A sew-on applique is one of the easiest ways to change the look of a regular shirt. Go to a place that sells sewing supplies and you’ll usually find a large variety of sew-on appliques but you’ll also find ridiculous price tags attached to them. Sure, you can get a small applique for a buck or two, but if you want a nice, large one, you’ll get into the double-digits to pay for it. That’s crazy! You can easily make all sorts of appliques yourself with very little sewing experience.
Purchasing cloth with themes is a good way to make an applique without much bother. Fabric stores sell lots of materials that feature cartoon characters, animals, geometric shapes and more. Find fabric with a theme you like and it won’t take much to make it into an applique. The best material to use is not really thick and definitely not stretchy. Cotton and linen or blends are usable. You can purchase as little as an eighth of a yard depending on the size of the images on the cloth. Make sure that you’ll have at least one full image on the fabric piece you have cut.
In addition to the cloth you’ll also need a small piece of felt. Choose a color of felt that closely matches the background color of the fabric. You can purchase pieces of felt individually or by the yard at most any craft stores but it will only take a piece a little larger than the image on the fabric you’ve chosen.
There’s more than one way to make a sew-on applique. One quick method is to simply use fabric glue. Cut out the image on the fabric then glue it to the felt piece. Cut the felt so that it is the same size and shape as the cloth image. After the glue has dried you can then sew the applique onto the garment or other object.
Another way to make an applique is to sew it. Rather than cut the shape of the image out of the cloth, cut it a little larger. Do the same with the felt. Now position the fabric on the felt and sew around the very edge of the image using very small stitches spaced closely together. If you want, you can also sew accents into the piece. For example, if the image is that of a flower you might want to go around each of the petals, then sew around the entire image. After you’ve sewn the applique cut the excess fabric and felt away from the edges. Glued or sewn appliques can be glued or sewn onto the garment. You’ll find them very easy to make and a whole lot cheaper than buying them!