Want to add detail to your quilt blocks and sewing projects — without fussing over tiny appliqué pieces?. Reverse appliqué might be the perfect technique to get the results you want!
What is reverse appliqué?
Reverse appliqué is actually the opposite of traditional raw edge or needle-turn appliqué. Rather than sewing a shape or design on top of your main fabric, you’ll remove the shape or design from the top fabric to reveal your main fabric.
It works by sewing two (or more) layers of fabric together and then cutting the top layer to reveal a shape or pattern of the fabric beneath.
Making detailed quilt blocks requires a lot of time and practice, and reverse appliqué can create some of the same results with this simple sewing technique.
How to reverse appliqué
- Two fabrics of the same size
- Appliqué template
- Water-soluble marker or other marking tool
- Zigzag stitch on machine
Cut your two fabric pieces the same size, whether you’re making an 8″ square quilt block of a 14″ x 20″ pillow.
Choose which of the two fabrics will be the top layer and which will be the bottom layer. The bottom layer will show the appliqué cut-out.
Layer the two fabrics on top of each other, both with right sides up. If desired, baste around the perimeter to secure the fabrics together.
Print your appliqué template or create one by hand. Cut out the paper template, then trace the design onto your fabric with a water-soluble fabric marker. Or, if you’re up for it, you can draw a design freehand right onto the top fabric.
Cut out the design inside of your marked line, only cutting the top layer of fabric. Leave a narrow seam allowance.
If your design has curved edges or corners, clip the curves now. Do not clip past your traced line.
Fold the seam allowance on the top fabric under along the traced line. Pin these tucked edges around the entire design.
Prepare a zigzag stitch on your machine. I like to use a stitch length of 0.7 and stitch width at 2.5.
Sew this zigzag around your design. Stitch right along the edge of the cut-out part of the top fabric, which will join the fabrics together and leave a smooth edge between the two. You can use a coordinating or contrasting thread depending on what look you want.
That’s all there is to it! Now you can sew this into a quilt, skirt, throw pillow or what ever you are making with the reverse appliqué.