you will find what works best for you and your project.

It is really fun to try different fabrics. For my first go around I picked out a fabric with a high furry pile, a satin fabric, felt, microfiber and denim. I would suggest you choose a fabric that does not ravel as it will make it easier the first time for your experience with embroidery of appliques. You are sure to feel that this is one of the most fun DIY crafts to experiment with.

Creative Sewing

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    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Where do you find the time? I have heard that hand decorated or custom pillow cases sell well on Etsy, but I am not talented enough to sew anything anymore.

      The lady I borrowed the Choctaw dress photo from didn't even want me to give her a link back as she says she has so much business she can't handle what she has!

      I guess sewing is still a great little market if you are looking for some extra income and this hub has great photos and directions.

      Hope you get your Mercedes :-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is when you know someone is a true follower, when they are willing to read a hub about embroidery. LOL Good information, Carol, although it is Greek to me. :)

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Great info Carol! I love to sew, and when I got my first new computerized sewing machine I too took the class. I absolutely agree that until someone shows you what to do, those instruction books might just as well be in some other language. Come to think of it, they are!

      Anyway, since I love to make quilts I know what it takes to accomplish a nice piece of machine embroidered applique. You have made the instructions very easy and interesting, as always. Voted Up+

      You are certainly a 'Jill of All Trades'!

      Pearl

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      I used to sew long ago and the like. This reminds me of how creative one can be, especially with Appliques! Thanks for taking the time in sharing with us on how to do this easily. Your photos are great.

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Austin Star: I just like sewing for fun...making extra things here and there. Thanks for nice compliments...

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      yes Billybuc you are a great follower and supportive friend. I guess this would not be your thing.

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      thank you oh Faith Reaper. I appreciate your visit and sharing and votes.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Carol,

      Thanks for all of these great photos. I am a visual learner pretty much so it does help to "draw" me a picture. My sister is moving to Florida with one of those fancy machines so I know I will be giving this a try.

      Thanks for sharing. Voted up and shared ++++

      Angels are on the way :) ps

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I think I just caught sight of an angel...oops that was you. Thank you so much for all the support and lovely comments. Thanks for votes and share.

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

      Great ideas you have Carol, I have a sewing machine, but mine unfortunately is too simple to perform something like this, I am guessing I can probably do it by hand, it wouldn't look as nice though...

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Actually all you need to do is use a simple zig zag stitch. Withe the backing and stabilizer it stays in place. Thanks for dropping by.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great hub! Great ideas! I was just looking at sewing machines the oother day! Oh well, a girl can dream! Up+ my friend and pinning!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona

      I've tried embroidery without the benefit of a computerized machine--it wasn't very successful. I would love to have one of the fancy new models. Mine was an old, basic Kenmore, but I still loved it. Maybe some day I'll get another sewing machine--they are so handy to have.

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      thanks randi: I love my new machine..Gotta find time to sew more..Between writing, painting etc...I love having lots to do. Thanks for support and friendship..

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      If yu get the proper backing it can work. Thanks for dropping in.

    • Gail Meyers profile image

      Gail Meyers 4 years ago from United States

      LOL Billybuc, that is a loyal follower. Carol, I just purchased a new machine last year. I started a quilt, but I have not finished it. So many hobbies, so little time! This is a helpful hub. I'm glad you shared it. Voted up.

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      I also have many hobbies and I know there is only so much time. We still have to do some basics in life. thanks for joining and comments and votes.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Another great lesson from you my friend.

      Well informed and with the correct photos to accompany.

      I vote up and sare .

      Have a great day Carol.

      Lotsof love

      Eddy.

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you Eddy: So appreciated from you. We all keep trying here to write our best and getting a compliment from you means a lot. Thanks for votes and share.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I'm way out of the sewing loop (pardon the pun). I did sew years ago and have my own machine but I just couldn't get into it. However, I do admire the beautiful things you are doing and think its great that you've mastered this new machine.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      thank you Tillsontitan...I appreciate votes and comments and as always your never ending friendship support.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I tried embroidery when I was at school and really enjoyed the lessons, you have accomplished such a brilliant hub on the topic thanks for enlightening me more on embroidery

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you so much DDE: Writing instructions is always a daunting task. When I read instructions online for different things very often I cannot follow them. So I am glad you found it useful. Thanks so much.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I don't know much about sewing but it was interesting learning about applique. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

      voted up, interesting.

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      You are so supportive that even when I write about sewing you come by with comments. Thank you so much..and be well assured I appreciate your friendship..How come Icannot pin your hubs?

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very enjoyable read! I love to do hand embroidery, but machine applique would be so much easier for certain projects. You've gives some great tips here that anyone can follow! Voting and more!

    • carol7777 profile image
      Author

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Thank you Sharkey11: It is a lot of fun and you can create many interesting things. Thanks for stopping by and voting.

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 3 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      When I got my first computerized sewing machine, I got a bit of anxiety thinking about the day and hour I would take it out to use, so I put it off for almost a month. When I did get it out and looked at the instructions, I got major anxiety. So I packed it up, took it back and stuck with my Singer which I've had for 37 years. Great suggestion you have on here for us -- to take some lessons if we buy a computerized sewing machine.

      Great hub. Enjoyed all of it. And kudos to you that you are an expert seamstress. I'm a beginner and I've been one for 37 years, but I just love it. I love collecting all my fabrics for 'one day'....

      Voting up, awesome, useful and sharing.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 3 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Looks like fun to make things like this. I love different crafts.

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