How to Applique

About 6 years ago, our mom thought it would be a good investment to purchase Brooke and I both a brand new sewing machine. We were clueless where to begin, so she hired Amy Rutledge to teach us the basics. We didn't even know how to thread the needle, much less put a bag together. But by the end of our 2 lessons, we could work a sewing machine, applique and make ourselves a diaper bag. Thank you Amy and mom! I think it has been a great investment for us both!

One of our very first things to learn was how to applique. An applique is a decorative design made of one material sewn over another. This applique is the fabric letter M ironed on to a child's t-shirt and then stitched around.

Supplies used: iron, piece of fabric, cut out letter, t-shirt, water soluble marking pen, Wonder Under (iron-on adhesive), and freezer paper

A small square piece of fabric was cut out, along with a square piece of Wonder Under (iron-on adhesive) and a cardboard cut-out M to trace around.

Step one:

The square piece of Wonder Under is ironed onto the piece of fabric. The top side (good side) of fabric is placed on top of the adhesive part of the Wonder Under. One side of the Wonder Under is smooth and the other is rough. The rough side is the adhesive side. Make sure the adhesive is ironed on to the back of the good side of the fabric. Step two:

With the good side of fabric facing down and smooth side of Wonder Under facing up, the letter M is traced with a water soluble pen or pencil. The letter has to be a mirror image of the finished product. If the letter B would have been used, I would have needed to trace it backwards.

Step three:

Cut out the fabric letter and peel away the Wonder Under. The adhesive is left on the letter.

Step four:

The fabric letter is ironed onto the t-shirt.

Step five:
Use a zig-zag stitch to sew around the letter M. Place a small piece of freezer paper under the letter M inside the shirt to help glide the t-shirt through the stitching. Your finished product - an easy way to personalize a child's t-shirt.
Hope you try it!


the monkey's mama said...

I can do steps 1-4 but then my applique looks HIDEOUS when i start sewing. Maybe i need to add some freezer paper! thanks for the tips! i'm bookmarking this for future reference!

Sara said...

I never use wonder under. Is it necessary?

brooke said...

the monkey's mama.....It definitely helps to use the freezer paper. Sometimes the fabric will bunch up without it. Hope that helps!!


Erin said...

Such a cute blog! I got here via savvy stitcher...I'll have to check in from time to time for some more tips...I love this idea!

Kiera said...

So does the freezer paper kind of sew on and then you just tear it off? A little confused about how that works, but I've been wanting to do this project so I was excited to see this post! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Erin... thank you so much for the sweet compliment!

kiera...yes, your're right. The freezer paper is sewn on with the fabric and then you just tear it off. I actually comes off very easily! Best of luck to you!


Sara said...


When I applique, I use my spray adhesive that I use for my embroidery machine. It's basically just a temporary adhesive so the fabric doesn't move while you stitch it. I was just wondering if wonder under was better for lasting effect? I will do some testing :)

Thanks for the compliments on my marble magnets! I will have to work up a tutorial this weekend. They are super easy and very satisfying!


Katy said...

Great and easy to understand tutorial! Thanks for sharing. I posted a link to this on my twitter too...hope you don't mind :0) Blessings, Katy

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