Sunday, 30 November 2014

Tutorial: Reverse Applique

Instead of using a Raw Edge reverse applique like on those placemats, I am using a reverse applique with nice and neat edges for a couple of new projects that I am working on at the moment. What I like about this technique is that the "window" that you see through is slightly raised (beveled) and you can even use a contrasting fabric that would poke out a bit around the edge. I took a few photos and put them in a simple step-by-step tutorial. Maybe you find it useful.

This technique works well on basic shapes like circle, square, triangle.

  • printed, stamped or embroidered piece of fabric
  • two pieces of fabric (one slightly bigger than the picture piece)
  • light weight interfacing
  • embroidery floss
  • sewing accessories - fabric pen, sewing machine, pins, scissors, mat
Step 1: Cut pieces of fabric of required sizes. My applique is quite small, the largest piece is only 3 1/2" x 2 1/2 ". Apply light weight interfacing to the large piece and to the small piece with the picture only but not to the medium piece.

Step 2: Place large and medium pieces with the right sides facing each other, pin. Trace a circle on to the middle making sure that there is enough sewing allowance on all sides. I am using a thread bobbin for this.

Make sure that the circle is large enough for the picture (with the yellow bird in my case) to be seen through the "round window" but smaller than the piece with the picture itself.

Step 3: Set your machine to the shortest (smallest) stitch size (it would make the edge of the circle much smoother) and carefully stitch on the marked line going a bit over at the end.

Step 4: Trace a smaller circle in the middle of the first one (I am using a button for this step) leaving a border of about 1/4".

Step 5: Carefully cut out the smaller circle following the marked line. Clip the border all the way around making sure not to cut through the seam. The more clips you make, the easier it would be to straighten out our "window". 

Step 6: Gently fold the top piece under through the "window". Stretch the seam carefully if required.

Press well with a hot iron.

This is how it looks like on the back side.

Step 6: Place your picture at the back so it's visible through the "window" and pin in place. 

Step 7: Using two counts of embroidery floss, stitch around the edge with a running stitch. You can use your machine for this step. 

Press again if needed and you are done! Nice and easy way of creating a reverse applique.

Come back soon to see what I am using this piece of applique for. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write me or simply leave a comment on this page, I would be happy to answer. Have fun! Larisa xox


  1. Thanks for the tutorial Larisa; very well done!!! i am sure the finished project will be outstanding as well!!

    1. Thank you, Gina! Not sure about outstanding but fun for sure. :-)

  2. So neat and tidy, Iove it. I am not keen on raw edges and will try your tutorial, thank you so much for sharing. No time at the moment though as have a long list of projects

    1. Thank you, Carole! It took me a while to start liking "raw edge" anything, it always looked too messy to me. Glad you like this tutorial. If you ever make anything using it, please let me know how you go. Enjoy!

  3. Thanks for this tutorial, Larisa. Previously I only knew how to do raw-edge reverse applique

    1. You are welcome, Dina! I am glad I was able to show you something new. It looks quite neat and easy to make too. Thank you for visiting! :-)