Follow On Facebook!

How To Raw-Edge Appliqué

Here is a link to a free printable flower applique (not the one shown in the video, however)

Click here to watch this video on YouTube if the above video won’t play on your device.

In this video, you will learn the basics of how to raw-edge applique.

How To Raw-Edge Appliqué

Appliqué is a technique which involves attaching a cut-out decoration or detail to a larger piece of material in order to make it more decorative.

Raw-edge appliqué is a technique in which the design for the fabric has been cut exactly to the size required and then the design has been stitched to the fabric in a specific place.

There is no seam or clean finish on the fabric edge of this design, meaning that the edge has not been turned under or finished in a clean manner.

As a sewing technique, raw-edge appliqué is a great choice for beginners, as it comes with endless opportunities for design details to be added. You simply place a cut out appliqué shape onto a larger piece of fabric and then sew around the outside of the shape, using your stitch of choice.

The process of adding a few appliqué designs to your sewing project doesn’t have to be complicated. There is no limit to what you can create with fabric if you are able to draw it or print it from the Internet.

If you are looking for a great way to use up your scraps, appliqué is the perfect solution. It is possible to add designs to garments, pillows, quilts, and a wide variety of other items using appliqué.

What is Raw-Edge Appliqué?

A “raw-edge” appliqué is a form of fabric appliqué that involves stitching a cut out shape of fabric onto another piece of fabric. There are no seam allowances to turn under on the edges of the shape; in other words, the edges of the fabric are left “raw.”

There are many ways to apply raw-edge appliqué, such as machine stitching, hand stitching, fusing, or gluing. Over time, the edges of the fabric will fray. This article will mostly cover the basics of raw-edge appliqué without fusing or gluing, although I have listed further down the article a brief summary of the other choices you have available.

The raw edge appliqué technique is a way of cutting the elements that are going to be appliquéd at the finished size, without making allowances for seams. It is then either fused or covered with a machine or hand stitch in order to hide the raw edges, or may be left to ravel a bit as it is. There is no need to turn the edge of the design element to the back as is the case with other ways of applying appliqué.

Generally, this is a quicker and better way for beginners to experiment with appliqué or collage design, but it has also been used by some highly regarded fiber artists to achieve amazing results as well.

Other Methods For Affixing A Raw-Edge Appliqué

You can choose among four different methods for securing raw-edge appliqués to a base fabric:

  • Use fusible web to attach the appliqué to the base fabric: Using your fusible product’s instructions, press the appliqué with the fusible web already applied to the background fabric in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions
  • Use a decorative stitch on all edges of the appliqué: If you want to finish the appliqué with your machine, you can do a decorative, satin or zigzag stitch that covers the appliqué’s edge.
  • Scribble stitch or straight stitch: Enhance the design element by using either a straight stitch or free motion stitching; it is stitched close to the edge for a smooth finish, or in from the edge for a frayed look.
  • Hand-embroider the appliqué onto the base fabric.

The advantages of each method are different. It is important to choose the method that is most appropriate for the project you are working on.

One of the things that makes raw edge appliqué attractive is the fact that you are able to cut your fabric according to the actual element size. No need to worry about how much to turn under – just cut and apply!

Raw Edge Appliqué Supplies

You will need some basic quilting supplies if you are just getting started with appliqué. The ones listed below are the basics. Amazon Associate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we earn commissions from qualifying purchases. This does not affect the cost of any item for you.

Is Raw-Edge Appliqué Prone To Fraying?

There are several ways to attach your appliqué to the base, and it really depends on which one you use.

If you leave the raw edge free from stitching completely, you will see some fraying along the raw edge, particularly over time. If fraying of a design element is the goal you are trying for, you can stitch approximately 1/8 inch inside the cut edge of the design element and then clip the fabric edges to encourage fraying.

Best Way to Prevent Raw Edges From Fraying

As a general rule, once you hand stitch or machine stitch the edge of quilting cottons to the base fabric, the edges will not fray. It is important to keep in mind that the edge of the fabric is protected if you attach the design element using fusible web.

There are some fabrics that are very loosely woven and are prone to fraying very easily. For fabrics of these types, either use a fusible web, or run a line of fray check along the outside edge of the design element in order to prevent fraying.

For appliqués, the best way to prevent fraying is to use fabrics that are less prone to fraying. If you are unsure whether or not a certain fabric will fray, simply ask a store clerk at your favorite fabric shop.

