Saturday, December 4, 2010

Learn to Applique with You Can Make This: ePattern Review

I've always wanted to learn how to applique. There are so many cute designs and they make basic clothes look so fun! I love all the ways I've seen talented bloggers use applique on towels, t-shirts, jeans, and other things. So I jumped at the chance to learn how with eguides and epatterns from You Can Make This!

To get stared with applique I was sent How to Applique the Easy Way! The Step by Step Instructions were exactly that, the whole process broken down into easy to understand steps. There's a picture for each one to help you visualize the process. Everything was written very clearly and concisely. It took me through two different methods of applique, one doesn't even require turning on the sewing machine!

I really DID feel like I could do this after I reread the whole thing several times. I found the tips extremely helpful and just in general for a novice seamstress, like yours truly. For instance, while many might already know that the needle should be down in your fabric when you pivot, I did not. So this is truly written for the beginner.
Three general patterns are included in How to Applique the Easy Way! a car, flower, and butterfly. But with the holidays coming up, You Can Make This thought I might like some thing more seasonally appropriate to start with. They also sent me the Bundle Pack: Christmas Doodles Applique Patterns: Volumes 1, 2, 3! both the instructional guide and each volume is by Kimberbell Kids.
I printed each Volume of Patterns out and put them right into a binder. There were so many I wanted to try I had to remind myself ER can only wear so many holiday shirts during the course of one month! I liked how you get a blackline version of each pattern assembled so you can get a better idea of how it would look finished. You also get each layer and most you also get to see a full color example too. The pictures are very helpful, so you can get ideas for fabrics to use.
It was an extremely hard decision but in the end I decided to do the Christmas tree in Volume 3. Since there aren't very many pieces or layers I thought it would be perfect for a first time project. I think applique is probably an especially fun way for most sewers to use up fabric scraps, but since I don't already have a horde step one was a trip to the fabric store. ER and I had so much fun picking it out!
Unfortunately, we stayed at Step 1 for a LLLOOOOONNNNGGG time. So long that this review is actually tardy, it was due on Nov 30th. What held it up is that I just couldn't get the darn sewing machine to work for me. I read and reread how to thread my machine and finally thought maybe I broke it! Luckily for me, my resident handy man stepped in and helped me out. I won't tell you what the problem was, it's kinda embarrassing! But let's just say I didn't switch a lever back to where it should've been and that has held me up from sewing for several months. SEE I TOLD you I'm a novice, no joke!
Of course I could've done the no sew version but I was determined to try sewing it on too! Here is how shirt looked with the applique ironed on with fusible webbing, super cute as it don't you think?
After several trials with using a Satin Stitch and even running out of green thread, I ended up doing a straight stitch around the edge just to keep things down really good. The Satin Stitch is recommended but darn it if I couldn't quite figure out how to get my machine to do it consistently. I'd have all the settings correct one time, then come back to do it again later and not be able to get it to work. I'm going to check in on that more later because it was very cute and gave it a nicely finished look.
I finished the edges with fabric paint, because the edges were fraying from all my various practice runs. It's a bit wonky because I had trouble applying it with a steady hand. Is it perfect, well no, but is my daughter extremely happy? Yes, and in my book that's what really matters. Seriously, she was just itching for me to finish and wanted to wear it immediately. I think she's even prouder of it than I am!

Over all it was a really fun process to learn some thing new and while my learning curve might be quite slow the instructions and patterns from You Can Make This gave me the courage to finally try something I've always wanted to do. Plus I got a lot of good practice sewing on a curve, which I've found to be tricky. When I could get the Satin Stitch to work for me it was nice to see that I really could make it all the way around because the slower stitch made it easier for me to turn the fabric. I can't wait to do more and just got two more shirts to makeover with applique for ER!


Disclosure: You Can Make This provided me with the instructions and patterns to use for this review. The opinions related in this post are my own personal and unbiased experiences with it.

3 Friends Said:

Lindsey said...

I LOVE this! And now that I've seen how awesome appliques look with fabric paint around the edges I am so going to get back to it. I got a little discouraged because the edges were fraying and it was just too hard to go around the edges with an applique stitch (I'm not that great at it yet).

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Looks like they have some super-cute patterns, and I love how yours turned out! ER looks SO proud!! xoxo

malia said...

Wow great job. I have always been intimidated by applique but your post makes me think I could tackle it (-:

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