Saturday, 24 April 2010

@ cushion - the appliqué process part I

The big project at work is going well but is taking up a lot of my time, so today is the first time in over a week that I've had a chance to do any sewing at all.  I've started the appliqué for the first of my character cushions, the @ cushion.  To recap, here's the design for it:

I'm not a big fan of Bondaweb or similar interfacings, which are often used in appliqué to stick the applied fabric to its background.  To me, this makes the fabric stiff and lifeless, and takes a lot of the softness and feel out of it.  It may prevent fraying and so make cutting out fiddly shapes easier, but as far as I'm concerned, it's not worth it.

As fiddly shapes seem to be inevitable in my work (I don't know why,they just do), I need some other method of cutting them out and controlling fraying.  I do this using a felt shape as a basis.

For this cushion, I printed the design out full size, and using 505 spray glue for fabrics, stuck it to some craft felt.  I've always had good results with 505; I've been using it for years and have never found anything I've used it with to have been marked or discoloured, but any traditionalists among you may prefer to pin your design onto the felt instead of taking the risk.  I find pinning more difficult the more complex the design and the greater the chance that the final cut out shape isn't accurate, but this is just a personal preference.

Once stuck, I then cut it out carefully:

Do not use sewing scissors for this!  Cutting paper blunts scissors, so always use craft or general purpose scissors.

Once the shape has been cut out and the paper carefully peeled off, I have my felt shape to use as basis for the appliqué:

Using 505 spray glue again, I stuck this to the back of some black satin.  Remember to attach the right side of the felt to the wrong side of the appliqué fabric:

I then trimmed the satin round the felt (rather badly, I'm afraid, but never mind), leaving a margin all round:

Taking a length of a few centimetres (two or three inches) at a time, I snipped the satin from its edge almost but not quite to the edge of the felt.  This allows me to turn the margin over the felt without it becoming too bulky.

I turned each of these sections of the satin over the felt in turn, and tacked them in place with ordinary sewing cotton.

Remember to start and finish the taking stitches on the front of the appliqué piece, as they won't be removed until the appliqué has been attached and the back will no longer be accessible.

So, here's the shape from the back, with all the snipped sections turned over and tacked down:

And the same shape from the front, and the right way round:

That's the trickiest bit done.  Next, I'll stitch it to the background, which is far easier!


  1. Thanks for the explanation :-)

  2. Ruth,
    I really like the tip about the 505. I usually use lightweight fusible interfacing, the 505 is a great idea. I even have some in my sewing room. I plan on a starting small appliqued table runner soon, I'll definitely try it.

  3. Interesting! I will have to try with the felt me thinks!! Thanks Ruth

  4. Cynthina: A table runner sounds as though it may need to be washed - that's not a problem for the 505 as that's just to keep things in place as you work, but I'm a bit concerned about the felt. For something like that, maybe you could try using Vilene or a similar non-iron on interfacing that will wash instead?