Raise your hand if you’ve finished a project, stood back to admire it, and realized that it turned out…okay.
Not extraordinary, but ordinary. Not unusual, just the usual. Not impressive—more like hum-drum.
Probably not your intention, right? Sigh.
It’s happened to just about everyone who’s experimented with needle and thread.
But what if there was a way to take any project from so-so to oh-so-special—even those disappointing, hum-drum items?
Amy Struckmeyer is here to tell you it’s possible. And better yet, it’s easy. All you need is a bit of appliqué!
Different techniques, distinctive results: project details from A Bit of Appliqué
In Amy’s new book A Bit of Appliqué, you can play with, test drive, and try out a variety of hand and machine techniques—from raw-edge to reverse appliqué—as you create small, practical projects with a modern aesthetic. Once you’ve got the hang of the methods, you can use them to elevate most any everyday item.
Today Amy is our guest writer, here to tell you more about her “just-a-bit” approach to appliqué. Welcome, Amy!
Hi there, Stitch This! readers! I’m Amy, author of A Bit of Appliqué: Easy Projects with Modern Flair, and I’m so happy to be visiting here today.
Appliqué is an enjoyable way to embellish sewing projects, making them distinctly one of a kind. I wrote A Bit of Appliqué to share ideas for modern, colorful, and whimsical everyday items, each featuring just “a bit” of one or more appliqué techniques.
If you take on small projects and do a little at a time, it’s not difficult. I promise! The designs in the book aren’t complex. In fact, I find that simple, graphic drawings and images (children’s drawings and folk art, among them) translate quite well into amazing appliqué designs. Start with easier techniques, like raw-edge fusible appliqué, then move on to others, such as turned-edge, reverse, and bias-tape appliqué. If you’ve ever wanted to try appliqué but thought it might be too difficult, A Bit of Appliqué offers low-anxiety projects to get you started!
For an easy first project, try the “Prairie Blooms Throw Pillow.” Simply lay out the no-fray wool felt “flowers,” topstitch the long, curvy stems, and then attach the felt shapes with a simple straight machine stitch.
“Prairie Blooms Throw Pillow”
Or take raw-edge appliqué a step further with the “No. 2 Pencil Pouch,” which uses quilting cotton for the appliqué design. This is such an easy gift to make. And please don’t let the zipper intimidate you—you’ll find the instructions for inserting the zipper to be clear and well-illustrated.
“No. 2 Pencil Pouch”
Here’s a quick tip from the book for that pesky fusible web that can be tricky to unpeel:
Want to try turned-edge appliqué? The “Spot-On Coasters” use a simple method. Just gather the edges of a patchwork circle around a cardstock template to create a turned edge. After pressing, remove the template, and voila!, you have a finished shape to apply by hand or machine.
A Bit of Appliqué also touches on other ways to embellish, such as adding hand embroidery, top stitching, and using handmade (or store-bought) bias tape and trim. One of my favorite projects is the “Garden Skirt” for girls, which features both bias tape and raw-edge appliqué. Not only is it embellished with embroidered details, but you also use embroidery floss to hand stitch the flower and leaf shapes in place, giving the design a delightfully whimsical look.
A drawing by Amy’s daughter inspired “Garden Skirt.”
See a dozen more projects from A Bit of Appliqué >
From bags and accessories to wearables and quilts, I hope each project in A Bit of Appliqué will inspire you to try these simple yet striking embellishment methods. Use the templates provided and try the techniques, then take it further and create your own one-of-a-kind appliqué designs.
Thanks so much for having me here! I’d love for you to visit me on my blog. I’m also on Instagram and Pinterest.
Thanks for sharing your new book with us, Amy!
What’s your favorite way to appliqué: hand or machine, turned-edge or raw-edge, fusible or felt? Tell us your preference in the comments
and you could win a copy of the A Bit of Appliqué eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.
Can’t wait? Buy A Bit of Appliqué now and instantly download the eBook for free.
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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Carol, who says:
“I love fusible! It is great raw edge and also for setting in place for sewing.”
Carol, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!