Applique Blog Cover

Appliqué 101

Hi everyone! It’s Ruth here on the blog today to talk to you about appliqué!


  • Scrap fabric for the appliqué pieces
  • The design you want to create
  • HeatNBond Lite
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Optional: Fabric Paint

Step 1: Choosing a Design and Fabric

If you’re going to make your own design, you can do so in several ways. I usually search Google for images that I like or you could also draw your own! After I found the image I wanted to use, I printed it and selected the fabric for my various pieces. I often use cotton Lycra for my appliqué pieces, but you can pretty much use anything. Once, I even used 100% cotton waffle with no stretch to make an ice cream cone appliqué. I keep a small bin of fabric scraps specifically for projects like this.

Step 2: Preparing the Appliqué

After I printed the image, I carefully cut out the shapes I would use. In this case, it was the manatee’s body, eyes, and bubbles. I ironed on HeatNBond to the backside of my appliqué fabric. This will seal the HeatNBond to your fabric. Leave the paper backing on for now.

Step 3: Creating the Appliqué Pieces

Then I traced my design onto the different colors I wanted to use. Keep in mind that while you’re tracing, the design is going on the back; so if you’re tracing letters or want the picture exactly as is, trace it mirrored.

Step 4: Cutting Out Your Appliqué

After you’ve finished tracing your design, use scissors to cut out your pieces. Because you are cutting through paper, I highly recommend that you use regular scissors for this. After your design is cut out, you can peel the paper backing and place the design where you want it on your main fabric. Sometimes I do this on a blank piece of fabric and cut the pattern after, but this time I did it on an already cut pattern. When you get the appliqué in the spot you want it, iron over it and this will seal it to your main fabric. If your appliqué has layers, for instance I had eyes to attach to the manatee, apply the layers and iron each time.

At this point, I decided to abandon the bubbles I had cut out because they didn’t quite look right on my shirt. And that’s ok! You are the designer and can change your mind at any point!

Step 5: Sewing the Appliqué

After ironing, take your fabric to your machine. You will edgestitch around the appliqué pieces. I generally line up my fabric edge to the middle of my foot, and move the needle over slightly and keep my stitch length around 3. Tip: Match your thread color to the appliqué pieces for a more seamless look. A straight stitch is fine. The appliqué itself does not need to stretch.

Step 6: Optional Finishing Touches

My appliqué is now secured onto my fabric. It was a rather simple design and I wanted to add a little more detail, so I pulled out my fabric paint. I’ve recently been experimenting with this as it’s quite fun to merge different crafting hobbies of mine. I added some shading and detail until I was in love with the finished product!

Step 7: Finish Sewing the Pattern

The final step was to sew up the garment. In this case I made an Olive tee. This label from Shine Bright Label Co. was the inspiration for this appliqué.

Appliqué is a really fun way to add creativity or personalization to a make. And truly the sky is the limit to what you can imagine and create!

Make sure to share any appliqué projects you complete using Boo and Lu patterns to our Facebook group, or tag us at @booandlupatterns on Instagram!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply