Sew, What's New?

Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Embellishing Garments with Applique

I tried darning this skirt when I caught it on a nail and ripped the back open a couple of years ago.  It looked awful.  So I decided to pick out one of my apron applique designs to hide it all.  It was a long thin repair, so I chose a long thin design.

My bunny did get a few comments!  Anyway, when one of my friends splashed bleach on her new black skirt I said I could add something to hide it.  I chose a few little hearts and used some scraps of black and white floral fabric.

She liked it so much she asked if I could add some decorations to a couple of plain white skirts she had to brighten them up!  My choice of design and colours.  How could I say no?

For the first one I added a kaleidoscope of butterflies and a selection of co-ordinating fabric scraps.  I used Bondaweb (Wonderunder) and drew my designs on the backing then cut them out and fused them to my fabrics.  I machine over the raw edges with a narrow zig-zag stitch using my satin stitch foot as it is clear plastic so I can see where I am going.  

I finished the butterflies off by hand-embroidering their antennae with stranded cotton. I think it looks pretty.

For the second skirt I added some poppies, cutting them from scraps of red cotton and canvas and applied the poppies the same way as I applied the butterflies, with black centres.

This time I embellished them with free-motion machine embroidery, sketchied out the petals and stamens with black in the needle and grey in the bobbin.  I love doing that. Drop the feed dogs, fit the darning/embroidery foot, fit black thread in the top, grey in the bottom; pull the bobbin thread to the top so you don't catch it and go full speed, moving the fabric around by holding it taut between your hands.  

I learnt from a local course and Poppy Treffy's Book "Free and Easy Stitch Style".  I also have the follow-up "Freehand Machine Embroidery".  Here are the finished poppies, I love them, I hope she does.

The finished skirt.  I dropped them off today and she was very happy. So now she has another black skirt she would like decorated with white flowers this time, in the same style as the poppies.  I'm thinking of doing Lilies.

This time I used Sticky Fabri-Solvy to transfer the design onto some white cotton drill then did my free style machine embroidery, and cut them out afterwards to use like those bought machine embroidered patches.

I cut them out with a small border and applied Bondaweb to the back, then cut them close to my stitching.  I peeled off the paper backing and positioned them on the skirt.  I spent quite a long time trying them in different positions, before I decided on a spray down one side.  

They look great, but I felt they were still not quite how I wanted them, so I decided to add a few leaves.  I just sketched them on the Bondaweb and cut them out from some green cotton (a bit flimsy compared to the cotton drill).  More time spent arranging them to my liking.

I fused them in place with a damp press cloth, and this is when I realised I hadn't dunked them in water to remove the Solvy! I panicked when I saw bits of it stuck to the press cloth!  My only excuse was that it was the first time I had used this product, and it was white on white. Happily it did all come off - without loosening the Bondaweb - when I dunked it in the sink!

So then I had to get it dry so I could free motion stitch everything in place and add some details to the leaves.  I used a hot iron to speed the process up.  I do love free-motion, it is just like colouring in!  Now I was happy with the effect, those few touches of green made all the difference.

The finished skirt.  I emailed a photo of the skirt to my sister, and she said it looked rather oriental.  I certainly think it is the best one so far!  I really ought to do one for myself some time.

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