The Journey

Jan 26, 2012

How to Applique- simple and adorable

There are three babies coming into the world soon- Silas (arrived yesterday!), Janie, and Michael.
It was time to get a few onesies ready!

I have been doing simple letter appliques since I started sewing baby things. I've learned a couple of tricks along the way...let me share them with you-

What you'll need:
*onesies (3-6m size are best)
*scraps of fabric
*Pellon lightweight fusible interfacing

Here's some explanation on Wonder-Under and fusible interfacing... two great products needed for appliqueing!

1) Wonder-Under- this is a particular type of interfacing. It has paper backing with fusible webbing on the other side. (You can also buy it on a roll- I think it's 1/2 inch wide.) It's on the top left in the picture below (the paper backing has come off). You will cut it into tiny pieces and put it in between your letter and the fabric. By pressing with an iron, you will melt the webbing and fuse your applique to the fabric. It helps keep the letter in place while you stitch it down.

2) Light weight fusible interfacing- usually Pellon brand (seen in the top right)
This interfacing is thicker. One side is smooth and the other is rough because it has dry "glue" in dots. This interfacing is applied UNDER the fabric to give the knit more stability. It fuses to the fabric when pressed with heat as well. (You'll want to make sure the rough side is touching the fabric so it will fuse to it.) Without it, your knit onesie will pull and stretch and! I think of it as "stabilizer fabric."

You should be able to find these products very close to each other in your local fabric store.

Ok, so once you have your "special products," you're ready to make something special!

For some reason, I am a sucker for buying white onesies. I always find them on clearance at TJ Maxx or Ross, and I stash them away for the next baby shower. I like 3-6 month size for newborns and 12-18 month size for one-year-old birthdays.

Because I used to teach kindergarten, I have diecuts of each letter- capital and lowercase. You can easily make your own letters on Word or print them from the internet. I sometimes draw the letters myself or find a fun font. This time, I wanted plain, simple letters. Carefully cut out your letter from your scrap fabric.

Next, you'll want to cut out a piece of fusible interfacing about 1/2 inch larger than your letter.
*Make sure the ROUGH side is facing UP.
Turn the onesie inside out and center the interfacing 1/2 inch below the collar. Make sure you don't see a tag! (You want to be on the backside of the FRONT panel of the onesie.) Place the ROUGH side on the onesie- you want the glue to adhere to the fabric, NOT your iron! Once it's centered, press it with a medium-heat iron. It takes about 30 seconds. Make sure all the edges have "fused" to the onesie.
Time to fuse your letter to the onesie. I cut the Wonder-Under into tiny strips.
Make sure that the letter is on top of the interfacing that you ironed underneath the onesie. There should be a 1/2 inch border around the entire letter. Then, cut the Wonder-Under apart and carefully slide each piece between the letter and the onesie.
Now that the Wonder-Under is under your letter, carefully press with an iron to melt the webbing. Check to make sure that the letter is "stuck" to the onesie. If not, reapply heat until it's completely stuck. You don't want the letter moving around while you are trying to stitch it down!
Choose a neutral, matching color for your thread. For the "m," I used a dark brown. The "s" and "j" got off white. You don't want to draw attention to the zigzag stitches. You simply want the stitches to accent a colorful letter.
The zigzag stitch on my machine defaults to 5.0 width and 2.0 length. Use a scrap piece of fabric and play with the settings until you find one that you like. 3.8 width and 0.8 length were my picks this time. 4.0 and 0.9 are the highest settings I've used in the past for this application.
I slide the extra piece off the machine in order to get a little more room to maneuver the onesie around.
Take it slow. In the curves, leave the needle in the fabric every few stitches and turn it.
Make sure no extra fabric gets under the needle! Sometimes it's a tight fit, just take your time.

One last touch. I take the stitches out of the side seam and insert my tag. I stitch it in and then serge the excess off.
There it is!
And, they're done! Ready to put on a tiny miracle!
Even though I love doing onesies... I've done more bibs! It seems the cute onesies eventually get covered with a store-bought bib which drives me a little crazy :)
So, I applique bibs...because they are ALWAYS on the top!
Here's to days with no bibs!

Happy making and giving,

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