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Cutaway Florals Applique Design | Web Extra

Threads #203, June/July 2019
This dress's reverse applique reveals a sheer underlayer, creating subtle yet elegant interest on the skirt and bodice.

Reverse appliqué is a traditional embellishment technique that’s easy to update. It consists of a layer of fabric stitched to the wrong side of a garment’s fashion fabric, in decorative stitching patterns. Then, the fashion fabric is selectively trimmed away to expose the underlayer.

In “Embellishments: Cutaway florals,” Threads #203, June/July 2019, this technique is reconsidered with the use of a sheer underlayer. When the fashion fabric is removed, a delicate, translucent design appears. This embellishment is suitable for blouses, dresses, and even home décor item such as curtains.

Reverse applique closeup
The top layer of fashion fabric is carefully cut away to reveal a sheer underlayer.

The example garment shown uses a floral motif. You can download and print the design for your own reverse appliqué project. Enlarge it, reverse, duplicate, divide, and reconfigure its elements as desired—the final design is up to you. You can sew the appliqué with a short straight stitch, or lower the feed dogs and try free-motion stitching. If you enjoy machine embroidery, you can even digitize the motif and let your machine do the stitching.

Be sure to have a pair of  small, sharp scissors to trim the fabric, and take your time when cutting to avoid snipping through the sheer underlayer.


Click the image for a larger copy of the pattern.

Photos by Jack Deutsch.


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  1. LeonK51 | | #1

    Great Idea. Thanks.

  2. User avater
    donalbran | | #2

    oh, this is so sweet!

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