When the holidays roll around each year, those of us who sew naturally think of Halloween Costumes, outfits for Thanksgiving, and even fancier dresses for Christmas. But I also love the orange tees with pumpkin faces and the PJ bottoms with candy cane patterns that pop up in all the stores — those everyday clothes that are made to be worn during the holiday seasons. I hate to find myself without the cute photo-op outfit at the pumpkin patch. At the same time the quilting cotton section of the fabric store is full of wonderful seasonal prints. Huzzah! Cute holiday print + fusible web & top stitching = seasonal appliqué pajamas.
Let me show you how I did this last year (pre-blog!) for a pair of PJs that could be worn from late September through November. [Aside: I seem to have a soft spot for making pajamas.]
Quick Tutorial for Creating an Applique from Quilting Cotton
- Choose your fabric carefully. This technique works best with larger prints where you can cut around just one piece/part of the image.
- Iron then cut for exact edges and shape. Iron the fusible web (such as Pellon Wonder Under) onto the quilting cotton in a larger shape than necessary. Then cut the web and quilting cotton together into the shape you desire. I like to cut with a slight outline, rather than directly on the shape — in the example seen here the outline is brown around each shape, on these Spring flowers the outline matches the same color as the shirt underneath (which means I didn’t need to cut, or stitch around, each individual flower petal).
- Attach then cut for exact placement. After deciding the arrangement of your applique pieces (if using more than one piece), iron them onto an large uncut piece of your main fabric (in this example a ribbed knit). After fusing with your iron (following the manufacturers directions for the fusible web) and stitching the edges in place (next tip), cut out your pattern piece — in this example the front of a tee. I find it’s easier to stitch on a larger piece of fabric and I can be sure the pieces are then placed where I want (centered) when I cut the pattern piece out.
- Stitch the edge to match. Use thread that matches the slight outline you left on the quilting cotton. The stitch you use is a personal choice. I work on a 20+ year-old manual machine with very few fancy stitches. I find I am able to edge stitch the applique in place without any backing using a simple zig zag stitch.Satin stitch + knits + me do NOT play well together, but I haven’t let that stop me from doing applique, and it shouldn’t stop you either.
Once I completed the shirt, I paired it with a pair of Burrito Cuffed PJ Pants in the same fabric. Pulling the image from the pants pattern up onto the knit tee makes a great, comfy appliqué pajama set.
|The only image I have of my model (and daughter), The Peanut, wearing this set — pre-blog and when they still fit.|
Of course you can also make your own shapes to match your fabric instead of cutting out an image from the print, like on these Christmas Tree themed pajamas. Either way this technique is great for those of us with basic sewing machines and I find it easier than dealing with iron-on transfer paper for knit fabric (does that ever seem to work right?). Just keep in mind that you’ll lose stretch in the area of the applique. If you use these tips I’d love to see what you create; please come add to the Share page link parties at The Inspired Wren.
Thanks for having me today, Lisa, it’s a privilege.
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Ren Murphy writes for The Inspired Wren.