Want to have fun with a beginner-friendly decorative design? If you love decorating fabric and sewing, you might find yourself experimenting with applique at some point. The raw edge appliqué might just be what you need to put your newbie hands to the test. What is a raw edge applique, and how easy is it to learn?
What Is Raw Edge Applique
A raw edge applique is a beginner-friendly decorative style that can be done on any type of fabric or existing garments. For it to be called a raw edge applique the edges of the decorative piece must be left unfinished; they are intentionally left rough as part of the decorative effect.
For those new to sewing and fabric decoration, applique is any piece of decorative fabric, patches or any other material of choice sewn or fused into a larger fabric to enhance its appearance. Raw edge appliques are quite popular and fashionable too. They are quite easy and fun to do and can be completed in a matter of minutes.
Understanding the Raw Edge Applique
Raw edge appliques are normally created by hand or with a sewing machine using a piece of decorative fabric, texture, patches and every other material you can get your hands on. There is no limit to the methods and decorative material you can use to create a raw edge applique. You are free to be as creative as you want and use bold decorative materials such as cotton, jeans, even cut out patches from old garments!
How do you know if a raw edge applique is suitable for your project and when you should probably try something else?
Try raw edge appliques for learning projects
If you are new to sewing and want to try your hand at decoration using applique, a raw edge applique is the easiest and least demanding. You don’t need to worry about making it super-pretty, perfect or the kind of materials you need for the applique. Raw edge appliques are not only popular in high-end fashion and design but also for the classroom and personal DIY projects.
Going for the unfinished look
Want to transform otherwise dull garments into attractive and trendy fashion pieces? Adding a raw edge applique can add the unfinished look to plain garments such as jeans and jackets. The rough, “unfinished” edges of the applique introduce an edgy, dramatic effect to boring pieces. You can do the same for other items such as pillowcases, sheets and table cloths.
Time-limited decorative projects
Want to decorate many pieces with limited turnaround times? If the project allows, raw edge appliques can save you a lot of time as they don’t need any special stitching or finishing. All you need is to gather your decorative pieces and sew or fuse them into all the pieces in one pass, and your project will be done on time.
You want to use odd shaped appliques
It’s toughto create a smooth edge or a fused applique using odd-shaped decorations or small-sizedpieces. Raw edge appliques give you so much freedom in terms of shapes and size of decorative materials you can use. You can work with odd-shaped bits or small-sized pieces with ease and don’t have to worry about finishing or turning the edges.
Machine sewing isn’t your thing
Unlike other applique styles such as multi-needle appliques, a raw edge can be sewn exclusively by hand or using adhesive fusible web. Since most raw edge appliques are done as fun DIY projects, you might find it easier to do it by hand. Anyone can create a raw edge applique at home even if they don’t have access to a sewing machine. Those seat covers looking dull and boring? Get a pair of scissors, needle and some decorative material and get busy.
You are itching for some creative freedom
No other applique style gives you more creative freedom than the raw edge applique. While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, a raw edge applique can be done using any material and with as much creative flair as possible. For instance, if you have some shiny fabric lying around, you can cut it into pieces and sew them into existing garments or pillowcases as a creative DIY project. Some of the boldest fashion items out there have a touch of raw edge applique madness in them.
Are you excited about trying a raw edge applique project on your own? Follow these simple steps and create your very first raw edge applique!
First, gather the materials you need for the project
- Decorative material
- Primary fabric or garment- Where you will be putting the applique
- Fusible web/ fabric glue or sewing material
- Mark the shape or design you want to cut from the creative material with a pen or pencil
- Cut the shape out from the fabric- feel free to leave some rough edges all around since you can use the scissors to trim the shape later.
- Add the fusion web or apply the fabric glue to the decorative piece and apply the raw edge applique to the primary fabric or garment of your choice. Remember to follow the instructions that came with the fusion web you used. Alternatively, you can also sew the decorative piece to the garment by hand or using a sewing machine.
That was easy right? Keep on practicing and experimenting with bolder decorative pieces and shapes as you perfect your art!
How do you complete raw edge applique?
While it’s not a requirement to finish or complete a raw edge applique, there a few methods you can use to enhance the finished product. One of them involves doing some hand or machine stitching where you create some decorative zigzag, or colorful, straight or circular stitches around the applique piece. This not only enhances the design but secures it in place, especially if you used fabric glue or fusion web.
If you are using a machine to do the finishing stitches, setting a short stitch length (3 or lower)will help you maneuver with precision around the applique piece. As a final touch, it’s always good to finish the raw edge applique by pressing it into place with something flat and heavy.
Does raw edge applique fray?
If done right, raw edge applique will last for as long as the primary fabric is in use. Remember that raw edge applique can be done using any decorative material. Therefore, its longevity might depend on the type of material and not the applique itself. However, raw edge applique needs to be protected when it’s fresh; otherwise, it might fray or come off in the worst-case scenario.
How do you keep fresh raw edge applique from fraying?
Finishing the applique off with a stitch will also protect it, thus preventing it from fraying or falling off after a few washes. If you sewed the decorative piece or used fusion web as opposed to fabric glue, you can also iron it into place at the end to prevent fraying when it’s fresh. You could use a somewhat tiresome but effective anti-fray technique where you fold the edges of the applique into the adhesive layer and iron them into place. However, using this technique means you don’t get the raw or unfinished effect you were going for in the first place
Also, avoid machine washing or rinsing the fabric in hot water immediately after applying the raw edge applique. Doing this will reduce the fusion material’s adhesive side and reduce its lifespan. Ultimately, the lifespan of any applique depends on how well it is done and to a large extent on the primary fabric it was applied on. Have fun creating fun raw edge applique and see how creative you can get!