Applique on Knit
September 29, 2016
Did you happen to see the cool LAG-OM appliqued t-shirt in our Lagom look-book? For those curious about how we made the shirt I thought I would share the step-by-step process on how we did our applique. The process is the same whether adding letters to a minimalist t-shirt or adding dinosaurs to a baby onesie (guess which one I’ll be making ;).
Prepare your Pattern:
- Draw or print out your applique pattern. If you’re using multiple fabrics then each one will need its own pattern piece. Where they overlap you’ll want to include a little extra on the piece that goes underneath so you don’t have to worry about perfectly aligning the pieces. Since I free-hand drew my dinosaur pattern I cut apart the drawing according to the different fabrics I would use and then traced the pieces adding a little extra where needed, you could do the same digitally if you were using a computer graphic as a base for your applique.
Fuse Your Design to Fabric:
- I used double-sided fusible web to stick the applique pieces to the knit fabric. Trace your pattern (printed side down, or your applique will be flipped) onto the paper-backed fusible web. Cut loosely around the traced pieces, peel the other side of paper and stick to the corresponding fabric pieces. Cut out the pattern piece. If your fusible web is shifting on you while cutting press the fabric for just a second to tack it down a bit.
- Arrange your pieces on your garment, overlapping as necessary and matching pieces. At this point the fusible web is tacky, but repositionable so tweak it until it’s perfect. Sometimes it helps to mark the center of your fabric with disappearing marker to help you align the design. When it’s where you want, cover with a damp press cloth and fuse.
Stabilize the Fabric:
- You can choose between tear away stabilizers or use a cut-away stabilizer. I didn’t have any embroidery cut-away stabilizer on hand so I improvised and used a lightweight sew-in fusible interfacing as a stabilizer. Cut it larger than the applique area and pin/ stick to the back of the fabric making sure all the applique area is covered. Since the fabric we fused onto the knit is woven this will also stabilize the area. Keep in mind that the area covered by the woven fabric will no longer have any stretch, so it's not necessary to use a stabilizer specifically for stretch fabrics (as when appliqueing knit to knit).
Stitch around the Design:
- There are several stitches to choose from: a satin stitch, a zig-zag stitch, a blanket stitch, a triple stitch, hand-stitching or free motion straight stitching. Choose your stitch based on the look you’d like. For the bow-tie I wanted something to emphasize the shape of the tie so I used a classic satin stitch in a (a zig-zag stitch set at .5/2.5) in a contrasting color. For the LAG-OM letters we used a satin stitch in matching thread and for my dino-buddy I used a free-motion foot in coordinating thread and stitched around several times to give him a raggedy edge to emphasize his fierceness. When finished trim away the excess stabilizer on the back, press & you’re done with the applique!
- Suspenders for a bow-tie! As you’ll notice I decided to add some denim suspenders to jazz up the bow-tie onesie. I used a 1” bias tape maker to make them and attached them to the knit fabric without the aid of any stabilizer. Since the denim is thick enough, and the stitch I used simple enough, I was able to skip it. I finished the top edge of the strips with an overcast/serger stitch and tucked it under the overlap on top to hide the edges. For the bottom, I cut the strip to size and pressed under about a ¼” which I then tried to tuck under the edge of the existing leg binding. I sewed the strips down with a triple stitch to give it a nice top-stitched look and maintain a little bit of stretch, just in case.
I hope that this post has you thinking of what great things you can decorate with your scraps of AGF fabric! The sky is the limit with this technique!
Fabrics used on our dino-buddy came from our Avant Garde & Boardwalk Delight collections. The bow-tie fabric was from the Dare collection, and the suspenders were solid smooth denim from our Denim Studio.