The technique of applying one or more fabrics to a background with hand or machine stitching. Always use a thread to match the colour of the shape to be appliquéd.

Hand appliqué

Also known as needle turn appliqué. The appliqué pattern can be traced onto the background fabric or an overlay method can be used. Draw around appliqué shape and cut out, adding an approx. 1⁄4″ seam allowance. Pin shape in place on background fabric and slip stitch down, turning under seam allowance with your needle as you go.

Duck, Easter Bunting, Ruth Lazarus(April issue 291)

Freezer paper appliqué

Cut freezer paper to exact size of design and iron shiny side of paper to wrong side of fabric. Cut out adding approx. 1⁄4″ seam allowance. Press seam allowance over the freezer paper to give a smooth edge. Pin in place on the background fabric and slip stitch almost all of the way around the shape, leaving a small gap. Remove the paper and complete stitching.

Machine appliqué

Apply fusible web to back of appliqué fabric before cutting out each drawn shape accurately, without a seam allowance. Fuse into position and use a zigzag, satin or buttonhole stitch to attach.


This is the ‘opposite’ of appliqué, where a layer or layers of fabric are removed to reveal the design.

Mushroom Village Quilt, Betty Croke(Jan – May issues 288 – 292)

By hand

Cut two pieces of fabric and draw design on right side of top fabric. Pin the other fabric beneath top fabric, right side up. Tack layers together approx. ½” outside drawn design. Use a small, sharp pair of scissors to cut ¼” within marked line. Clip curves and corners as necessary. Using a thread to match top layer, use tip of your needle to turn under the top fabric to the drawn line of the design. Slip stitch to bottom layer. Turn work over and trim away excess fabric.

By machine

Mark the design on wrong side of bottom layer of fabric. Sandwich fabrics as for hand reverse appliqué. Use a straight stitch and working from back of fabric, stitch exactly along the line of the design. From the right side of fabric sandwich, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut as close as possible to the inside of stitched line thus removing the top layer to reveal the design. This cut edge can then be covered with a line of satin stitching.

In a Nutshell, can be seen in full in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine.