3D Fall Fabric Leaves Shirt


Project Overview

"These beautiful Fall leaves are easy and fun to make either free-motion or with a fed satin-stitch. Making Solvy leaves is just an introduction to what you can do with Sulky Water Soluble Stablizers. I hope they inspire you to do more of this kind of 3-dimensional applique. This is really one of my favorite shirts and I have worn every Fall for several years. I hope you enjoy making and wearing yours as well."
-- Joyce

About the Artist

Joyce Drexler
Instructor, Artist, Quilter, Author, Designer and
Executive Vice President of Sulky of America, Inc.

Joyce is widely recognized as a leader in the field of "Machine Arts and Crafts". Her books have sold well over 600,000 copies. Joyce has been published in numerous magazines and she appears regularly on PBS TV Programs. Joyce also illustrated her own designs to create embroidery cards for Cactus Punch and Great Notions.

In 1999, Joyce received the prestigious "Schmetz Golden Needle Award" in acknowledgement of her significant contributions toward enhancing the future of the sewing industry.


  • Denim shirt
  • Scraps of orange, gold (or lt. green), and dark green mottled fabrics
  • Fusible web
  • Sulky Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer
  • Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Threads to match fabrics
  • Sharpie Fine-Line, Permanent-Ink Markers in red and black
  • German wooden embroidery hoop
  • Sulky KK 2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive
  • Sulky Sticky+ Stabilizer

Joyce Drexler and Sua Hausmann on the set of the PBS TV Show, "America Sews with Sue Hausmann". showing a smaller version of The Autumn Sampler Wallhanging as seen on the front cover of the book,
Sulky Secrets to Successful Appliqué.



  1. Using a fine-line permanent-ink black marker, trace the leaves found on the Pattern Sheet below (do not trace veins or stems at this time) onto Sulky Sticky. Cut out.
  2. Using a fusible web of your choice, fuse two layers, wrong sides together, of each leaf fabric color.
  3. Remove the release sheet from the Sticky+ leaf patterns, and use the cut-out Sticky stabilizer leaves as templates to trace around on each fabric choice.
  4. Cut out the leaf groups on the traced lines.
  5. Sandwich the leaves between two layers of Solvy in a German wooden embroidery hoop.
    Hint: For easier handling, before hooping, you can fuse the 2 layers of Solvy together using a warm, dry iron.
    Leave the feed dogs up, or set up for free-motion with the feed dogs down. Use a matching color of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon and a 3mm wide zig-zag to satin stitch along the cut edge of each leaf. Feed so that most of the zig-zag stitch is on the fabric, with just a little slightly falling off onto the Solvy.
    Hint: Use the same color 40 wt. Rayon thread top and bobbin for the prettiest satin stitch.
  6. Remove the Solvy, let dry.
  7. Then, you can make a Solvy pattern as a liftable overlay so you can see where to place the leaves in a pleasing manner on your shirt, just as we did on the wall quilt. Lightly spray a piece of Solvy with KK 2000 on one side only. Place the sticky side down over the leaves on the Pattern Sheet. Using fine-line, permament-ink markers, trace the stems in red and the veins in black onto the Solvy. Remove the Solvy pattern from the pattern sheet and place the sticky side of the Solvy on the denim shirt, making sure to line up the leaves properly under the veins. Smooth the Solvy down. Lift it at one end and begin placing the fabric leaves beneath it. Make as many Solvy patterns as you need for your chosen leaf clusters, or just draw your own.
  8. Re-smooth the Solvy over the placed leaves and use the color of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon of your choice on the top and bobbin to satin stitch the stems with a stitch width of 1; stitch the veins with a straight stitch as indicated in red in the photo to the right.
  9. On the shirt she is wearing, Joyce put groups of leaves all down the left side of her shirt, as well as a grouping under and overlapping the pocket on the right side.
Note: The Kitten on the Quilt is from Joyce's computer embroidery CD: Cactus Punch Signature Series, Autumn #77. Pictured below is the wallhanging. Directions are in the book Sulky Secrets to Successful Applique (#900B-14).