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A Better Way to Appliqué

Face, fuse, and bead the motifs

Threads #207, Feb./March 2020
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Beaded self-fabric appliqués on a sheer foundation enhance this fluid crepe gown from 1942.

Embellished appliqué on a filmy background is lovely but may not seem easy to accomplish. Traditional appliqué methods require invisible hand stitches or heavy machine-sewn satin stitches— both of which are difficult to work on sheer fabrics. When you update the technique and introduce fusible materials, however, the process becomes simpler, and your results improve dramatically.

Follow these steps to create your own gorgeous designs. Consider using velvet, satin, crepe, even cotton or denim appliqués on sheer silk organza, mesh, or chiffon. Appliqué sleeves, a neckline, or a full garment overlay—whatever you can imagine.

Draw a design on card stock or oaktag. The motif is most useful when it is reversible, rotatable, and has elements at least 1/2 inch wide. You can add an optional transition piece to fill empty spaces; I made a large dot. Cut out the design.

applique pattern

Work with a tool that makes removable marks (a…

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