How to Embellish with Appliqué

How to Embellish with Appliqué

Adrienne Breaux
Feb 8, 2010

Much like doilies, lace, cross stitch, knitting and other old-fashioned crafts, appliqué may at first seem a bit unstylish. But just like the other crafts mentioned, when used creatively, appliqué can provide endless modern and affordable possibilities for adding fun details in your home!

Appliqué is simply the art of creating designs out of fabric. Once you know the simple tricks on how to create one, you can make appliqués out of literally any design you can think of. Once you have a design in mind, almost any fabric item in your home can be a canvas for an added fun detail. Curtains, dish towels, throw pillows, pillow cases, duvet covers, lampshades, throw blankets, even just as framed art on the wall---the list goes on!


  • Tracing Paper
  • Pencil
  • Background fabric (something sturdy)
  • Fabric scraps
  • Iron (and ironing board or table)
  • Sharp scissors or an X-Acto knife
  • Double-sided, iron-on fusible webbing (like Floriani's Appli-kay wonder)
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Straight pins


1. Find a photo, design or graphic you'd like to turn into an appliqué. Using tracing paper, trace over the design. While you're tracing think about how many different fabric scraps you'd like to use, and what parts of the design might be what fabric/color. Think about it as picking apart the "visual layers" of your design.

2. Next you'll want to distill your graphic or design into distinct parts and trace each part onto a separate sheet of tracing paper, creating tiny little patterns.

3. With your tiny design patterns in mind, take the fabric scraps and iron on the fusible webbing to the underside of your fabric.

4. Pinning your tiny patterns onto the corresponding fabric scraps (with the fusible webbing), cut out your patterns and begin to arrange them on your background fabric.

5. Peel and place your design elements onto your background fabric when you've found just the right arrangement, and then use a sewing machine or hand sew around your designs to anchor them to the fabric.

Additional Notes: Start out with simple designs first and gradually move up to more complicated designs. Sure, some designs can seem too "crafty," but you're only limited by your imagination! Using creativity you'll be able to adapt this fabric method for plenty of sophisticated and modern-looking home decor ideas.

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(Images: 1-6, 8: Adrienne Breaux, 7: Flickr member thisvintagechica)

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