Preventing applique from fraying too much
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Maybe Fray Check? I don't do much applique but I've used Fray Check on other projects and it works pretty well to keep the edges from unraveling.
I'm not sure if Mod Podge would be a good idea.... When I've gotten Mod Podge on my clothes, it just dries like a drop of glue...kind of raised and like a little lump.
Posted at 5:48 pm Jun 18, 2009 EDT
I do lots of appliques. If you're working with synthetic fabrics one thing to do is JUST BARELY singe the edges with a lighter. Don't jump in and light the thing ablaze, maybe try a sample scrap first. But if you heat the edges they wont fray. If you're using a natural fabric you'll have to interface it. Check out my skull appliques tops, I even have close up pics so you can see there's no fraying.
Posted at 8:20 pm Jun 18, 2009 EDT
fray check will work (to stop more fraying) but it won't look/feel so great, in my opinion, since it dries to a super-glue-like consistency.
I'll second evilneedles's suggestions: singe synthetics or use iron-on interfacing on the back of natural fabrics.
Another option, which is what I do with all of the appliques on my clothing, is to use the old-school whole-cloth applique method. Instead of cutting out the shapes and then sewing them on, you:
• layer the fabric = which you should interface or hoop if it's knit/stretchy
• trace on the design outline or use a paper template: you can sew through regular printer/copy paper just fine
• sew the outline = a fairly tight and not too wide zigzag works best here = I zero out my machine's length, then just barely bump it up toward 1, setting the stitch width at 1.5 to 2.5 (depending on the level of detail and size of the applique)
• trim away the fabric (applique scissors are a must for this so you can make a close cut without nicking your stitching)
• and then either satin stitch over the top of the cut edge (with a wider & tighter zigzag) or leave it with this slightly fuzzed cut edge (since the small zigzag will stop any more fray).
Posted at 2:02 pm Jun 19, 2009 EDT