I'm making a skirt, and I'd like to attach an applique of a thin satiny fabric to the thicker base fabric. It's going to be in the shape of a city skyline, with the satiny stuff as the buildings. It's a circle skirt, like this: Gotham city skyline skirt except the buildings will go all the way around. I'm going to use a bias tape for the bottom hem of the skirt, and I have the waist all figured out too. but I don't know how to attach the top, cut-out edge of the black satin.

It won't be able to take much heat from ironing, and will probably need to be hemmed to keep fraying apart. If I try to glue it on, the glue will probably show through.

My original plan was to cut the black as one big round and jagged piece, fold over a hem along the top and sew it on with a sewing machine. I'm abandoning this idea due to not having really used a sewing machine in years and because of all the turning and narrow bits and detail required. The project is also too big to be able to keep flat and even in a sewing machine. Furthermore, I'm not sure if I can make a crisp hem with limited ability to iron the fabric.

Alternative ideas have been some kind of iron-on stuff to stick them together, or some kind of spray-on sticky stuff, but I don't have any experience with that kind of thing, so I don't know what to choose. Plus, they may require heats greater than what this fabric can stand.

The technique that would probably look best would be to hand sew the entire thing with a small blanket stitch, but that'd be a LOT of sewing- and I only have 2 weeks to finish it.

Finally, a last case idea was to abandon the satin altogether and use fabric markers or paint to make the buildings, but I would prefer the look of the fabric.

  • 3
    Mary ML, how did your skirt turn out? Let us know how you attached the appliqué and maybe include a picture! We'd love to see the result.
    – user1798
    Commented Apr 25, 2017 at 15:42

3 Answers 3


The "iron-on stuff to stick them together" that you'd heard about is called fusible interfacing. For satin, you will be looking for a "lightweight" or "feather" interfacing that has heat-activated adhesive.

It only needs a second or less of contact with an iron to melt to fabric, and will not bleed through like glue. I recently used it to attach lace to satin, and it performed beatifully. Satin to a thicker base fabric should be similarly successful. Just make sure your iron isn't on the hottest setting -- neither the fabric nor the interfacing need that much heat :)

  • great advice. When you attached the lace to the satin, how did you get rid of the fusible left in the spaces of the lace? Or does it just disappear (either physically or just visually?).
    – user1798
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 16:24
  • The first step of ironing the interfacing into the lace (while still on its paper backing), I had a paper grocery bag underneath. When I peeled the lace and interfacing backing off​ the bag, the interfacing stuck to the paper bag in spots where the lace holes were.
    – Erica
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 16:58
  • this sounds like a perfect solution for @Mary ML, and a great tip to store away in my mental tip stash :-)
    – user1798
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 18:21
  • Will fusible interfacing keep the satin from fraying too, or do you still need to hem the edges separately?
    – user812786
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 19:17
  • It will probably keep the edges from fraying, but I can't actually speak to that from experience -- I'm just assuming, because of the adhesive. Running a very thin bead of fray check may help, but I'd test on a small swatch of fabric first to make sure it doesn't bleed the colors or appear unpleasant. (I've used it on satin-ish fabrics without trouble, but it takes a bit of practice.)
    – Erica
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 20:22

Have you considered what your skyline design will look like when the skirt is on and all that fabric drapes and folds down? I fear your design will be indecipherable, and you will have spent so much time on it.

The design would be better seen as you imagine it if you placed it on a straight or an a-line skirt, although I realize that may not be the look you are going for.

If you did opt for a straight or an a-line skirt, the amount of hand sewing you would need to do to attach the applique would be significantly reduced.

Otherwise, you could cut out a negative-space stencil of the pattern, put double-edged tape on the cut edges, place the stencil on the skirt base fabric, and either paint the positive space (the bare fabric) with a brush or spray paint.


When I started doing applique years ago, I used a satin stitch on my machine, this tight zig zag technique was fast and easy albeit very thread heavy. Since then, I'd use a longer stitch which isn't as bulky and still keeps the fabric from fraying. True applique is the slow, turn over and stitch. Satin stitching can be fun. satin stitch

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