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Correct fabric for Applique Letters?

kbalinski | Posted in General Discussion on

I’m wondering what fabric to buy to do applique letters on a sweatshirt.  I have a few in my closet, but they are all different, and I can’t identify the fabric because the pieces are so small.  It seems like taffeta, satin, or nylon, because it is shiny.

I’m planning on fusing doublesided web to the fabric first, then cutting out the letters, pressing them to the shirt, then zig-zagging the outline.




  1. starzoe | | #1

    You will want to have the appliqued fabrics similar to that of the garment. No point in using special care fabric like silk or linen or felt on a sweatshirt fabric.

    Best thing to do is to apply the sticky stuff to a small piece of the applique fabric, iron it onto some sweatshirt fabric, wash it and see what happens.

  2. Josefly | | #2

    Years ago I appliqued letters onto sweatshirts for our entire family. I just used plaid shirt fabrics for the letters, it was probably a high cotton-poly blend. I used the same technique you described, and they turned out great. I think you could use any washable fabric you like, as long as you pre-wash to control for shrinkage.

  3. MaryinColorado | | #3

    You can use just about any colorfast fabric that you can wash with the sweatshirt.  When my daughter was a teen, she loved soft pink satin appliques on her sweatshirts.  You can dress them up further with buttons, bows, rick rack, ribbon, collars and cuffs.  The sky's the limit.

    I prewash the fabrics and sweatshirt, press fabric, fuse the applique fabric, then cut out the applique to prevent fraying.  Fuse to sweatshirt, satin stitch. 

    You can also stitch interfacing to the applique edges, leave an opening to turn it, turn, stitch the opening closed, press, and then add it to the sweatshirt.

    I like to use an iron on fusable web or stabilizer to prevent stretching.  Especially when combining knit with wovens.  Some are scratchy if against the skin or don't have enough "drape" and look stiff so don't get the heaviest product. 

    Have fun and enjoy the process!  Mary

    Oh, you don't have to use a satin stitch, it just covers edges well to preven fraying of unfinished edges.  You can use blanket stitch or decorative stitches on your machine too. 


    Edited 2/22/2008 11:30 am by MaryinColorado

    1. joy | | #4

      What is the best stabilizer to use under the fabric and applique? I have been using "Stitch-N-Tear" by Pellon, but am having trouble removing all of the stabilizer under the stitches on the back of the garment when applique is completed. I definitely need some type of stabilizer because I am applying letters/numbers to a silky-type CoolMax fabric.

      1. MaryinColorado | | #5

        You may want to try http://www.emblibrary.com site, go to projects, click on techniques, then click on SHOW ALL TECHNIQUES.    They have excellent descriptions on tear away versus cut away stabilizers, they describe alot which I think will help you decide. 

        I am not familiar with your fabric.  Do use a pressing cloth to protect it and make sure the iron isn't too hot.  I wonder if Steam A Seam II might work well for you? 

        My current favorite stablizers are the Floriani ones that are available at sewing machine stores that sell embroidery machines.  The employees there will be able to assist you in what will work best for your fabric and technique.  Mary

      2. ctirish | | #6

        Hi Joy, You need a stabilizer that will wash away after you do the applique or embroidery. The instruction will list different ways to remove the stabilizer.
        Most of the major stabilizer manufacturers make a wash-away one - just ask at the store. Don't buy huge amounts of any stabilizer so you can try different ones and decide which ones work well for you. If you look at different stores on the internet - sometimes you can buy a selection pack that has samples of each type of stabilizer. Good Luck, jane

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