Simple applique tutorial

simple applique autorail - life on wallace

Two lovely friends had their second babies recently, busy days ahead. I love to do a spot of sewing for new babies and so personalised some onesies for little Mabel and Max.  While I was at it, I put together a simple appliqué tutorial.

Collect your supplies

simple applique tutorial - life on wallace
simple applique tutorial - life on wallace

You’ll need an item to appliqué, I used a basic Target body suit (onesie), fabric for the appliqué, fusible webbing (I use Heat and Bond) and thread. You’ll also need your iron and sewing machine. Appliqué is a great way to use up scraps of fabric and I chose bright cottons for these babes. If you can, it’s ideal to pre-wash the item of clothing and the fabric you’ll be using.

Chose your design

Simple applique tutorial - Life on Wallace
Simple applique tutorial - Life on Wallace

The simpler shape you decide for your appliqué, the easier it will be. Look for shapes that don’t involve lots of ‘turns’ when sewing. I like little hearts for girls. You can draw the shape yourself, or find an image on the web. Then draw or trace your design onto the smooth side of the fusible webbing. Cut the shape out but with about 1cm extra around each edge. Making the appliqué larger than the actual shape you use will help to stop the fabric fraying.

If your appliqué is a letter or shape that needs to point a certain direction, draw or trace its mirror image onto the fusible webbing. The appliqué will be the right direction once you’ve ironed it onto your onesie.

Time to iron

Before you start ironing, make sure that the steam on your iron is turned off. Iron the fusible web, with the bumpy side down, to the wrong side of the fabric. Using scissors, cut your shape out around the pencil marking. Remove the backing from the appliqué and iron it on to the item of clothing. If you want to you can use a ruler to work out where best to place the appliqué but I tend to be lazy and just ‘eye-ball’ it.

I keep the ‘backing’ part of the fusible web and use it again as a template for future appliqués.

Let’s sew

Simple Applique Tutorial - Life on Wallace
Simple Applique Tutorial - Life on Wallace

Now you are ready to sew. I use the applique foot (F) and appliqué stitch (17) on my machine. If you don’t have these you can use a straight stitch or a blanket stitch. For tricker shapes, like the elephant, I just use a straight stitch. You’ll be sewing on the inside edge or perimeter of the appliqué fabric. The most important thing is to sew very slowly, don’t rush it. You sort of need to pre-empt where the next stitch will go. If you need to turn a corner, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the foot and maneuver the fabric. I often need to do this multiple times. Once you’ve finished sewing around your shape, clip the thread ends on both sides of the fabric.

One note, the fusible web I used is ‘no-sew’. It stops the fabric from fraying and also adheres the fabric to the clothing. This means that machine stitching the appliqué is not entirely necessary. If you don’t have a machine or don’t fancy hand sewing, you can still appliqué, you’ll be finished once you’re done ironing.


Your appliqués are all finished! I was slack and used the same thread for three of the appliqués and only used the actual appliqué stitch for the heart. The heart and elephant are for baby Mabel.The ‘m’ and the aeroplane are for baby Max. Turns out that the letter m and aeroplanes are not simple shapes to appliqué!

Simple Applique Tutorial - Life on Wallace
Simple Applique Tutorial - Life on Wallace

Fingers crosses my simple appliqué tutorial made sense! If you have any questions, please do get in touch. Appliqué onesies are an easy and cost effective way to personalise a gift for a new baby. I’m also fond of making bunting for new babies. If you wanted to make bunting and personalise it, Gretta at Mumma Plus Three has a great tutorial for you.

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9 thoughts on “Simple applique tutorial

    1. Ooh, great Lise, hope this helps! Thanks for adding something from my little ‘ol blog to Pinterest xx

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