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sofa pillow covers customized rustic pillow covers How to Appliqué Like a Pro
Updated: 2019-09-17 Views: 160

Appliqué is the process of stitching a small layer of fabric, usually in a unique shape, onto a larger base fabric. It's a great way to personalize your project while also adding unique color, texture, pattern... or all of the above. Would you like a bumblebee flying across your pillow? Does your little boy want a spaceship on his duvet cover? How about adding initials to the front of a pretty tote? If you can imagine it, chances are you can appliqué it! With appliqué, you're free to incorporate any kind of graphic into your project. There are a variety of different ways to execute the technique; read on to find the one that's right for you.

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An appliqué design can be nearly anything, but choosing a simple shape will make the process easier when you're starting out. Clip art translates well as do basic drawings, like those found in children's picture or coloring books. As with all patterns and designssofa pillow covers, be aware of any copyrights - especially if planning to create multiple items to sell versus a one-off for personal use. Larger stencils are another option for tracing. And, searching for appliqué designs on the web yields a wide array of sites that feature designs – many of which are free. Of course, you can always sketch your own appliqué pattern. If you do, remember you'll need to stitch around any shape you choose. Avoid lots of tiny little turns and sharp corners your first time out.?

As with nearly any technique you undertake, there are a variety of specialized tools available to make appliqué easier. Of course, you'll run into other tools and gadgets, but the ones we've listed below are what we feel are essential to the task.

Template plastic is simply a sheet of translucent plastic strong enough to withstand tracing appliqué patterns, but thin enough to be cut with a regular X-Acto blade or a pair of craft scissors. It comes in sheets of various sizes, and you're likely to find it in any craft or sewing store. There are also options with an overprinted grid to help keep your drawings even and well-balanced.?

Tracing patterns is easy because template plastic translucent, and the see-through nature also allows you to more easily isolate a specific motif to fussy cut. While template plastic is probably the best substance for creating appliqué patterns, you could also use heavy card stock or recycled cardboard – it's just harder to work with something you can't see through.

In our opinion, the easiest way to handle appliqué is with a fusible/transfer web. You adhere the fusible web to the back of your appliqué design, then peel away a paper backing to reveal a heat-activated sticky substance. This allows you to temporarily adhere your appliqué design to its background fabric, making the stitching part of appliqué far easier. Fusible web comes in a few different forms, under a variety of different names, and in various weights. We like Pellon's Wonder Under.?

It can be hard to lift up the edge of the paper backing from the fabric, and aggressively picking at it can cause the fabric to fray. Instead, as shown in the photo below, insert a pin into the center of the design and start a small tear. Continue tearing up and around to remove all the paper backing.?

If your finished project will be laundered, we recommend pre-washing the fabric(s) prior to adhering fusible web.

A pressing cloth is a protective layer you use when adhering fusible web to your fabrics, or adhering your appliqués to your background fabric. It safeguards your iron from the sticky adhesives used in these substances. It also protects the fabric and thread of the finished appliqué from the heat of the iron, preventing unwanted shine.?

You can buy specific pressing cloths or make your own from a heavy-weight, light-color cotton.

There are a few options for presser feet to make appliqué easier. Each machine brand will offer slightly different versions, so check with your dealer to find those that accommodate your brand. The examples shown below are the most common Janome presser feet.

One option is an Open Toe Satin Stitch Foot. This foot has a very wide opening in the front, so you have a clear view of your work. The bottom is very slightly recessed so it can easily travel over a dense satin stitch.

Another helpful foot is an Appliqué Foot. This foot is shorter than average, making turning and pivoting easier.

Finally, the Satin Stitch Foot, which is a standard accessory with most Janome machines, is great for appliqué. This foot is clear, so you have a better view of your stitches. The slightly recessed bottom is the same as its Open Toe cousin. And, the bright red arrow at the front of the foot provides an excellent stitching guide as you twist and turn.

The type of needle and thread you choose should be based on your fabric. We have a good overview of Choosing a Machine Needle as well as an explanation of the Various Thread Types. If you're just starting out, you may want to go with a 40 wt embroidery thread. It's more forgiving and will create a smoother and fuller line of stitching. Traditionally this thread type is rayon, which means you will get a slightly shiny finish. A standard bobbin thread is usually best in combination with any upper thread you choose. This finer thread allows the upper thread to pull more completely to the underside.

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Where Japanese interiors are concerned, serenity is paramount. Image Via: Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty

We all lead hectic lives. It’s no surprise that after working all day and schlepping the kids to activities, we want come home to something a little calmer. The easiest way to do that is by simplifying our interiors.

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