Fun + Easy: Letter Appliqué Tutorial

We love a good letter appliqué!

Gus + Steel and Canva make it simple with this step-by-step tutorial.



Before you start you will also need a FREE Canva account. Simply go to and click on “Sign Up” to get started.

Step 1
Size it Up

You’ll need to decide where and how big you want the finished design to be. I suggest cutting out all the pieces of the sewing pattern you’ll be working with first to help you visualize what you want the finished project to look like.

I’m working with the Drop Shoulder Tee. It’s a perfect “blank canvas” for an appliqué project.

Lay out your pieces and get an idea of approximate placement and how big you want your design to be.
Size it up!

Step 2
Create Your Canva Project

We chose to do a simple letter appliqué but you can use this tutorial to help you create many different appliqués from simple shapes to more complicated designs - this tutorial will show you the basic steps then you can expand the possibilities from there.

Click on “custom size” then enter the size you have decided will look best for your project. This doesn't have to be perfect, just approximate and a little too big is better than a little too small. Remember, if you’ll be printing this out on paper you are limited by paper size. If you are planning on using a projector to project the design onto the fabric, you’re only limited by the space you have to project.
Create Your Canva Project

Step 3
Design to Your Heart’s Content!

Click on “Text” on the far left margin then type the word or words that you want in the new text box Then, click on the “font” drop down menu on the menu bar to decide which font you want to use.

Pro-tip: Picking something blocky and square makes topstitching the appliqué easier than trying to sew around tight curves. Play around with the bold and italic options until you get exactly what you want.

Once you have the look of the letters finalized you can drag the corner of your text box out to fill most of the page.
Design to your hearts content

Step 4
Prepare Your Fabric

Cut a piece of your appliqué fabric slightly bigger than your design and then cut a piece of WonderUnder to match.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to attach the WonderUnder to the wrong side of the fabric.
Prepare your fabric

Step 5
Transfer the Design

If you are printing your appliqué design go ahead and print it now.

Pro-tip: Save printer ink by changing the text effect on the menu bar to “Hollow”. Once you have it printed, cut out the design.
Hollow text box Flip your appliqué fabric over so that the WonderUnder is facing upward and place the paper stencil you have created UPSIDE DOWN on top of the WonderUnder. Using a permanent marker outline around the design.
Trace and cut
If you are using a projector, you will need to flip your design so it is backward in your Canva project. To do this, download the project as a .png or .jpg then re-upload it into your project and flip it horizontally.
Then, you can project the design directly onto your sewing project and play around with the size of the text box until you have the size you want. Now, put the appliqué fabric with WonderUnder side up and trace the projection onto the WonderUnder.

Step 6
Cut it Out

Using small scissors carefully cut out your design from the appliqué fabric.
Cut it out

Step 7
Press it On

Again, following the manufacturer’s instructions apply the appliqué to your project.
Apply the applique
Step #7: Topstitch it down.
Using a matching or complimentary thread, topstitch your applique to your project. Go slowly and use a short stitch length if you have a lot of turns. If your design is a bit bigger with longer straight-aways then you can lengthen your stitch length a bit. You may find that a walking foot helps to achieve better results and reduces waviness from stretched fabric. Be sure to make clean turns by stopping, lifting your presser foot, turning and reengaging your presser foot.
Pro-tip: you do not need to lock your first stitches with a reverse stitch if you will be sewing over them again. You can just back stitch over them once at the end.

Step 8
Complete Your Project as Usual!

Finished!**As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchase**

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