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Embellishment: A Short Discussion, Part II

02/11/2009

Applique is the fine art of painting with fabric. There’s lots of approaches and even more tutorials (hint: try searching Youtube for all your tutorial needs; it’s not just funny cats and videoblogs), as well as a plethora of talented artists available online. There’s even a quilter’s “Applique Society”, whose mission is “To Promote, to Teach, and to Encourage the Love of All Types of Applique in Quilting” and while a) I am not a quilter (yet!) and b) the many artisans of the internet make my rare attempts look like stick figures, I still love to give it a try every once in a while. For example:

Winged
Winged

I added wings to this thrifted coat for a Mixtape zine (blog) article on thrifting and reconstruction. The entire outfit, which you can see and read about in the next Mixtape issue (hint hint), had two themes: the remarkable and beautiful Barn Owl, and reconstructing an outfit sans sewing machine.

For this applique I first freehanded a wing shape, then turned that into four pattern pieces: two for the body of the wing, and two different sized feathers. I cut my fabric and laid it on the coat, then used Stitch Witchery, available at your local fabric store, to attach each piece with a mind toward what should overlap what and where. An alternative -and possibly superior- product that I plan to experiment with in the near future is Wonder Under. Voila! A no-sew applique.

Thing is, I’m finding that if I want the piece to be truly durable, I’m going to need to back up the fusing with stitching. I’ve begun, using a short zigzag stitch and tan yarn and it’s looking fantastic so far, though moving slowly what with classes and other things to sew and knit and craft distracting me.

So in summation: to applique, you’ll need your idea (which you will transform into a pattern) or your pre-existing pattern, your fabric, your stitch witchery and/or Wonder Under, scissors, and a sewing machine. Once you’re set with your supplies, take a look at the tutorials I linked to in the first paragraph of this post (like this one or this one) and let me know what you come up with!

Really. That letting me know is an essential step. I promise. Me? Craft addict?

Next up: Embroidery!

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