After buying supplies for my new project bag last week, I was eager to decorate the front panel with applique. Applique, according to, is "ornamentation, as a cutout design, that is sewn on to or otherwise applied to a piece of material." For this project, I will be cutting a design out of felt and sewing it to a piece of corduroy, which I will then use as the front panel of my bag.

It's no secret I love squirrels. Devilish creatures, they never fail to rouse a smile (except when smashed dead in the road). A tiny squirrel sticker found its way to my desk so I enlarged it a couple hundred percent on the Laser Jet and had my design.

To make the pattern, I used a trick I learned in the Elephant Class and placed a sheet of Freezer Paper (wax coated butcher's paper) on top of the photocopy, wax side down. I then traced around the image and cut out the parts with a swivel blade.

I placed the pattern on top of the felt, wax side down, and ironed for two seconds. Because I bought acrylic felt instead of natural wool, the heat began to melt the fibers. Ironing any longer could have been disastrous. I cut around the edges of the pattern carefully with scissors, peeled off the freezer paper and was ready to attach it to the corduroy.

I pinned the felt squirrel onto the right side of a piece of corduroy before blanket-stitching all the way around with gray embroidery floss. I used black felt and floss for the squirrel's "shadow" parts and his eye. For additional flare, I cut a heart shape out of blue felt. I had to do this twice, because the first heart came out wonky. The second time around I folded the felt in half and cut a half-heart shape off the fold. I opened it up to a lovely, well-proportioned, symmetrical heart.

I pinned the heart about six inches above the squirrel's head and blanket-stitched it to the panel with orange floss. For the final step I sewed a whimsical, running-stitch flourish between the appliques and my panel was one step closer to bagdom.

Next week:

Measuring and cutting panels

Made is a weekly how-to advertising-sales feature that focuses on D-I-Y projects and the local businesses that can help you make them.