Applique on Knits, How to Applique, Easy Appliqueing Technique

We all have those plain,simple and boring garments we don’t like to wear and we put it aside for years. Some of our favorite garments are also rendered unwearable due to some stains or minor damages.But we don’t have to throw it away, there
are endless ways to embellish and refurbish them, provided we have the patience and the interest. Embroidery is one way of doing it and is something that I love most. I feel that it would give the garment all the
feminine charm it needs. The deterrent factor in embroidery is that it takes time to fill up a large design and is rather
time consuming. One thing that can replace embroidery but still render the
extra detail to the garment is applique work. Once you have mastered the art of
doing it, you can embellish you garment effortlessly. A few scraps of leftover
fabric, a piece of fusible web and of course your sewing machine and you are
off to go.  A few practices in your old garment would make you the perfect applique work specialist!
The tutorial demonstrates how to applique on knits. Knits tend to be shifty but they do not fray. A few tips on  how to applique with knits and the whole process becomes a cakewalk for any beginner!
        There are a few tips I would like to
share before I start to explain the process:
  • While doing applique on knits, choose
    knits as applique pieces. You will want the applique to stretch along with the
  • A ball-point needle is a must while sewing with knits.   
  • Appliqueing with wovens on a woven
    base would be fine.

  • While appliqueing, the design is
    drawn on the wrong side of the fabric. Therefore, make sure to trace the mirror
    image of your desired design before cutting it out. You can open your design in paint and “flip it horizontally” to get the mirror image.
  • Appliques are done by overlapping
    shapes in different layers. You will have to observe the design, start with
    the base layer first and continue sewing one over the other.
  •  Fabric scraps tend to shift while
    sewing on the machine and so fusible web is a must for doing applique work. It
    is a paper-backed adhesive with wax coating on one side. The wax melts while
    heated, enabling the base and the applique fabric to stick together. 
  • I also recommend using a tear-away or a wash-away stabilizer underneath the base garment to prevent it from shifting.
  • Practice on scraps before
    trying on the actual project.

Materials Required:

  1.  Fabric scraps for applique. 
  2.  Your plain garment which needs
  3.  A piece of fusible web like “Wonder
    Under” or “Heat and Bond”. 
  4.  A piece of light-weight tear away or
    wash away stabilizer
  5.  Preferred design for applique. 
  6. Sewing Notions.
  7. Your iron box.  

I am going to instruct you to sew this flower applique design. You can see that it is done in three layers.

your garment, scraps, fusible web and your design ready. Here I have chosen a
knit scrap as my base piece. You may  be doing
the applique on your actual garment.
Take the
fabric scrap and the fusible web piece, both a little larger than your applique
design.  Keep the shiny (waxed) side of
the fusible web onto the wrong side of the fabric and press.  
Trace your
desired design onto the paper backing of the fusible web. Note that most applique
designs are done by overlapping different shapes. You will have to cut
different shapes to complete the project. My design is done by overlapping
three layers. So I trace the three designs on three different fabrics.
Cut out the
shapes, carefully along the line.

Once done,
the pieces would look like this (sample design).


Remove the
paper backing. You can see that the wax is now transferred to the wrong side of
your applique piece and has rendered it fusible (not clearly visible in this picture).

Next, place
the applique design on your base fabric (garment), with the shiny (wax) side
down. Use short presses with your iron to adhere the applique onto the garment.
You may spread a press cloth over the applique to prevent it from getting
Let’s start
 We need to stabilize the base fabric (garment)
to prevent it from shifting. For that we take a piece of stabilizer slightly
larger than our applique design, place it on the wrong side of the base fabric
(garment) underneath the applique. Once the stitching is done, you can easily
tear it away if it is a tear away stabilizer.

                                   We need to
sew around the applique design, covering the raw edges. The stitches have to be
close and clean. To reduce the space between the stitches, I kept the stitch
length to 1 and set the stitch width to 2. You can also use the button hole
setting in your machine for appliqueing. Loosen the upper thread tension to more
than what is normal, so that the fabric can move easily without stretching.

stitching, place the applique such that the edge of the applique design is in
the middle of the presser foot and the needle goes into the applique fabric on
one side and into the base fabric (garment) on the other side. This would cover
up the raw edges completely.
Start sewing slowly. While reaching a
corner, turn the needle down, raise the presser foot and pivot the fabric such
that the raw edge on the other side is again in the middle of the presser foot.
Continue sewing till the starting point is reached and trim the hanging thread.
   Take the next applique layer, remove the
paper backing and position it on the previous layer. Press to fuse and sew
around the edge as done earlier.Continue the same with the third layer.

Our applique is done!

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