APPLIQUE – How to Applique Correctly

@media (max-width: 1200px) { }

body .novashare-buttons.novashare-inline .novashare-button-icon { width: 100%; }

Share this Article:


body .novashare-pinterest-image{display:block;position:relative;margin:0;padding:0;line-height:0}figure>.novashare-pinterest-image{height:100%;width:100%}body .wp-block-image .novashare-pinterest-image+figcaption{display:block}body .novashare-pinterest-image-button{opacity:0;transition:.3s;position:absolute;height:18px;max-height:18px;width:auto!important;padding:10px;cursor:pointer;background:#c92228;color:#fff;font-size:16px;line-height:18px;z-index:1;text-decoration:none;box-sizing:content-box;top:50%;left:50%;transform:translate(-50%,-50%)}body .novashare-pinterest-image-button:hover{background:#b51f24}body .novashare-pinterest-image-button:visited{color:#fff}body .novashare-pinterest-image:hover .novashare-pinterest-image-button{opacity:1}body .novashare-pinterest-image-button svg{width:18px;height:18px;vertical-align:middle;pointer-events:none}

Applique opens up a whole new world of decorating your projects. You can use it on kid`s clothing, quilts, handbags, and clutches. The applique can be a picture or a simple monogram letter and can be done on your machine or by hand. The possibilities are endless.

PinApplique – How to Applique


What is Applique?Applique Supplies Best Types of Applique Fabrics Double-Sided Interfacing for AppliqueApplique MarkersApplique TemplatesHow to Applique – Video TutorialHow to Applique – PreparationStep 1 – Fuse InterfacingStep 2 – Cut out the Shapes and PlaceStep 3 – Peel and PressStep 4 – Applique SewingHow to Applique by MachineStep 1 – Stitch SelectionStitching the tricky areasHow to Applique by HandApplique with Running StitchApplique with Blanket StitchApplique with BackstitchReverse AppliqueHow to Applique with FeltTips for Felt Applique by MachineTips for Felt Applique by HandHow to Applique with LeatherHow to Applique LettersHow to Applique – in ConclusionMore Decorative IdeasHow to AppliqueToolsMaterialsInstructionsNotes

What is Applique?

Applique is a sewing method of creating pictures or shapes by sewing one layer of fabric on top of another. It can also be totally abstract.

Applique Supplies

What you will need

FabricDouble-sided InterfacingMarkerTemplate – this can be something you have printed or even a hand-drawn shape.

PinApplique Ideas from patterns

Best Types of Applique Fabrics

You can applique any kind of fabric including cotton, felt, and even leather. I like the weight of quilting cotton as it is stable under the sewing machine foot and has a medium thickness. Tighter weaves are less likely to fray and have loose threads poking out of the edge. Slippery or thin fabrics can be hard work so save those for another project.

Double-Sided Interfacing for Applique

Double-sided interfacing is a very thin web-like fabric with waxed paper on one side. The paper on one side allows you to iron it on the fabric before it is peeled off. It is generally much more expensive than regular interfacing so use it wisely and keep all cut-offs for small applique pieces.

Applique Markers

You will be drawing on the paper side of the interfacing and not directly on the fabric so it doesn`t matter what kind of marker or pen you use. Just don`t use something that smudges in case it gets on the fabric side.

Applique Templates

Cut out your applique template from regular paper. There are lots of flower and animal templates online that you can print. If you can draw freehand then all the better. Templates should not have too much detail as small curves and corners are not easy to applique around.

How to Applique – Video Tutorial

Here is a video I made for you on how to applique. It includes some close-up footage of the stitching that many of you will find useful. Subscribe to the Treasurie YouTube channel for weekly sewing and craft videos.

How to Applique VIDEO

How to Applique – Preparation

Step 1 – Fuse Interfacing

Rough cut your fabric around the pattern piece. Cut out the fusible interfacing to match. It is easier to work with small pieces.

Press one side of the appliqué interfacing to the WRONG side of the fabric according to the manufacturer’s directions. Make sure the paper is placed glue side down. It normally feels rougher.

Draw around the pattern on the paper side of the interfacing.

Fuse Interfacing and Draw on PaperFuse Interfacing and Draw on PaperPinHow to Applique – Fuse Interfacing and Draw on Paper

Special Note for One Directional Templates

If you have a design that needs to face one direction, flip the template over to draw it on the back of the fabric. For example, I wanted the dog to face to the left in the final project so I flipped it over to face the right to draw around.

Step 2 – Cut out the Shapes and Place

Cut the pieces out with sharp scissors. You don`t want any burred edges. The interfacing makes the fabric really crisp and easy to cut accurately.

