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March is National Craft Month, and it is also National Quilting Month! One thing that crafters and quilters usually have in common, though, is a love for applique. So, this month we thought we would share some fun ways we have used applique recently, in hopes of inspiring your own creativity – no matter what type of sewing you like to do!
One very popular use for applique is to create monograms. Both examples shown below were sewn onto the base fabric with a satin stitch (zigzag stitch with shortened stitch length). When the appliques were finished, the fabric with the “b” design was stretched around a fabric canvas, to hang on the wall. The “H” design became the center of a pillow for a girl’s room.
Here are some images from a simple quilt for a baby’s room, which features basic applique. Many of the pieces are large, making it easy to stitch around them with a satin stitch.
It’s also fun to applique as an alternative to machine embroidery. This baby onsie features a simple cupcake design. The bottom of the design was first embellished with a straight stitch, creating the “ridges” of the cupcake bottom. The top and bottom were applied to the onsie with a zigzag stitch, then the whole thing was topped off with a little purchased flower bud.
You can embellish appliques by adding surface texture instead of the traditional satin stitching. In the pillow shown below, we used a Cording Foot. A single cord was placed in the foot’s center groove, then set the machine for a narrow zigzag stitch to add the cord as a ‘border’ around the appliqued shapes on this pillow.
When it’s time to think about sewing for the holidays again, here are some ideas from projects we’ve done that might inspire you!
First is a placemat and napkin set. The “trees” were first embellished, then trimmed to size and appliqued onto the base fabric. Two of the trees feature a scallop stitch sewn with rayon thread, two of the trees feature a serpentine stitch sewn with a twin needle, and one tree has small fabric circles applied to the tree fabric with free-motion stitching. The coordinating napkin has a decorative stitch that has a triangular shape, complementing the shape of the trees appliqued to the placemat.
We also made a couple of Christmas stockings. One features a simple diamond shape (super easy!), but then a straight stitch added for embellishment – the result is an ‘argyle’ effect! Our other stocking features a little Scottie dog applique, sewn on with a simple zigzag stitch.
Of course, we had to make some pillows as well! These appliques were made from felt, cut into the shapes of holly leaves, berries and stems. Because they were made from felt, there was no need to finish the outside edges of the shapes to prevent fraying. Free-motion stitching was used to applique these to the main pillow fabric.
Another pillow was made featuring “ornament” designs. The “ornaments” were done in a similar manner as that used for the “trees” placemat. One (below left) was embellished with decorative stitching. The other (below right) was first textured with stipple quilting. The shapes were then cut out and then appliqued onto the base fabric before assembling the pillow.
We hope you’ve been inspired to look at applique in a new way!