Wednesday, January 26, 2011

a simple applique

Finally, after almost an entire month, I found the time to open my sewing machine that Jeremy gave me for Christmas. I have been so excited about this gift, I just haven't had the time to open it! I've been telling him, basically since we got married, (which happens to be 5 years ago this Friday!) that I would really like a sewing machine. So, you can imagine I was thrilled when I received one. I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my first applique for Ella Claire and her two cousins. And with Valentine's just a few weeks away, I thought it would be great to make something to celebrate the month of love. :)

I have stumbled across tons of applique tutorials online, but I found this one and this one to be the most helpful with exactly what I wanted to do. Yes, that is another link to flythroughourwindow. I told you it's one of my favorites! :) 
To get started you will need:
-thread in matching or coordinating colors
-shirt or onesie
-heat n bond (I'm going to shorten this to HnB just for the sake of me not typing it 1 million times)
-spray on adhesive
-sewing machine

I learned a lot along the way. As I go, I'll share little tips and tid bits that helped me, or that I will know to do next time. First step, is print out or draw your design in a "mirror image" aka backwards. I knew I wanted an "E", an "M" and a heart background. I found the font online that I wanted and just free handed the heart. 

Next, trace your design onto the paper side of the HnB. Remember, you will be looking at a mirror image.

Iron HnB with letter to the wrong side of your fabric. 

Cut out your letter.

Iron "heart" shape HnB to wrong side of fabric.

Cut out your heart. Mine wasn't perfectly even and that bothered me. So, I folded it together and trimmed the sides. 

Remove the HnB paper from the letter, center the letter onto your heart fabric and iron. My "letter" fabric was a lighter shade pink than my "heart" fabric. It was also thinner fabric. Next time, I will go with a thicker fabric, just to make sure you can't see through the "letter" fabric. Does that makes sense?

Here comes the fun part...sewing! Zig zag stitch around your letter. Because this was my first time sewing with my new machine; I traced my letters onto scrap fabric and practiced sewing each letter before I actually sewed my applique. I'm so glad I did this because I had no idea those letters were going to be so difficult to sew. I'm sure the more I do this the easier it will get, but it you are new to sewing or just rusty because you haven't done it in a while, I would recommend sewing a few practice letters first. Also, in one of the tutorials I mentioned above, Darby shares that she changed the width and length of her stitches. I also changed mine to her settings for the letters, width 1.8 and length .5.

***this is where my pictures stop for the tutorial. I did this late one night last week after Ella Claire went to bed. As it got later, I got sleepier and I totally forgot to take pictures at each step. :/ ****

Peel HnB from back of heart, center on shirt and iron.

Attach stabilizer to back of shirt with spray adhesive. Make sure the stabilizer is directly under your design.

Sew around heart. I sewed Ella Claire's onesie first because I still wasn't confident and didn't mind if hers was less than perfect. After I sewed Ella Claire's I didn't like the skinny width of the stitch on the heart as much as I liked it on the letter. So, for the other 2 shirts, I changed my width to 5.0 and kept the length at .5, just when sewing the heart. 

And that's all there is to it! Definitely the most difficult part for me was sewing around the little bubbles on my fancy letters. If you are a beginner sewer like me, you can always use straight letters without a lot of curve. Those would be much easier!

Here are the appliques for Emma and Madelaine. All wrapped up and ready for Ella Claire to hand out! :) 

I really hope someone finds this helpful. It was such a fun project with such cute results. If you happen to try it, let me know. I would love to see your applique. Also, feel free to leave me any tips! :)


  1. PRECIOUS! You've inspired me to give it another go on my machine. Happy anniversary!


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