While there are a range of modern rugs available, applique is seeing not only a resurgence, but a rejuvenation in the world of fabric arts. It is no longer about the cutesy little bonneted girls of the past. Applique work in the form of penny rugs is bringing crafters some hefty sums. If you haven’t seen them, the penny rugs are beautiful. Be careful though; many are not made well. You may find one that is just the style you want, but the workmanship can be lacking. Because crafters can make money on them, some are trying to get quantities of them out fast. In doing so they are skipping steps.

In creating any applique, you need to design your work first. After your design is determined, you can work freehand if you are not worried about being exacting or draw your design out life-size and cut it apart for pattern pieces, keeping your original sketch as your master.

Each piece needs to be interfaced. You can baste regular interfacing onto the wrong side of your pieces or use the kind that irons on.

Once all the pieces are interfaced, lay them out onto your base fabric exactly like your sketch so you can orient yourself to the composition.

Whether you use hand sewing or machine sewing is irrelevant. Either way you can produce a quality product.

Remove your pieces from the base fabric. If you are machine stitching, stitch one piece at a time using the stitching to seal and hide the raw edges. If you are hand stitching you will need to iron hems onto all sides of the pieces, then stitch them into place. Don’t be afraid to overlap in areas.

When all the pieces have been sewn to the base fabric, you will need to back it. It is not enough to baste the two pieces of fabric together. Using two pieces of fabric, right sides together, stitch the edges all the way around, leaving about six inches open to be able to turn the fabric inside right. Turn the fabric. Hand-stitch the opening closed.

Using any stitch, you choose, hand stitch all the way around the base edge, using embroidery floss in a co-ordinating or contrasting colour.

As you get comfortable you can add fabric edging too. Try using different fabrics. Cottons are readily available and inexpensive but try different textures by adding wools and wool blends. Also challenge yourself with colour. Playing it safe doesn’t always lend itself to the best product. Start by throwing in one colour you never would have added. Use different tones for contrast and interest. Experiment and don’t forget to just have fun.