Appliqués are simple fabric cutouts that are applied to a base fabric. They can be a quick and easy way to embellish and personalize clothing or any other fabric item. Fusible web is very popular for appliqué. It melts to adhere the fabrics together and is available in various weights. The lightweight fusible web is preferable when doing appliqué, so the fabric still moves and the sewing needle easily can penetrate it.
Finishes applied to some fabric in the manufacturing process can prevent the fusible web from adhering to it. To be sure that the fusible web will adhere, wash your fabric before starting the fusing process. Also, press the fabric, so it's flat and smooth.
Equipment / Tools
- Ironing board
- Book of designs (optional)
- Lightweight fusible web
- Piece of fabric (slightly larger than chosen design)
- Parchment paper
- Clothing or other base fabric
- Coordinating thread
- Fabric paint (optional)
Trace the Design You Want to Appliqué
You can appliqué virtually any design you want, as long as you're able to cut it out of fabric. But avoid designs with intricate edges, as cutting them can make the fabric lose its integrity and come apart.
Many people start with a simple image, such as those found in early-education coloring books or clip art. This example uses a tulip from a coloring book. You also can freehand a custom design.
Once you've selected your design, trace the edges onto the paper side of the fusible web.
Fuse the Web to Your Fabric Piece
Cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than the desired appliqué. Then, fuse the melting side of the fusible web to the wrong side of the fabric piece. Placing parchment paper under and over the appliqué will prevent the fusible web from sticking to your ironing tools.
Trim and Peel the Fused Appliqué Fabric
With the fusible web adhered to the appliqué fabric, cut along the lines you traced to trim the design. Then, peel the paper off the fabric.
If you are preparing several appliqués at once, peel the paper off as you are ready to use them. Otherwise, the fabric tends to curl, and the curling can make placement difficult.
Transfer the Appliqué and Finish the Edges
Lay out the appliqué design on the base fabric, and gently press it into place. Hold the iron steady for a few seconds at a time instead of moving it back and forth, which can slide the design out of place. Then, turn the fabric over, and press from the wrong side using a pressing cloth if necessary to protect your fabric from direct contact with the iron.
Once the process to adhere the fabrics is complete, the raw edges of the appliqué should be protected to prevent frayed edges, especially if the item is going to be laundered. Fabric paint or stitching are common methods to finish the edges of the appliqué.
Also, you can add drawing details if you want. Use stitching to "draw" any lines and other details in the fabric. Have fun experimenting with different color thread, stitch widths, and more.