Turn a Photo into an Appliqué

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Ages ago, before our little buttons were on the planet (and what a different planet it was…), I did a bit of experimenting with turning photographs into appliques. Iwould chop out pictures, often magazine images, place them onto scraps of fabric, and sew to create an applique like this one:

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Flicking through some pictures the other day I came across one of Amelie that I thought would be nice ‘in fabric’. So I made a little applique picture using the photograph as a template.  If you’d like to know how to do something similar, read on. Its really easy (I know, I say that a lot. That’s because I can only do easy things!)

You Will Need:

  • Picture printed on paper
  • fabric scraps
  • plain background fabric
  • lightweight iron on interfacing
  • bondaweb
  • tailors chalk (or other fabric marker)
  • sellotape

1. First, find your picture. I think simple is definitely best, something without faces or complicated shapes. I picked this one of Amelie. Print it out to the size you want your applique to be. Cut it out, then chop it into segments for each different bit, as below. You can see in the picture that the boots are cropped off, so I’ve just added the right one back in as I want this to show in my applique.

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 2. Select scraps of fabric for each piece. Attach iron on interfacing to the background fabric – I went with cream for neautrality. Take the first scraps and cut them down to just a bit bigger (about 5mm all the way round) than the paper pieces. Attach interfacing to your fabric scraps too (to stop it crumpling up), then a small amount of bondaweb onto the centre of each one.

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3. Now work out which piece you will need to attach first. The picture will be built up in layers, so the underneath pieces, i.e. the ones covered by anything else in the picture, need to go on first. In this case, it’s the legs as they are behind the boots and skirt.  Arrange them on the background fabric. and press to seal the bondaweb and secure them whilst you sew. roll up a tiny bit of sellotape and stick it onto the paper, then stick the paper in place on the fabric. Sew round the paper. Mark with chalk where the next pieces go, if you need to.

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4. Now snip away the excess fabric, nice and close to the stitches. Then you can start the next layers, repeating the process above for each layer.

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5. For the coat, I decided to stitch on the seams in a matching thread. I just drew over the lines on the paper with pen and then sewed over the paper, then pulled it away.

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You can then embellish the picture however you like. I added a cloud, some rain and a couple of balloons to the coat to liven up the colour a bit.

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 Tia x

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24 thoughts on “Turn a Photo into an Appliqué

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  5. Thought about doing this but had no idea how… I think I was going to photocopy and use the b/w 2 D image to help with the cut out shapes…. You simplified it! Brilliant x

  6. Youve made this look sooooo easy ..thank you i may try this method and not be scared now..well done its lovely x

  7. Love this, I will definitely give it a go. I tried to vote for you but it didnt work… sorry! Christine

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