Applique Tips from my Textile Studio

Here's a sneak peak into my studio and the applique process I use for my "paintings" made out of fabric.

It took me years to figure out how to add applique to my embroidered faces. When I make a new piece I go through a crazy process of drawing > making a pattern> choosing fabric> drawing out the face for embroidery > hand stitching the face > using applique for the hair, flowers, and other images in the piece> hand dying and painting> machine stitching>more painting> more stitching and so on!

Here are my tips and tricks for applique. These can be used for applying images to any textile. I have also used this technique to applique onto jeans, ponchos, tote bags and more.

Supplies: sharpie, iron, ironing board, Pellon Wonder-Under, fabric scraps or old clothing/linens, sewing machine and textile paints.

To Start: I always begin with a simple black and white pattern done on nice paper with a thick black sharpie. I trace each part of the design onto Wonder-Under.

I cut the Wonder-Under pieces and iron them to the back of the fabric of the butterfly, then peel the back and iron onto the background that the butterfly is being applied to (in this case it is a pink shirt).

I continue this process of ironing the Wonder-Under onto the fabric of the butterfly parts, then peeling the back and ironing onto the next layer.

Once all the pieces are in place, I start to add textile paint. ​ I am in love with Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow paints. The paint works best if the fabric is slightly wet. Dye-Na-Flow is like watercolor, blends nicely, comes in amazing colors and is so much fun to use.

Once everything is ironed and painted and dry, I use a zig zag stitch to finish it off.

That's it! You can view more of my applique process on Instagram. If you try this out or have other methods...I would love to hear from you! xoxoxo


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Karen Payton Art      Ventura County, California