It is possible to find fabrics that do not fray, such as interlok, cotton and lycra blends, tricot/lycra blends, modal, etc. In particular, if you are looking for fabrics that will not fray, here are a few of your best choices:

  • Fleece or Polar Fleece: There is a wool blend that is called fleece, and fleece is a very versa ile fabric that can be used for making all kinds of fall and winter garments, including blankets and scarves, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and the like. In addition to being lightweight, soft and easy to wash, it is also very affordable and is not prone to fraying.
  • Velvet: In terms of its softness to the touch, velvet fabric stands out from other fabrics. Due to the fact that its yarns are evenly distributed, it is less prone to fraying. Besides being hard-wearing and elegant, it is also widely used in home décor and bedding as a stylish alternative that is not prone to fraying.

Best Stitch For Machine Raw-Edge Appliqué

There is no stitch that is better than another! The choice is yours! My own personal preference is to use a zig-zag stitch, although many people use a simple straight stitch that has no zig-zag.

For appliqué, the most common machine stitches used are the zigzag stitch, satin stitch (zigzag stitch with a very short stitch length) and buttonhole stitch (also known as the blanket stitch).

The time has come for you to try some of the built-in stitches on your sewing machine that you’ve never used before. Here’s your chance to have some fun with them! If you want to pick a stitch for a design element, you should pick one that goes from left to right and covers the edges of the design element on both sides. Take a scrap of fabric and try out the stitches on it. Don’t forget to have some fun while you’re doing it. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect the first time. After all, practice makes perfect…or at least presentable!

Then, if you want a threadwork look to your project, you can simply stitch a straight stitch about 1/8-inch inside the edge, if you wish. If you want your design to look whimsical, make it random.

Is Straight Stitch OK For Appliqué?

Absolutely! The straight stitch can be used to add some interesting design elements to your piece of art. A straight stitch can be just that, a straight stitch. You could also stitch multiple rows of wonky free motion sketch stitching to give your piece a whimsical look.

Is A Regular Sewing Machine OK For Appliqué?

Yes, of course! Provided your machine is able to sew a straight stitch, you will be able to machine appliqué! Having a zig zag stitch or other internal stitches is an added bonus.

Do Raw-Edge Appliqués Allow For Creative Designs?

Basically, anything goes! There is no limit to what you can do. Adding raw edge appliqué to a textile piece is an excellent way to add any shape you can think of to your piece.

Where Do I Start?

As a first step, you need to determine your design. A drawing, illustration, or even a page from a coloring book can give you a lot of inspiration!

Taking a closer look at the design is the next step. If you had to break it down into unique elements, how would you do it? For each element, what type of fabric and color would you choose to use? It might even be a good idea to take the time to trace each of the elements on a piece of paper, making sure that each one is its own unique shape.

Now is the time to decide which techniques you would like to use to apply your design elements to your fabric base if you have not already done so.

After that, you will be able to enjoy watching your creation come to life!

When Is Raw-Edge Appliqué Used?

Raw-edge appliqué is particularly great if you are a beginner just starting out quilting! Certain appliqués, especially appliqués that have curved edges on them, can be very fiddly if you are attempting to turn under the edges for a clean edge versus a raw edge. Raw-edge appliquéing allows a beginner to avoid the fiddliness and immediately get right down to the business of creation!

There is no limit to what you can create with fabric and appliqués!

If you’re making throw pillows, decorating clothing, or making a quilt for the bed or an art quilt for the wall, raw edge appliqué is the perfect technique for your project.

Put a little color in your kitchen with fun kitchen towels, or create a fiber art postcard that has been appliquéd to make the day for someone special! There are endless possibilities when it comes to ideas!

Here are some tips for appliquéing raw edges

  • When you are cutting out your pieces, make sure you use really sharp scissors. I like the Fiskars Micro-Tip Each Action Shears or the Karen Buckley Perfect scissors.
  • If you are going to apply your favorite fusible web to some fabric, always do a little bit extra when you do so. If you do this, you will be able to create a pile of small pieces of fabric with fusible on the back that are ready to be used in quick and easy collage projects.
  • It is a good idea to use a tear-away stabilizer when machine stitching your lightweight fabrics in order to avoid puckers, especially if you are working with lightweight fabrics.