Reverse Applique Directions

Kate Miller-Wilson
quilting tools and supplies

Once you learn the basic technique, reverse appliqué directions can help you create some incredible projects with fabric. From textiles to apparel, you'll love using this technique to add a personal artistic touch to your designs.

What Is Reverse Appliqué?

You've probably heard of traditional appliqué, the process where a separate piece of fabric is attached to a base layer. Usually, traditional appliqué involves folding over the raw edges of the fabric and using small, nearly invisible stitches to affix it to the quilt or other item. Reverse appliqué uses some of the same principles as traditional appliqué, but the process is quite different.

In reverse appliqué, you cut a shape out of top layer of fabric, turn the edges over, and affix a second layer underneath. This allows the bottom layer to show through the shaped hole you created, adding a beautiful sense of texture to your creation. The process of reverse appliqué is a little easier than traditional appliqué, and the designs are often sewn by machine.

General Instructions for Reverse Appliqué

In general, you'll need a few basic supplies for your reverse appliqué projects:

  • Template or stencil to use for cutting
  • Fabric pencil
  • Rotary cutter and mat
  • Two contrasting fabrics
  • Coordinating thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine

When you're making a project, you'll want to follow any instructions specific to your pattern or kit. However, these are the basic steps:

  1. Choose which fabric will be your base and which will be the top layer. Use the template and fabric pencil to trace designs in the desired locations on the top layer.
  2. Use the rotary cutter and mat to cut out the designs. You'll need to be extremely precise.
  3. Carefully turn the raw edges under, snipping the fabric as needed to allow it to give. Pin the edges as you work.
  4. When you're finished pinning the edges under, pin the entire top layer to the base fabric. Use your sewing machine to stitch around each design, affixing it to the base layer. Remove the pins when you're finished.

Reverse Appliqué: Directions for Making an Easy Quilt

Making any reverse appliqué project requires a certain amount of skill and precision. If you're new to the process, start with an easier project like this fleece quilt. Because fleece is not a woven fabric, you don't have to worry about the raw edges unraveling. This allows you to skip the complicated process of folding the raw edges and simply focus on creating a fun design.

Things You'll Need

  • Two and a half yards of pretty cotton calico fabric
  • Two and a half yards of fleece in a coordinating color
  • Blanket binding in a coordinating color
  • Scissors
  • Fabric pencil
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Template or simple design

What to Do

  1. To get started, choose a design to cut into the fleece. Some easy and fun options include a simple leaf shape, a heart, or a butterfly. Cut out a paper pattern, then use a fabric pencil to trace the design on the fleece.
  2. Cut out the designs using your scissors. If you keep the motif simple enough, you can avoid having to use a rotary cutter for this step.
  3. Spread out the calico fabric, and line up the fleece on top of it. Use pins to secure the two pieces, especially around all of the cut-out designs.
  4. Use your sewing machine to stitch around the designs. Pick a distance from the edge, and keep this distance uniform throughout the quilt.
  5. When you're done, finish the edges of the quilt with blanket binding.

Endless Possibilities

These reverse appliqué directions can help you learn the basic technique for this fun craft. Once you've perfected the fundamental steps, you can begin using reverse appliqué to decorate just about any textile. Soon, you'll be making quilts, pillows, t-shirts, and even purses. Let your creativity guide the way!

Reverse Applique Directions