Cut Templates for AppliqueCut Templates for AppliquePinCut Templates for Applique

Step 3 – Peel and Press

Peel off the backing off the fusible interfacing. It can be a little hard to start off so persevere. I find it easiest to make a small tear in the edge just to get started so you have something to grab on to.

Place the piece in its desired position on the background fabric and fuse it by pressing as per the manufacturer’s directions.

Fuse Templates for Applique Fuse Templates for Applique PinFuse Templates for Applique

Step 4 – Applique Sewing

Now your fabric is all in place and fused, it is time to start sewing. This can be done by machine or hand.

Machine sewing will result in the strongest result and will withstand multiple washes. Here are some examples of machine applique done on some of my sewing patterns.

Machine Applique ExamplesMachine Applique ExamplesPinMachine Applique Examples

Hand sewing can be relaxing and a great option if you don`t have a machine.

How to Applique by Machine

Before you start make sure you have the following

Regular or zig-zag footStrong thread that is good qualityMatching bobbin and top thread

Step 1 – Stitch Selection

I generally use a fairly tight stitch with a width of 5.0 and a length of 0.5-1.0. You can adjust it to your preference. If you have a fabric that frays a lot you will be better with a short stitch length.

I have done all my stitching with black cotton so you can see the detail but yours will look so much better with a matching thread. I sampled a few different stitch lengths and decided I liked the W5 L0.5 best.

 Machine Applique Stitch Examples Machine Applique Stitch ExamplesPinMachine Applique Stitch Examples

Starting – Without backstitching, stitch around the edge with a zig-zag or satin stitch. Always keep your hands close to your work so you can maneuver any curves easily. GO SLOW!

Finishing – Once you get back to where you started, finish without backstitching.

Remove your work and pull the threads to the back. Knot the ends. Turn it over and you’re done. A final press will remove any of the wrinkles put in when sewing.

Machine AppliqueMachine AppliquePinMachine Applique

Stitching the tricky areas

How toApplique Points – Slowly stitch up to the point and stop with the needle in the down position. It should be on the outside of the fabric. Lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric in the new direction. Lower the foot and start sewing again.

How toApplique Sharp Curves – If you have a sharp curve to sew you can use a pivoting motion. Sew a few stitches and stop with the needle down and on the outside of the fabric. Lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric slightly to realign the edge. Keep sewing a little at a time then pivoting and starting again.

How to Applique by Hand

Sewing applique by hand gives a lovely homemade look and can be a relaxing pastime. Before you start hand stitching, switch to a sharp hand needle. The fusible interfacing stiffens the fabric and makes it harder to pierce with an embroidery needle.

Even if you use a hand stitch, the double-sided interfacing is surprisingly durable as a method of stopping the edges from fraying. I found that with careful handwashing, hand-stitched applique lasts quite well.

Here I have used a blanket stitch, running stitch, and backstitch. You can also use whipstitch but I have included it in the felt applique section below since it doesn`t look as neat on fabric.

hand appliquehand appliquePinHand Applique – left heart (blanket stitch), dog (backstitch), right heart (running stitch)

Applique with Running Stitch

The heart on the right of the photo above was done with a running stitch. It is a simple up and down stitch that can be long or short in length. I used 6 strands of embroidery floss with stitches that were about ⅛ inch (3mm) long. Further Reading –How to do Running Stitch

running stitchrunning stitchPinRunning Stitch

Applique with Blanket Stitch

Blanket stitch was used on the heart on the left. The advantage of this stitch is that it seals the edge with a line of thread which can reduce fraying. Remember to always point the needle outwards toward the edge of the applique. Further Reading – How to do Blanket Stitch

Blanket StitchBlanket StitchPinBlanket Stitch

Applique with Backstitch

I used a backstitch for the dog applique. Because it had so many points and curves, it would have been impossible to use the blanket stitch. Running stitch would have worked on it as well as the backstitch.

Backstitch results in a solid-looking stitch ling and is durable and attractive. I used 3 strands of embroidery floss so the line would not be too chunky. Further Reading – How to Backstitch


Reverse Applique

Reverse applique has the foreground fabric cut out and your colored applique fabric placed behind. It can add a nice texture to thicker fabrics. When I see this effect on clothing in shops it tends to be done with a hand stitch.

Reverse AppliqueReverse AppliquePinReverse Applique

Cut a piece of backing fabric and double-sided interfacing about 1 inch (2.5cm) larger than your templatePress the double-sided interfacing on the WRONG side of the foreground fabricDraw around your template on the back of the paperCut out the middle of the shape. This is easiest if you make a small fold and snip in the center then cut outwards. Peel off the paper and press the backing fabric on top. Stitch around the raw edge of the foreground fabric. This can be machine or hand stitching.

