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Choosing Fabrics for Chenille Appliqué

If you haven't made chenille before, the steps are simple enough for any beginner and my patterns give complete step by step instructions. Basically you stack 4 layers of fabric together, stitch them ½ apart at a 45 degree angle, and cut the top 3 layers. For flannels, homespuns, and other woven fabrics, the process of washing and drying the cut layers turns them into chenille and can dramatically change the look of the fabric!

If you choose to use quilter's cottons, which are more tightly woven than most flannels or homespuns, you will need to brush the cut layers to get them to chenille. I recommend spraying the fabric with water and then using the Chenille Brush by Fabric Cafe ® to brush the cut layers.

For the best chenille effect, look for fabrics that have color on both the right and wrong side of the fabric and are more loosely woven. All homespuns and yarn dyed fabrics fall into this category.

Some fabrics are printed on a white background and the back of the fabric is white. This white backing will be visible when you chenille and dilutes the color of the chenille so be cautious in choosing your fabrics to avoid those that have too much white on the wrong side.

Good Choice for Chenille

Too much white on back. Not a good choice.

Front Back

Front Back

Since all fabrics look different as chenille, it is always best to make a small chenille sample of your fabric BEFORE making the chenille units and attaching them to your garment or quilt. This is another place that the Chenille Brush comes in handy. You can brush your sample to see how it will look as chenille instead of washing and drying the sample.

Fabric Before Chenille Process

Fabric After Chenille Process

Steps for Chenille Appliqué

Step 1: Sew every ½ inch at a 45 degree angle Step 2: Cut shape from the sewn unit.

Step 3: Slash the top 3 layers

Step 4: Add additional chenille units i.e. bellies, wings, etc.

Step 4: Wash and Dry. Brush if necessary.

Step 5: Trim any loose threads.