Are you looking for a fun and easy way to add some personality to your sewing projects? If so, you might want to try raw edge applique. Raw edge applique is a technique where you cut out shapes from fabric and stitch them onto another fabric, leaving the edges raw and frayed. It’s a great way to use up scraps and create unique designs. In this blog post, I will explain what raw edge applique is, share some tips and tricks to get the best results, and show you some of our top applique projects and tutorials to inspire you. Let’s get started!
What is Raw Edge Applique?
Raw edge applique is a quilting technique in which you sew a motif or design to a background fabric without turning under the edges of the motif. The edges are kept raw, meaning they can fray a bit with use. This technique can be used to create various effects and designs, such as cityscapes, flowers, animals, letters, and more. Raw edge applique is different from other types of applique, such as turned edge applique or needle turn applique, where the edges of the motif are folded under and stitched down invisibly. Raw edge applique is faster and easier to do, but it also gives a more casual and rustic look to your projects
How to Raw Edge Applique?
When making a a raw edge applique project, you will need:
- A background fabric
- Fabrics for your motif
- A template for your motif
- Double sided fusible web
- Sewing machine
Here are the basic steps to follow:
- Cut out the template for your motif and trace it onto the paper side of the fusible web.
- Cut out the fusible web around the traced shape, leaving some margin.
- Iron the fusible web onto the wrong side of your motif fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Cut out the motif fabric along the traced shape.
- Peel off the paper backing from the fusible web and position the motif onto the right side of your background fabric.
- Iron the motif onto the background fabric to fuse it in place.
- Stitch around the edge of the motif using your sewing machine. You can use a straight stitch, a zigzag stitch, a blanket stitch, or any other decorative stitch you like.
Tips and Tricks for Raw Edge Applique
Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve a great result with raw edge applique:
- Practice on an extra piece of cloth to get the length of stitches you like first.
- Use the slowest setting on your sewing machine.
- Be sure to anchor your sewing with the needle in the down position as you make turns.
- Try manually turning the wheel for difficult movements.
- Use a thread color that matches or contrasts with your motif fabric, depending on the effect you want.
- Use a stabilizer behind your background fabric to prevent puckering or distortion.
- Trim any loose threads or frayed edges after stitching
- Use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter to cut your shapes cleanly and accurately.
- Use fabrics that fray well and don’t unravel too much. Avoid fabrics that are too thin, stretchy, or slippery.
- Use a small stitch length and a good quality thread to prevent your stitches from breaking or coming loose.
- Wash and dry your project gently to avoid excessive fraying and shrinking.
- Use a light box to make tracing the applique motif shape a breeze!
Top Applique Projects to Inspire
If you are looking for inspiration for your raw edge applique projects, check out these these popular examples from our blog and pattern store: (Click on the image for more details)
Ella the Elephant Pillow is a sweet design which is perfect for a babies nursery or child’s bedroom. It features a cute elephant holding a balloon, and is constructed using raw edge applique (also known as sewing illustration). A patchwork outer border is a lovely way to showcase a favourite fabric range. This project can be quickly completed in an afternoon.
Sail Away Pillow is perfect for a nautical inspired baby’s nursery or child’s bedroom. It features a simple sailboat and is constructed using raw edge applique (also known as sewing illustration). A patchwork outer border is a lovely way to showcase a favourite fabric range. This project can be quickly completed in an afternoon. This is a great project to use all of your favourite fabrics in red, navy, blue and grey. Think stripes, dots, checks, and more! Sail Away Pillow is suitable for confident beginner or intermediate sewists.
This trio of Yuletide Cottages will add some festive cheer to your Holiday décor. Featuring three different cottages, they are constructed using raw edge applique (also known as sewing illustration) and framed in a simple wooden embroidery hoop. This project can be quickly completed in an afternoon. Customise your cottages to co-ordinate with your home or use Christmas fabrics for a seasonal twist. Use your appliques to embellish any number of holiday projects including santa sacks; placemats; pot holders; aprons; dish towel; Christmas stocking and more! The possibilities are endless.
Children will delight in storing their treasures in this adventure inspired drawstring bag. Featuring a simple snow-capped mountain applique and rickrack trim, they are perfectly sized for a party favour bag; to organise supplies in a baby’s nursery; or to store small toys and treasures. The base of the Adventure Awaits drawstring bag was inspired by a coffee bag with a stand-up bottom.
These sweet Dress Form Lavender Sachets will add a lovely scent to your clothing and help repel moths in your wardrobe or closet. They feature an appliqued dress form and ricrac trim. Dress Form Lavender Sachets make a lovely gift for a friend.
This fun and functional drawstring circus bag is easy to sew in an afternoon and perfect for storing so many items. Featuring a striped circus tent with an applique giving you a glimpse inside the circus, and sweet scallop edging, it is sure to delight young and old alike. Fill with toys, treasures, craft/sewing supplies and more. They also make lovely gift bags – it is like receiving two gifts in one!
Make snack time fun with this darling dog paw coaster– perfect for dog lovers everywhere! Featuring a monochromatic strip patchwork background with an appliqued dog paw, they are sized to hold a glass or coffee cup. This project can be easily made in an afternoon and is a fun way to use your favourite fabrics. Dog Paw Coasters make the ulti-mutt gift to sew for a dog loving friend.
This sweet and whimsical mushroom house pouch is easy to sew in an afternoon and perfect for storing and organising so many items. Featuring polka dots and sweet appliqued details, it is sure to delight young and old alike. Fill with small toys, treasures from the garden, craft/sewing supplies or more. They also make lovely gift bags – it is like receiving two gifts in one!
Zippered House Pouch features a pretty lace zipper and appliqued details, and is perfectly sized to use as a pencil case, cosmetic pouch, or to hold a few treasures. There is plenty of opportunity to add your own zakka details such as buttons, ribbon/trims, lace, and patches to really make this project your own. The Zippered House Pouch has French seams so there are no exposed edges. This project is suitable for a confident beginner and can be easily constructed in an afternoon.
Pumpkin Patch Halloween Applique: This cute wall hanging features three pumpkins made with raw edge applique and embellished with buttons and embroidery.
Applique Templates : We have a growing range of Applique templates in our Etsy Store and Pattern Shop. These templates all includes 4-5 different shapes, each in 4 sizes to suit a wide variety of projects. These applique silhouettes are perfect to add to ready made clothing, tea towels/table napkins, pillows, and more! Fun way to add an indivudal element and also use your favourite fabric scraps.
Check out some of our applique templates below. Click on the image for more details.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something new about raw edge applique. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy sewing!