Reverse Applique

I wanted to use Flair Designs airbrushed hummingbirds on a new sample. Since I was working with light color linen and the hummingbirds were airbrushed on black cotton, I wanted a way to reduce the amount of black surrounding the birds.

Traditional appliqué (applied to the surface) would have left me with a heavy black outline. Even if I used a light color thread to satin stitch with, you still get some of the 'show through' of the background fabric. Reverse Appliqué was the best way to make this work.


Step 1

First I made a clear plastic template from the design using overhead transparency plastic.

I then added a dashed line a 1/4" away from the actual image.

The dashed line was my cutting line.

Step 2

Next I placed the template over the design and traced around it with a white chalk pencil.


Why did I make a template? Why not just cut around the image a 1/4" away? Consistency. I was doing four reverse appliqués (two on the front, two on the back), and I wanted all of them to have the same edge. Notice how I have birds going different directions? I didn't need to make a new template, just flip it over!
Step 3

After cutting the image on the white line, I pin it to the wrong side of the top.

The right side of the image is towards the top.

Step 4

Using a very short stitch length (1.5), I stitched a scant 1/8" away from the cut edge.

"Scant" means 'almost' to people who sew. So a scant 1/8" is somewhere between 1/16" and 1/8". Use an open toe foot to see where you're going.
Step 5

From the right side, carefully trim away inside the stitched line, leaving approximately 1/16" of the top fabric. Don't trim too close, or you'll be in danger of your fabric pulling away.

Step 6
Satin stitch in a color of thread that matches the top fabric. No 'show through' since I'm satin stitching over the top fabric not the black background of the hummer!