So a really fun thing to do to add another element to your projects is to add an applique! You can can them to purses, tote bags, jeans, placemats, t-shirts....the options are endless. There are different ways to add an applique to a project but I am going to talk about a method that has worked for me for a while now and that I found to be very easy.
During the summer, I like to go buy some solid color tees for my girls and then applique some designs on them. Above is one pre-washed shirt that I decorated this summer with a cupcake. I first looked through my books to find a design as I cannot draw worth a lick. Then I looked through my stash of pre-shrunk fabric to choose prints for each of the three pieces of the applique. I then adhered the small fabric pieces to Heat-n-Bond Lite (you can buy a roll of this at Walmart or your local sewing store)...remember to use the Lite or else it might be too heavy and thick for your sewing machine needle to go through.
Next you will cut out your design from the fabric with the Heat-n-Bond on the back. It is easier to draw the design on the back paper side...you just have to remember to draw the design mirrored so that it comes out right. =) Next layout the applique design on your tee or whatever you are appliqueing. Once you have it where you want it, remove the paper backing and iron on.
Next, cut a piece of fusible interfacing a little larger that your design and iron on to the back of your project behind your design. This interfacing helps to stabilize the fabric of your project. There is also stabilizer paper you can buy which does the same thing....I just prefer to use fusible interfacing as I always have some on hand.
Now you are ready to sew! I prefer a satin stitch which is a very tight, close together zig zag stitch. On my cupcake, I first went around the stump of the cupcake and then the frosting and then the cherry so that I could layer the stitching on top of one another. It just takes some practice to move around the curves and corners of a applique so don't get discouraged if your first one does not look quite right. Basicallly with the satin stitch when the needles goes to the left it will hit your applique and when it moves to the right, it needs to go off the applique and onto the project fabric. It is up to you to guide it to keep it centered the whole way around the applique. When you are done, you can trim the fusible interfacing down to the size of the design to reduce the bulkiness.
Hopefull that all makes sense...I am sure there are much better directions out there on this process. =) Sewing appliques is one of the techniques my students learn (even the younger ones) so that they can have an option in decorating their different projects.