In my reverse applique article, you will find a couple of more techniques including folding the inside edges and a quick method for stretch fabric. These samples were done with a reverse applique with hand stitching.

Reverse AppliqueReverse AppliquePinReverse Applique

How to Applique with Felt

Felt is a wonderful fabric to applique as the edges do not fray. Washable craft and sewing felt are cheap to purchase and are one of my favorite things to sew on children`s clothing.

Felt AppliqueFelt AppliquePinHow to Applique with Felt

The little red riding hood in the photo above comes with the Masie cape pattern and can be done with a machine straight stitch. The pincushion is from my free pincushion pattern and the applique can be done with running stitch or whip stitches.

Tips for Felt Applique by Machine

NEEDLES – Use a medium needleFOOT – All-purpose sewing foot or a Teflon footTHREAD – Use a strong thread as cheaper threads tend to breakSTITCH LENGTH – Try 2.0 for straight stitch as shorter stitches tend to look better. STITCH TYPE – While a straight stitch is normally used, you can use a zig-zag stitch if you like the look of that better. Further Reading – Sewing Felt

Tips for Felt Applique by Hand

Sewing felt by hand is much like sewing fabric applique and many of the same stitches can be used. Unless you like the look of it, there is no need to do a blanket stitch that seals the edges since felt does not fray.

Great stitches for applique on felt include

Running Stitch (simple up and down stitch)Whip Stitch (an over and over stitch)Blanket StitchBackstitch

PinHow to Applique on Felt by Hand

How to Applique with Leather

I love applique with vinyl and leather. It adds a unique style to clutches and purses and is easy to sew on your regular machine with a few modifications.

Hold the applique pieces in place with some double-sided tape being careful not to place any under the seam allowance where you will be sewing.

NEEDLES – Use a leather needleFOOT – Teflon foot or walking footTHREAD – Use a strong thread as cheaper threads tend to breakSTITCH LENGTH – Try 2.0-3.0 for straight stitch as shorter stitches tend to look better. STITCH TYPE – While a straight stitch is normally used, you can use a zig-zag stitch if you like the look of that better.  How to Applique Leather How to Applique LeatherPinHow to Applique Leather

How to Applique Letters

Applique letters and monograms are no different from other applique methods. Choose the method according to the fabric you are sewing and whether you prefer hand or machine stitching.

How to Applique LettersHow to Applique LettersPinHow to Applique Letters

The easiest way to get letter templates is to print them in a word processing program. Play around with fonts and choose a thick font with simple clean lines.

You can hand stitch or machine stitch around the edges. Don`t forget that for letters like E which face one direction, you will need to flip the template over when you draw on the paper interface backing. That way when it is the right way up the letter will face the correct direction.

Further Reading – Embroidery Letters (This is a method that will give you finer letters with hand stitching)

How to Applique – in Conclusion

Thanks for reading all about how to applique. This decorative technique can be fun and colorful and make all your clothing and decor truly unique.

More Decorative Ideas

how to sew pleatshow to sew pleatsPinPleatshow to reverse appliquehow to reverse appliquePinAppliquepintuck, pintuckspintuck, pintucksPinPintucksfabric manipulation, fabric embellishmentfabric manipulation, fabric embellishmentPinFabric Manipulation

PintucksHow to EmbroiderRuchingHow to PleatScalloped HemsSewing Ric-RacReverse AppliqueFabric Manipulation

how to reverse appliquehow to reverse appliquePin

How to Applique

Learn how to applique including machine applique and hand applique.

4.8/5 – (29 votes)

Print Pin

Difficulty: Easy Beginner

Keyword: Embellishments

Total Time: 10minutes


Removeable Fabric Marker or ChalkApplique Template Shape


1 Scrap Fabric1 Scrap Double-sided Fusible Interfacing


Roughly cut fabric around your applique shape. It should be a few inches larger. Press double sided fusible interfacing the same size to the wrong side of the fabric. Cut the applique shape out from your interfaced fabric. Peel the paper backing from the double sided interfacing and press the applique shape to your main fabric in the desired position. Sew around the edge of the applique shape by machine or hand.Machine applique: Sew around the edge with a wide zig-zag stitch on a very short length. Try L6.0 and W0.5. Hand applique: Sew around the edge by hand. Suggested stitches are running stitch, blanket stitch or backstitch.


Get the full tutorial at

4.8/5 – (29 votes)