Hands on Appliqué



About: Hi; I'm Andrea. I am passionate about DIY projects and I focus on creating lovely for less. My days are filled with bringing the ideas in my head - to life. Aside from that, I'm a grandma who just stepped i...

How to appliqué by hand

Visiting fabric stores and exploring materials is an exciting adventure for me. And because of my frequent drop-ins, through the years, I’ve acquired an abundant fabric stash; and an equally generous fabric scrap pile.

But in recent past, I’ve shifted my focus from fabric-over-consumption to developing leftover fabric ideas. It’s inspired me to come up with some clever scrap fabric creations. Amazingly, since I’ve set my spotlight on scrap fabric projects, I get excited simply thinking of things to make with fabric scraps–that’s a first.

If you happen to have mini-size fabric scraps on hand; and you’re thinking: What can I do with such small pieces of fabric?

Your answer: There’s a long list of things to make with fabric scraps.

Plus, the benefit of many small scrap projects is they may be done completely by hand–as illustrated below.

Step 1: Select and Cut

Cut out desired shape or motif leaving a scant 1/4"seam allowance around edges.

What is appliqué?

Appliqué is a decorative surface detail. It is created by cutting out smaller sections of fabric shapes and sizes and attaching them to larger base materials–with glue, sewing machine or hand-sewing.

What type of fabrics do I use for appliqué?
Floral and other prints, laces and embossed fabrics are easy choices. As their patterns are pre-designed, you need only to cut them out and apply them to your base material.

Step 2: Mark and Position

Use washable marker or dressmaker's chalk to mark placement guides. Position motif on background fabric and glue or pin in place.

What to consider when selecting materials for appliqué

Take care to choose fabrics that are compatible with the materials they’ll be attached to. Be sure they can be cleaned and pressed in the same way.

Materials you will need


Cutting surface

Dressmaker’s chalk

Pins and needles

Fusible web or temporary fabric adhesive

Thimble (optional, will help protect fingers in hand sewing)

Matching or contrasting thread (embroidery or thick thread for highlighting edges)

Sewing machine; if using

Step 3: Needle and Thread

Thread a needle and tie a knot at end of thread

In general, appliqué by hand takes longer than using a sewing machine. But hand-sewing offers superior control when working with small surface areas. Still, this technique doesn't take up loads of time. As turning under edges is not a requirement, you'll be finished before you know it.

If you prefer to save time by using a sewing machine , follow the instructions and use an appropriate size zigzag stitch.

Step 4: Create an Anchor Stitch

To hide thread ends, place knot between motif and foundation fabric; bring needle up through to 1/8” inside of decorative shape edge.

Hold layers in place with a firm hand, push needle down through base fabric; and up again through both layers near previous entry point.

This is your anchor stitch; apply a gentle tug to ensure it’s fastened.

Step 5: Stitch Around Entire Shape

Continue sewing around the entire base of motif; using small even stitches about 1/8” apart. Periodically pull lightly on thread to eliminate any loose stitches.

Note: Because of differences in measurements between inside and outside edges, in some areas, stitches would rotate and form slanted or fan-shaped patterns; that’s acceptable.

Variation in thread and fabric thickness will likely leave some raw edges visible.

For complete coverage, repeat the hand-sewing sewing process; making sure to stitch directly into exposed areas.

Similarly, if using a sewing machine, repeat zigzag stitching for desired coverage.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

To finish, push needle through to wrong side of base fabric. Loop thread around a stitch; poke needle through same loop and make a knot. To hide thread ends, carefully, poke needle between fabric layers; bring up through wrong side; tug on thread a bit and cut off.

I hope you’re inspired to create your best small scrap fabric projects.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read.

For more scrap fabric projects and ideas, visit http://allmywaysandrea.com



    • Organization Contest

      Organization Contest
    • Pie Contest

      Pie Contest
    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest

    2 Discussions