When Natalie Chanin first started crafting as a girl in the late 1960s, she used fusible adhesive to create all manner of iron-on appliquÃ©s. “I vividly recall cutting out apple, butterfly, and flower shapes and ironing them onto bags, blue jeans, T-shirts, and just about anything else I could get my hands on,” she says. AppliquÃ©s are now a signature part of her work at Alabama Chanin. Here, the designer, whose second book, Alabama Studio Style, was published in March, presents one of her newer techniques: the circle-spiral appliquÃ©, which can be made from scrap fabric and used to jazz up any dress, skirt, blouse, or T-shirt in your closet.
MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES
Cotton-jersey base fabric
Cotton-jersey appliquÃ© fabric
Cotton-jersey backing fabric (if your project calls for it)
Button craft thread
STEP ONE: CUT OUT CIRCLE
Using garment scissors, cut out a circle any size you want from your appliquÃ© fabric. For the projects in Alabama Studio Style, we used both 3-to-4-inch and 7-to-8-inch-diameter circles. Depending on the size circle you choose, cut the number of circles needed to cover the area to be appliquÃ©d. If youâ€™re not comfortable cutting circles freehand, use a compass or a jar, plate, or other circular object as a guide.
STEP TWO: CUT SPIRAL APPLIQUÃ‰
Place your garment scissors at a 45-degree angle to the edge of one of your cut circles, and cut into the circle by Â½ inch. Working freestyle, continue cutting in a spiral, first cutting about Â½ inch from the outside edge and then cutting in towards the center, always keeping about a Â½ inch space between the cutting lines. Stop cutting when you have about a 1-inch-diameter circle left in the center of your spiral. Repeat the process with each of your remaining cut circles.
STEP THREE: PIN APPLIQUÃ‰ TO PROJECT
Randomly place and pin your cut spiral appliquÃ©s on the base fabric, slightly overlapping the edges by about 1⁄8 inch.
STEP FOUR: STITCH APPLIQUÃ‰ SPIRAL TO BASE FABRIC
Use a straight stitch to sew the appliquÃ© spiral to the base fabric: Begin stitching along the edge of the 1-inch-diameter circle in the center of the appliquÃ©, and then stitch outwards along the edge of the spiral cut. When you reach about 1⁄8 inch from the end of the spiralâ€™s outside point, turn and stitch your way back to your starting point at the center 1-inch-diameter circle, where youâ€™ll knot off your thread.