Tutorial: Reverse Applique

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This sewing tutorial was created for Sewing Mamas by Katie, aka that*darn*kat. Check out her etsy shop, that*darn*kat, for great patterns, including a fabulous pattern for children’s undies!

First, choose your design. For a first try, I recommend a simple shape (the toes on my froggie were a bit tricky, so try something with fewer turns at first, then you can progress to more difficult images). I use google image search when I’m looking for ideas, I search, for example, "frog silhouette" and see what comes up. If you find the perfect image, use that, or you can draw an image inspired by what you find.

Here is my shirt front, contrast fabric, and the froggie I drew (I drew one half, folded the paper and cut it out, so it’s symmetrical). I cut out my image so I can sew around it, but you could put it on tissue paper or the like and sew through it, you’d just have to pick the paper out of the stitches later.

I place the contrast fabric behind my shirt front, making sure there’s plenty of room around the edges, then place the image on top of the shirt front, pinning everything in place. I like to center the image from side to side, but place it more to the top of the shirt.

Here you can see the contrast fabric pinned on behind:

Now, you’ll use a fairly short stitch length to sew around your image. I started at the froggie’s "armpit", stopping with needle down to pivot at any turns:

Here’s another shot, a bit further around the frog. Stop to take out/reposition any pins that are in your way, but be careful not to skew your template from where it started.

Whew! I made it all the way around!

And, after I take out the pins/template:

Here’s what it looks like from the back, you can see the stitching better here:

Now, I use a small, sharp pair of scissors to cut out the image from my shirt front, just inside the stitching line. Since knits do not ravel, I leave the edges unfinished. I like the vintage look the edges get when they roll a bit after being washed.

Start by pulling the layers apart and snipping a little in the middle. You do not want to cut through your contrast fabric, so be careful!

I put my hand behind the contrast fabric while I’m cutting, so I know I’m only cutting the shirt panel (black fabric here):

Now, I’m done trimming out my applique! Stop and admire your work:

On the back, you’ll want to trim away the extra contrast fabric:

Now, sew up your shirt, and wait for the compliments to start rolling in!

Thanks, Katie! Looks great, doesn’t it? I especially love that this is something that can be used for sewing for boys and girls. So often we focus on the cute girly things with the frills and the ruffles, it’s nice to have fun things for boys, too!

Do you have some spring sewing that this would add interest to? Tell me! And I’d love to see it in the Runway!

Happy Sewing!
Kelly

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