How to Decorate a Denim Jacket With Appliques

by Mercedes Valladares

Rhinestones, studs, embroidery and appliqués are just a few decorative trims that instantly customize denim jackets. Appliqués -- taken from the French word appliquer, which means "to apply" -- are available in a variety of textures, dimensions and finishes. For example, vintage-inspired distressed appliqués have frayed edges while reverse appliqués use separate fabric layers applied to the backside of the garment and are exposed by cutting away the top fabric layer. Though appliqués generally have a factory-applied fusible bonding backside, you can also apply a double-sided fusible to create your own appliqué.

Items you will need

  • Clear graph ruler
  • Pattern paper
  • Paper scissors
  • Double-sided fusible
  • Pencil
  • Cutting mat
  • Craft knife
  • Protective sheet
  • Iron
  • Towel
  • Thread
  • Hand-sewing needle

Adding the Fusible Backing

Step 1

With a clear graph ruler, measure the height and width of the area on the jacket where you'll place the appliqué. This ensures the appliqué fits within a specific space on the jacket.

Step 2

Trace the appliqué on a piece of lightweight pattern paper. Cut out the tracing with paper scissors.

Step 3

With a pencil, trace the pattern cutout from Step 2 onto the release paper of the double-sided fusible. The release paper covers the fusible glue on both sides.

Step 4

Place the fusible on a cutting mat. Cut out the fusible backing with a craft knife. If you are using scissors, rotate the cutout while cutting as if you were feeding the scissors with the fusible. Remember, the double-sided fusible is an adhesive and if you push the scissor against the cutout, glue will most likely transfer onto the scissor blades.

Appliqué Application

Step 1

Place the appliqué on your worktable with the back side facing you. Gently remove the release paper from the fusible. If you are experiencing trouble lifting the release paper from the fusible glue, slightly lift the corner with your fingernail. Position the cutout on the wrong side of the appliqué.

Step 2

Cover the remaining side of the release paper with a protective sheet. Set your iron to a high heat or cotton setting.

Step 3

Glide the iron in a back-and-forth motion along the backside of the fusible until it adheres to the appliqué. Repeat this step as needed.

Step 4

Remove the protective sheet. Be mindful that the sheet is extremely hot. Remove the remaining release paper by carefully lifting the corner with your finger.

Step 5

Open the jacket and insert a towel between the front and back jacket panels. This prevents excess glue from seeping through the denim fibers onto the opposite fabric layer.

Step 6

Place the appliqué in the desired area on the denim jacket. Cover the appliqué with the protective sheet.

Step 7

Glide the iron back and forth until the appliqué adheres to the denim jacket. Repeat this step as necessary.

Step 8

Thread a hand-stitching needle with matching or contrasting thread. Hand stitch around the appliqué to secure it in place.

Photo Credits

  • Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Mercedes Valladares is the founder of M721Organics and has been an independent designer for over 15 years. Her work experience commenced during college with manufacturers based in New York and Hong Kong. Her education includes LIM College, International Fine Arts College and design certification from the Paris Fashion Institute. She produces eco-crafting videos and writes recycling articles online.