Creative tips for making appliqué embellishments and collages

Appliqué adds a personal touch to clothes and home furnishing and collages are beautiful expressions that you can admire for years to come. Here are some tips to help you get started with your unique crafts.

Creative tips for making appliqué embellishments and collages

Getting started with appliqué embellishments

Devise your own patterns, trace simple shapes or use stencils.

You will need:

  • Fabric scraps (iron flat before you begin)
  • Template paper
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Medium-sized dressmaking scissors
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Needle
  • Tacking cotton
  • Thread
  • Fusible web (for no-sew method)
  • Iron

Some easy instructions

  1. Pin template to the correct side of appliqué fabric and mark a dotted line around it with chalk. Remove the template and mark a five millimetre (3/16 inch) seam allowance outside dotted line. Use dressmaking scissors to cut out shape.
  2. Staystitch just outside the inner seamline (dotted line) using two millimetre (1/16 inch) stitches. Use embroidery scissors to snip V-shaped cuts into the seam allowance around curves and corners to make it easier to fold the fabric over.
  3. Fold seam allowance back onto the wrong side along the seamline. Tack the folded edges as you go.
  4. Pin shape to background fabric and secure with large tacking stitches. Secure round the edges with slipstitch then remove the tacking.

The no-sew method:

  1. Cut out a template without seam allowance. Place wrong side of fabric onto melting side of fusible web and iron together. Cut out the shape, iron gently paper-side up and peel off the paper.
  2. Iron the appliqué (preferably over a damp cloth or from the wrong side) to fix in place. Stitch a zigzag or embroidery stitch around the edges for decoration and to prevent fraying.

Creating a successful collage

You don't need to be Picasso to create a successful collage. You just need the eye of a magpie, a wealth of snippets and imagination.

  • Build a collection of images cut from magazines, photos, greetings cards or postcards, as well as bright foil wrappers, scrunched tissue paper, labels — anything that pleases or intrigues you or has special significance.
  • For a simple collage, you can work just with paper, but a more ambitious artwork might include buttons, shells, beads, scraps of fabric, miniature toys, trinkets, ribbons, springs, screws or anything with meaning to you.

Simple collage instructions

You will need:

  • Firm board, such as plywood
  • Paper or canvas background
  • Scissors
  • Scraps to stick
  • White glue or wallpaper paste for sticking the paper or canvas
  • Glue for the items you want to fix
  • Acrylic primer and varnish (from craft shops)
  1. Prepare the board by painting the smooth side with acrylic primer. Let it dry for about 30 minutes, cover it with glue and stick the paper or canvas to it. Don't worry about wrinkles and creases; they will add to the effect.
  2. When the background is dry, lay your paper cuttings out and arrange the objects on top of them. Move things around and experiment. When you're satisfied with the effect, glue everything in place.
  3. Once all the glue is dry, apply a coat of acrylic varnish to give the finished work a sheen and protective coating.

Crafts can be an excellent form of creative expression. Keep these tips in mind and get started with some appliqué embellishments or a collage today!

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