Whether you're a novice embroiderer or a seasoned pro, you've probably heard the word applique. If you've ever wondered what the various forms of applique are, I've got you covered!

Machine applique, hand applique, and fused applique are the three basic types of applique. These methods can be used in a variety of ways:

👉 Applique with a smooth edge
👉 Applique with a raw edge
👉 Applique on the back
👉 Applique with a decorative design.

The term "applique" refers to the process of attaching one piece of fabric to another. This is usually a fabric background with some form of shape placed on top. The aesthetic of applique is frequently pushed further by utilising contrasting colours, such as a red shape on a green backdrop. It can then be elegantly finished with specific threads for more stitching, beads to enhance the shapes, and so on.

Applique can be utilised on a variety of surfaces and can be used to add a decorative touch to a variety of items such as cushions, scarves, purses, and garments. Most surfaces will be able to take some sort of applique.

Applique Techniques

You may be unsure which type of applique to use because there are so many. The following are the three main ways to apply applique:

👉 Applique by machine
👉 Applique by hand
👉 Applique fused

Applique by Machine

When a sewing machine is used to stitch a piece of fabric to a background in the applique process. To adhere your top piece of cloth to the bottom layer, you can use one of the stitch variations available on your specific model of machine. The zigzag stitch and the satin stitch are both popular stitches.

Applique by machine

Applique by Hand

For quilting projects, hand applique is frequently used. A shape is sewed onto a background layer with a needle and thread in hand applique. Depending on your experience, you can do it in a basic or more decorative manner. The needle-turn method, in which a needle is used to turn under the seam allowance while sewing the pieces to the cloth backdrop, is one of the more traditional methods of hand stitched applique. Instead of a raw edge, this results in a neat one. Hand applique allows you to give your creations a beautiful finish and add a range of patterns and shapes depending on the project at hand. Beads and sequins, for example, work well as decorations to finish various designs.

Applique by Hand

Applique fused

If you're short on time or don't have much experience, you can use an iron-on adhesive like a fusible web. This substance can be used to fuse the fabric shapes you make to the background cloth, and then finishing stitches can be added by hand or machine if necessary.

Applique fused

Let's break out each type:

Applique with a smooth edge

By stitching around the shape with a stitch intended to produce a tidy finish that is smooth and neat to the observer, the raw edges of the cloth that is being applied to the background can be tidied using a sewing machine. It's best to use a zig-zag stitch that's close together.

Applique with a raw edge

Because the raw edges are bonded to the backdrop fabric but not sewed over to produce a seamless edge, this approach is ideal for projects that will not be used frequently. Fraying is allowed on the edges. Smaller crafts, such as greeting cards or wall hangings, are appropriate. Because items like cushions and garments require stronger, more durable stitching, this method is less effective. It is a changeable method that may be shaped to the desired project and can be done by hand or machine.

Applique with a raw edge

Hoop applique with many needles

This is a more specialised strategy that isn't as often employed. It's a machine stitching technique that necessitates both a multi needle sewing machine and an embroidery hoop. For any necessity, the machine may be set up with multiple colour threads. In a multi needle machine, there are usually six needles. Each area of your design will be stitched precisely, resulting in stunning results. Quilting projects benefit from it. This form of applique is more appealing to individuals with more sophisticated needlework skills.

Hoop applique with many needles

Applique on the back

This product truly lives true to its moniker. Instead of sewing fabric shapes onto a background layer, this approach involves layering materials and then stitching a pattern on top. After that, you cut away sections of the fabric to reveal the shape and colour of the fabric underneath.

Applique on the back

Applique decoration

There are numerous versions and interpretations of this strategy. It can be done either by machine or by hand. If you're using a sewing machine, you can make your item more aesthetically beautiful by using the various stitching styles offered on your model. You can opt to play with the many various embroidery stitches available to master while using hand embroidery – it all depends on the project you're working on.

The skinny on

Because there are so many applique options and variations, this is a method that should be tried and evaluated. It's a fun method to use, especially if you experiment with different colour combinations and fabric types. As you practise, you'll figure out which types of applique work best for you and your particular needlework projects.