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Of all the things out there that you can embellish your wardrobe with, fabric patches and appliqués are definitely my favorite. You can stick them on just about anything, and they’ll instantly transform that item—whether it’s a plain T-shirt or an old, forgotten skirt—into something you might actually want to wear again!

In this DIY, I’m going to show you just how easy it is to make your very own ~wardrobe-changing~ appliqués from nothing more than fabric scraps and embroidery floss.

What you’ll need:

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  • Fabric scraps (fabric anything, really) that you’d like to turn into an appliqué.
  • Fusible interfacing (I’m using Heat N Bond Lite, which comes in a package that looks like this.)
  • A pencil
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins
  • Embroidery floss and needle
  • An iron

How to Do It:

Step One: Making the Appliqué

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To start our appliqués, we’ll first need to decide the kind of look we want to go for. You can sketch out a free-form design on your fabric with a pencil or cut out a shape already existing within the fabric pattern, like the flowers in the above design. While cutting out your desired shape, be sure to leave a small margin around the outer edges.

Step Two

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We’ll also need to cut a piece of fusible interfacing to go along with our appliqué fabric. If you’re not familiar with fusible interfacing, it’s basically just a fabric stabilizer that will help make our appliqués sturdier and easier to sew onto stuff later. Place your fabric shape on top of the interfacing and cut around it to match.

Step Three

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To fuse the interfacing to your appliqué fabric, place the interfacing rough (bumpy) side down on the wrong side of the fabric and press with an iron on the medium steam setting for five to 10 seconds. Repeat if necessary, until the interfacing is completely bonded to the fabric. You can check the bond by pulling at the fabric edges a bit—if the interfacing doesn’t pull away or peel off, you should be good to go!

Step Four

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After ironing, take your scissors and cut away any excess fabric margins that were left around the design.

Step Five

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Iron the appliqué one last time after cutting it out, just to make sure that everything is bonded properly.

Step Six

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And that’s really all there is to it! You now have your very own appliqué that you can stick on whatever you like. To sew these appliqués on, you have the usual option of running them through your sewing machine using a straight or zig-zag stitch around the outer edge, or you can get all fancy and do a decorative stitch by hand, which is what I’ll be showing you how to do next!

Step Seven: Sewing on the Appliqué

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First, use a pencil to mark tiny dots around the outer edges of the appliqué, making the dots as equidistance apart as you can get them.

Step Eight

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Lay your patch down on the item you’d like to appliqué and secure in place with straight pins.

Step Nine

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Thread the needle with a length of embroidery floss, knotting the floss at one end.

Step Ten

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Bring your needle and thread up through the underside of the garment, right alongside the appliqué, but not through it.

Step Eleven

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2 to 3: With the thread alongside the appliqué, poke the needle through the nearest dot on your appliqué to create a loop.

4: Bring the needle back up through the garment fabric, right between the edge of the appliqué and the loop, and pull through.

5: Bring the needle back around, pushing it through the next dot at the appliqué edge while catching a little bit of the garment fabric in the process, and pull through again.

Repeat this process for all of your stitches, following the dots and ensuring that the thread is looped behind the needle each time you make a new stitch.

Step Twelve

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Once you gain a bit of momentum, you’ll begin to have a line of stitching that looks like this. Keep going until you end up back at your starting point.

Step Thirteen

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To finish your line of stitching off, bring the needle down through the first stitch you made and to the underside of the fabric.

Step Fourteen

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Knot the thread tails on the underside of your garment and snip away the excess.

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And you’re done!

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Now all that’s left to do is to throw on your newly revamped garment and proudly display your mad sewing skills to the world. ♦