Stitch Craft Create Blog

Personalize Your Projects with Simple Appliqué

Compact Grocery Tote

If any of you are like me, you kicked off 2013 with intentions of healthier eating. Because of that, I feel like I’m constantly going to the grocery store to pick up more vegetables, snacks or ingredients for new recipes; and I’m accumulating quite a stock of plastic bags!

To combat this, I decided to make myself a reusable grocery tote. Lisa Lam’s Compact Groceries Tote from her book  A Bag for All Reasons was just the ticket – I love that it’s reversible and rolls up into a wraparound strap so I can easily stash it in my purse when I head out to shop.

I chose fabrics from Riley Blake‘s new line from Zoe Pearn, “The Sweetest Thing.” I knew I wanted to use the gorgeous yellow chevron for the outer body of the bag. I didn’t want it to be too plain though, so I used a bright red floral to add a simple monogram to the side. I did the zigzag stitching in a contrasting color to make it stand out, and I love how it turned out!

You could easily apply this technique to all kinds of sewing projects, such as a pillow, a purchased baby outfit and more. Have fun!

How-to: Easy Monogram Appliqué

What you need:

  • Sewing pattern and supplies (I used Lisa Lam’s Compact Grocery Tote pattern from A Bag for All Reasons)
  • Contrast fabric for appliqué
  • Lightweight fusible web (such as Lite Steam-A-Seam 2)
  • Scissors
  • Computer and printer/copier
  • Pencil
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread


How to appliqué: 

1. Determine what and where you would like to place your appliqué; I chose to monogram an initial onto a reusable grocery tote. Prepare and cut out all pattern pieces, then embellish according to steps 2-8 before assembling your item.

2. Using a font with simple lines, print out a large letter in mirror image that will fit into the area you wish to embellish; I printed out a large “m” to appliqué onto one side of my grocery tote. NOTE: If you are unable to mirror image before printing, you can easily use a copier to reverse the image, or simply trace around the letter on the wrong side of your paper.

3. Trace mirror-image letter onto one papered side of fusible web, following package instructions for proper use (I prefer Lite Steam-A-Seam 2).

4. Peel away paper from opposite side of fusible web and press onto wrong side of contrast fabric.

5. Cut out letter through all layers on traced lines.

6. Remove remaining paper backing. 

7. Fuse letter onto pattern piece as desired; I chose to place my “m” onto the center front piece of my grocery tote. 


8. Set sewing machine to zigzag stitch and sew over edges of appliqué. TIP: While you can easily do this using a regular machine foot, I like to use a center guide blade or edgestitch foot for precision. 

9. Follow pattern instructions to complete assembly of your item.

Happy Crafting,
Shannon Miller

Editor, Stitch Craft Create

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