How to...appliqué

After this post, I had a handful of emails from readers asking me about appliqué, so I figured a quick tutorial was in order. I'm not an appliqué expert by any stretch of the imagination, so this is just me showing you how I did it. I also apologise in advance for the quality of my pictures. I took photos as I went along and the lighting wasn't great...I blame these darned winter days!

Anyway, other than a sewing machine and thread, you'll also need:
  • Item to appliqué (I used my Raspberry Hot Cocoa Sweater)
  • Fabric for appliqué
  • Double-sided fusible web (I used Vilene Bondaweb)
  • An iron
  • Damp cloth

Start by cutting out your fabric shapes - you can also use your fusible web to trace shapes out instead if you need to (good tutorial for that here).

Pin your fabric shapes to your item, to make sure you're happy with the placement, proportions and so on. Because my arrangement is made up of overlapping layers, I deemed it safer to lightly sketch around the outline with some chalk.
With the shiny / grainy side of your fusible web facing up, cut it out a touch smaller than your fabric shapes. I found it easier to do this by holding my fabric shapes against the fusible web, instead of pinning them down.

With your fabric shapes wrong side up and the fusible web shiny / grainy side down, fuse the two together by ironing them. Set your iron to a lighter heat (I had mine on the wool setting) and press it down on the shapes for about 10 seconds. You can't go wrong as long as you just make sure that you're applying the heat to the smooth / papery side of the fusible web.

Once the fabric and fusible web are firmly fused together, peel off the papery back.

Grab a damp cloth, place it on top of your fabric shape and iron it onto your item of choice by pressing it down for about 10 seconds again. I found my chalk outline really helpful at this point!

Once everything is nicely fused, zig-zag stitch around the outline of your appliqué design to ensure everything stays firmly together...forever!?! 

At this point, even though your fabric pieces are fused to your item, I would recommend pinning them down whilst stitching. I didn't do it myself and I do regret it, because some of my pieces ended up moving around a little.

Erm...and that's it! Now you can show off your awesome appliqué and make everyone green with envy ;o)
That was easy peasy right?!? If I've missed any crucial steps out or people have some top tips to share, please do leave a comment below...


  1. Great tutorial, excellent explanation! Am thinking an applique and lace combo...

  2. Nice tutorial! I am trying to applique a singlet to match some nappy covers I made Imogen but I am not that good at it.

    1. I bet you are good at it Kat, you're so creative and talented!

  3. Thanks for the very thoroughly written tutorial! I've never tried appliqué but you convinced me I should!. The only thing I'd make differently would be stitching the appliqué by hand.

    1. Thank you and I think stitching it by hand would definitely give it a neater look! You have way more control than you do on the machine!

  4. Love it! Thanks for the tutorial, I've always wondered how to do this...

  5. Looks great! I like to zigzag with a small stitch length to make a satin stitch around the edge. It's nice for containing the fray that happens, unless you're going for that look, which can be cute too...

  6. Lovely, thanks for the tutorial!

  7. Nice one! I'll have to look out for fusible web at my local fabric store...

  8. That is very sweet! Must try this one day.