archive techniques

Simple Machine Applique

We have decided to go back to basics and show you the simple machine appliqué technique we use, which forms the basis of much of our surface decoration. Once you have mastered this technique you can use it on all sorts of things, from t-shirts to curtains, the sky's the limit!
We use double sided iron on fusible webbing known as bondaweb or wonder under, which is a fabric adhesive on peel off paper backing. It is widely available from your local haby store and can be purchased by the metre. We use this method as working commercially, we need the appliqué to be accurate, neat and quick to achieve so purists, please look away now!

First of all draw your design on a piece of paper, we have chosen an apple. (a)
Our apple has an obvious direction so we need to draw it in reverse. We do this by holding our design up to a window and with the blank side of the paper facing us draw through. (b) If, like we do, your design has separate components it is a good idea to draw them separately. (c) Next lay the bondaweb, smooth side up, over your design and with a pencil trace through the outlines. (d)

Cut roughly around your shapes leaving a margin of about ¼in (5mm) outside the pencil line. With a medium hot iron (no steam), under a pressing cloth, fuse the bondaweb, paper side up, onto the W/S of your fabrics. (e) Cut out the motifs (f) and peel off the backing paper. Place the motifs into position on your chosen cloth (g), glue side down. Fuse using a pressing cloth. (h)

Set the sewing machine to zigzag for appliqué stitching - 2mm width/ 0.5mm -1mm length zigzag and using a complimentary thread, very carefully zigzag around the outside edge of the motif to secure. (i)

You need to ensure that you are stitching over the raw edge and encasing it so that it will not rise off when washed. You may not be too accurate to start with so we would advise going very slowly and with the needle in the down position, lifting the machine foot at each curve or corner, turning and continuing. It really is a case of practise makes perfect, so have a go on some scraps before starting a project.