I've used applique on numerous cosplay projects, many of which I've shared here on my blog. It's one of my favorite parts of costume making. Struggling to love working on applique? Read on for how I tackle tacking down fabric designs on my costume projects!
For this tutorial, I'm using a costume I've made for my husband Kevin - Link's Champion Tunic from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. At the end of this guide, you can find links to my patterns for this cosplay!
If you've been costuming for a while, you'll probably understand that people develop brand preferences and shortcuts to make repetitive tasks easier. One of my go to products is Steam-A-Seam2. It is an iron on fusible webbing that comes in Regular and Lite versions. There's many of these products on the market, but I prefer this brand for its ease of use. The paper the fusible web comes on is nicely transparent, which makes transferring your designs on to the paper backing easy.
The first thing you'll want to do is to trace your intended design on to the backside of your fusible webbing's paper backing. On Steam-A-Seam2 this is identified by the grid pattern printed on the paper. After tracing on to the webbing, cut around your design pieces leaving a half inch or so border around the design. (Don't use your good fabric scissors for this. Bust out your crafting scissors for this project because you'll be cutting paper and sticky fusible webbing.)
Remove the paper on the opposite side of the webbing and stick your applique pieces to the BACKSIDE of your design's fabric. Make sure the webbing sticks to the fabric and is smooth. You can use an iron on very low heat to help adhere your pattern pieces if they are rippling.
Cut out your design, following the lines you've traced on to the webbing's paper. Then, place your design on your garment like stickers. Steam-A-Seam2 is very forgiving so you can unstick and move your pieces around until you have the placement just right. Once you are confident with the placement, get out your iron and a press cloth, and iron the pattern down permanently. You won't be able to move the applique pieces once they are properly ironed on so take your time with this part of the process.
Before you start sewing, do yourself a big favor and buy some Anti-Glue Needles. I use these needles for my applique projects. Normal needles will gunk up as you sew through fusible webbing and need constant cleaning. Anti-Glue Needles are coated so they glide through tacky interfacings and webbings, reducing the need to clean to an infrequent task.
Next, I place a tear away stabilizer sheet under the section of applique design I intend to stitch over. This prevents puckering and makes it easier to move your fabric under the sewing machine foot. If you have a wide mouth machine foot, now is the time to use it! Many modern machines come with one by default, so check the drawer on your machine. It will make seeing your applique design edges easier.
You can use a standard zig-zag stitch or a customized satin stitch to finish your applique's edges. Vinyl can be tacked down with a straight stitch. It's all up to your personal preference. Regardless of what stitch you use, follow the outside edge of your design at a slow to medium speed. Having patience will yield better results. This stage takes time, so I like to listen to audio books while I do this.
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