Applique for Sweaters

Posted by Ruth on 21 February 2013 | 0 Comments

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A while ago I decided I wanted to add some applique to a sweater. I've done this on a number of occasions and whenever I wear such a sweater, I always get compliments - probably because no one has ever seen one like it before.

appliqued sweater

Here's what you will need:

  • A pre-made sweater or sweatshirt - if you make your own, then add the applique before sewing the underarm seams, it is much easier that way. Purchase a good quality brand as you want to keep it looking good. Some of the less expensive brands rub up with fluff which tends to look shabby. After all the effort you put in to adding applique, you want to get lots of wearing out of it.
  • Applique templates
  • Cotton fabric for appliques
  • Fusible web
  • Iron-on stabilizer
  • Decorative machine embroidery threads
  • Pressing sheet

Prepare your applique shapes as you would for a quilt by drawing the shapes onto fusible and pressing to the wrong side of your cotton fabric. Cut these out and remove the backing paper.

Check the sweater to see where you can comfortably get it under the foot of the sewing machine before placing your applique shapes. For example, you want to avoid pressing the applique shapes down the sleeve as it is difficult to maneuver under the foot.

Position the shapes mainly down the front or back but avoid placing them over seams. The top of the arm works fine usually too, especially if you are taking the design over the shoulder. Press them in place using a pressing sheet. Be careful your iron isn't set too high, you do not want to scorch the sweater.

Apply the iron-on stabilizer to the inside of the sweater, underneath the applique shapes. This is especially important if it is a knit sweater as it will stretch very easily.

Now all you need to do is stitch the appliques in place. I use either blanket stitch or free-motion. If doing free-motion you should stitch around each shape at least twice.

appliqued leaves

Once the stitching is complete, remove the stabilizer, give it a good press and you're ready to wear your one-in-a-kind sweater.

quilting classes available at the Academy of Quilting


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