This is seriously a wonderful hand applique tutorial!!
Freezer Paper: If you live in my area… you can find this in the grocery store -the isle with aluminum foil, saran wrap, and sandwich bags.
Pencil: I prefer a mechanical pencil because it always has a sharp point.
Scissors: Paper and fabric scissors.
Pattern: It’s up to you. I am using my “OLD MacDONALD” pattern.
Pins: Preferably applique pins, they are really short pins, sequin pins work well too.
Needles: I prefer Bohin Appliquer Long needles, size 9 or 10.
Thread: Use coordinating thread. It tends to hide your stitches better if matched with your fabric.
Fabric: This one is a given right?
How to Applique by Hand
I start with a big piece of freezer paper. Freezer paper has a shiny side and a dull side. The shiny side is the side that sticks to your fabric. On the dull side of the paper, draw out your entire design. (Do not reverse…or add seam allowances on this step. This drawing should be the finished size of the pieces you want to applique.)Make sure you label the pieces if they are appliqued in a certain order, as most of my patterns are.
Next, cut out the whole image in one piece. This picture has an example of the cut out cow with all the pieces labeled and details drawn on. This piece will become a guide for placement, as well as the pattern pieces. Iron your piece onto the background fabric in the exact place you want the finished piece to be.
In this picture, I have also ironed my grass pieces to the right side of the green fabric allowing for a 1/4″ seam allowance to be cut around them.
All of the applique is ironed to the right side of your fabric.
Note: I always cut out my backgrounds an inch or so bigger so that I can trim to size when I have finished. If you are following one of my patterns, that little extra measurement is included in the cutting instructions, no need to cut bigger.
Cut out your appliques 1/4″ bigger than your freezer paper pattern. Allow a very generous seam allowance on the bottom of your grass….or anything that will go to the edge of your piece. I do this to make sure nothing is too short should I need to trim more off the top than the bottom.
You are turning under the seam allowance to match the freezer paper pattern.
Onto placement… Use the pattern to guesstimate your grass position. You may tape your pattern to a window, or use a light box to place your piece exactly if you wish, but for this project, I was happy with a guesstimate.
Start sewing at the dot, not at the fabric edge. You don’t want to risk cutting your threads when trimming your piece. This picture is a good example of why you have the generous seam allowance to match the fabric edge. When you trim, the extra sometimes comes in very handy!
This piece is somewhat prepared, so the stitch is self explanatory. Try to grab the fabric as close to where the thread comes out as possible. A straight stitch will pull the fabric under just enough to hide the stitch, a slanted stitch will be more visible, and pull your fabric in the direction of the slant.
This is the needle turn method I use most often on my pieces. With the tip of your needle, grab the top of the seam allowance. With a downward motion, pull the seam allowance under to match your freezer paper edge. Use your index finger and your thumb to pinch the fabric keeping it in place until you stitch it down.
When adding additional pieces, especially those lying under others, I use the bigger piece to place it. The freezer paper will keep sticking over and over again… up to about 10 times, sometimes more if you push it! Use this to your advantage and iron your pieces into place.
For most of my projects, I cut out the entire piece as a whole and iron it into place. After which I cut out the pieces in order and use the big piece like a puzzle to place the pieces back when they are prepared.
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