Today I am really happy to welcome Laura Burch, who is offering some creative clothing saving methods.

What do you do when you have a perfectly good shirt and a big ugly stain right in the middle of it that won’t come out? You cover the stain with a cute appliqué! My kids have so many shirts with stains all over them, there’s no way I can discard them all and buy new ones, what a waste! So as the school year progresses, my kids’ clothes become more artistic and interesting. I make appliqués and place them over the big stains, small stains, hardly visible stains, small tears and holes.

1. Play with sizes, reduce or enlarge the appliqué patterns to fit your needs.
2. Cut several appliqués for one piece of clothing, vary their sizes and colors.
3. Use different types of fabrics to make the appliqués: cotton, vinyl, faux fur, felt.
4. Cut out designs from cute fabrics make nice appliqués.

1. You will need to iron fabric stabilizer (thin or medium weight) onto the back of the fabrics intended for appliqués. This will help keep the fabric edges from fraying and make it easier to sew onto the piece of clothing that needs mending.
2. I used vinyl for the bug appliqué; vinyl usually doesn’t need fabric stabilizer on the back unless it is very thin. Vinyl can be ironed, but use a pressing cloth over the vinyl so the iron doesn’t melt it. If you are sewing your vinyl appliqué with a sewing machine, make sure to use wide stitches so the stitches don’t cut through the vinyl. Sewing vinyl on a sewing machine can be challenging, but not if you use a special presser foot for vinyl or put a sheet a wax paper over the piece you are sewing so it glides under the presser foot with ease.
3. If your appliqués are small (as mine are) sewing by hand is easier. I made blanket stitches around the edges to finish them. If your appliqué is larger, you can sew it on your clothing with a sewing machine, using a zigzag stitch to finish the edges.
4. Your clothing may become “a work of art” and need slightly different washing/drying care. Wash in cold water and air dry is a safe way to wash special pieces of clothing.

For all projects:
– Scissors, Pins, Iron, Sewing needle, Embroidery needle
– Fabric stabilizer (to strengthen the striped fabric)
– Disappearing pen or tailor’s chalk (to mark pattern)

Project 1. Popcorn Appliqué:
– Red and white striped cotton (popcorn box)
– Yellow felt (popcorn)
– Yellow thread (to gather the popcorn and sew it onto clothing)
– White or red embroidery thread (to finish the edges of the popcorn box)

1. Iron fabric stabilizer onto the back of the popcorn box fabric (red and white striped fabric)
2. Place the patterns on the corresponding fabrics, cut out pieces.
3. Pin the popcorn box over stain.
4. Finish the edges of the popcorn box by embroidering a blanket stitch around the box.
5. Gather the yellow, round circles. Place the needle and thread in an in/out pattern around a circle, pull to gather.
6. Sew around the edges of the gathered circle to further crumple the edges of the popcorn.
7. With a needle and thread, sew the pieces of popcorn over holes, spots and stains.

Project 2 Bug Appliqué:
– Black and yellow vinyl (bug)
– Fabric glue (to glue spots onto bug before sewing)
– Yellow sewing thread (to sew yellow spots onto bug)
– Black embroidery thread (to finish the edges of the bug and embroider the legs and antennae)

Download the Bug Applique Pattern PDF here

1. Iron fabric stabilizer onto the back of fabric (vinyl does not need fabric stabilizer).
2. Place the patterns on the corresponding fabrics, cut out pieces.
3. Glue the yellow spots onto the black bug shape. With a needle and thread, sew each yellow shape onto the black bug shape with small stitches. Pin the bug shape (with yellow spots sewn on) over the stain.
4. Embroider a blanket stitch around the bug shape to finish the edges. With a disappearing pen or tailor’s chalk, draw bug legs and antennae onto the clothing.
5. With a backstitch, embroider around the bug and make the legs and antennae.

Project 3: Fine Art-The Stain Applique
– Acrylic or fabric paints (to paint over stain)
– Small paint brushes
– Vinyl (for frame)
– Yellow embroidery thread (to finish the edges of the yellow frame)

1. Iron fabric stabilizer onto the back of fabric (vinyl does not need fabric stabilizer).
2. Place the pattern on the corresponding fabric, cut out frame.
3. After you have determined that the stubborn stain won’t come out of your child’s t-shirt (preferably the stain is in the center of a t-shirt), paint over it. With acrylics or fabric paints, make a piece of modern out over the stain.
4. Pin the frame or frames over the “stain art”. With an embroidery needle and thread, embroider a blanket stitch around the frame to finish the edges.