Monday, February 28, 2011

Aplique: A {Rainy Day} Tutorial

It's looking a little drab outside my window today...

Although in my craft room, things are looking a bit "springier"...

While my mom was visiting, she picked up these fabrics to make some spring outfits for my niece. She plans to make a couple pairs of capris, and I whipped up some appliquéd t-shirts for the tops.

A few weeks ago a friend asked me to post a tutorial about how I do appliqués, so I decided a rainy day was a perfect excuse to create a little step by step how to guide on my process. {I certainly did not invent this technique, so I am sure that there are lots and lots of tutorials, demos, instructions, etc. out there on the web for you all to choose from. This is just how I started doing it and what works for me!}

First, we're going to make the appliqué. 
Start with your fabric. Iron any wrinkles out, you'll want a smooth surface.

Next you'll need some iron-on adhesive. This can be purchased at your fabric store, by the yard. One side will be textured and feel kind of plasticy, the otherside will have paper similar to waxed paper. There are a number of brands to choose from and any will work. Just make sure that it has adhesive on both sides (not just one side), and that it's sewable.

This is the brand that I buy. I like it because it's inexpensive ($1.99/yard) and it's fairly lightweight. A lighter weight adhesive will make the garment feel more wearable when you're done.
Now you need to decide on a shape or image. In this example, we're making a butterfly. You can certainly freehand your shape if you are a confident artist, but I am definitely not. So I like to use a stencil. {Check back tomorrow to see how I make quick and easy stencils!}

Take your stencil and place it over the adhesive paper. Cut out a piece of the paper big enough to fit your stencil.

Next, cut a piece of your fabric to the same size as the piece of adhesive paper you just cut. (Sorry...forgot a picture of these next steps. Bad blogger.)

Lay the cut piece of adhesive paper onto your ironing board, paper side down, plasticy side up. Place your cut piece of fabric, right side up on top of the adhesive paper. 

Iron together, on the highest heat setting your iron allows without steam. {Make sure to follow fabric care instructions for the fabric you're using!} Use pressure on your iron around the edges, to ensure that the adhesive sticks securely to your fabric. 

We now have our piece of fabric, with the paper "glued" to the back.

Next turn your fabric over, so it's right side down, paper side up. Place your stencil on the top, and trace around it with a pencil. Cut it out. {If you are using a directional print, make sure you keep in mind which direction you are placing the stencil for tracing. You can see that I have dive bombing butterflies below!}
You'll want to peel the paper off the back at this point. Hooray, our applique is complete and ready for the garment.

Next, grab your garment you want to put your appliqué on. In this case, we're using a $4.99 Target tee. Did I mention I love Target? I do.

You'll want to iron or press your t-shirt so that it is wrinkle free and ready for the appliqué. 
Next, place the appliqué on the t-shirt, wherever your heart desires. Today we're being original and putting it in the middle of the shirt.

Press into place, again using the highest heat setting your iron will allow without steam. Be sure to use extra pressure at the edges. You want the adhesive to be nice and "glued", as it will help stop fraying of the fabric.

Finally, we're going to sew the applique on. The iron-on adhesive is partially just a temporary hold to secure the applique on while you're sewing. If you skipped the sewing part, it would start to peel up after a bit of wearing. And on a squirmy five year old, we want to secure that puppy down!

So bring your t-shirt over to your sewing machine. 

Next, position the butterfly so that it's underneath your presser foot. On a small t-shirt like this, it will take some wrestling to get it adjusted. Make sure you only have ONE layer of t-shirt under the presser foot. Otherwise, you'll sew your shirt shut. (Not that I know from experience or anything...hahaha.)

Line the edge of the butterfly up with the middle line of your presser foot. The appliqué should be under the right side of the pressure foot, and only t-shirt should be under the left side. Does that make sense?
Using a zig-zag stictch, sew around the entire edge of your butterfly. On my machine, I set my stitch length and width both at "3".

Sew carefully so that the middle of your presser foot stays right on the edge of the appliqué. You will need to adjust the t-shirt frequently during this process.

When you find you need to adjust, make sure your needle is DOWN into the fabric, lift the presser foot, and adjust or pivot the fabric accordingly. Replace presser foot, and continue sewing. Repeat as necessary. I use my "hand sewing knob" frequently in this process. (I don't know the technical term, but its the dial on my machine that allows me to move my needle up and down myself, without using the foot pedal.)

Sorry, it's hard to take a picture of this process but the key is to always make sure that the middle of the presser foot is lined up with the edge of the appliqué...this will keep your stitching neat.

You can see how the zig zag is neatly along the edge of the butterfly, holding the edges of the appliqué down. 
Also, make sure to back stitch at the beginning and end. (I try to position the start and ending point at the least conspicuous place...if possible.)

Take your shirt back over to your ironing board. Press around the entire thing again, this time with steam. This just helps to secure your stitches and shrink your fabric back in place after any stretching that may have happened during sewing.
Congrats! Your appliquéd tee is finished!
But since this is a butterfly...I'll show you how I finished her off with a couple of cute antennae.

I freehanded my antennae using a erasable fabric marker.
Then, I hand stitched along the drawn line with an embroidery needle and embroidery floss. (Again, no picture. Bad blogger.)

Finally, I used a small piece of interfacing and ironed it onto the back, just under the embroidery. This will secure the stitches in place.
Turn your t-shirt right side out, and you're done! For real this time!

These t's will be a great compliment to the homemade capris' my mom plans to make!
But the fabric and shapes are endless and your imagination is the limit!
Happy Appliqué-ing! 


Kristina said...

Could you seriously get any more talented?

Ginny said...

Great Job!! I may be able to do this myself now! Love the window picture-very nice!!

D and G Stories said...

You're all so sweet! I accidentally posted this early and had to go back and edit, so I hope you saw the final original post. :)

Kaleena said...

yeah this is awesome i knew you would list it out in a very straightforward way. I instantly copied and pasted it into my projects folder. Thank you so much !