I've been working on a soft book, which prompted me to try this fun technique for letters that my friend Julie taught me. If you like this idea, do me a favor and check out Julie's blog about their adoption of a sweet Ethiopian girl, or better yet - buy some Ethiopian coffee to help support their adoption!
Words can be tedious to applique, but this technique is super simple, plus it makes neat textures that kids love so much. This is perfect for projects like soft books, bibs, or other play items that don't need to be too prim.
Simply cut block letters from your fabric, no seam allowance needed. Then, stitch the letter onto your base fabric by machine, making the letter inside the letter. Afterwards, you can get it damp and throw it in the dryer to help it fray.
For my soft books, I made one with a sweat shirt fabric, soft side up (the white shown above). It doesn't fray much and is nice and fuzzy. For the second book, I used a quilting cotton that frays a bunch (the pink below). Of course, it will fray more if you put it on something that will be washed a lot, like bibs, making a really curly and fuzzy letter. I imagine we will spend a lot of time tracing over these letters with little fingers.
Since you usually try to avoid fraying, it's fun to take advantage of it in such a fun way. I was intrigued and wanted to try more types of fabric to see all the different effects it makes. So, next, I made the bib at the top using diaper flannel for the letters, which I know from experience frays quite alot. I think it's my favorite so far! And, as Julie said, the bib will get better with every wash.
L is learning to spell her name, so I made her a placemat. I used a knit for this one, and it turned out okay. The fabric tends to roll only in the direction of the warp of the fabric instead of all around which would be nicer.
I think terry cloth would be really fuzzy. Ooh, what about several layers of tulle? Endless easy possibilities!