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Tutorial: Floral Applique


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You may have seen this lovely type of appliqué on vintage garments. It’s simply a pretty piece of floral fabric cut out in the shape of a flower and sewn to a garment. While there are a couple of ways you could attach the flower, this method tucks the seam allowances inside for a clean edge. Alternatively, you could use your sewing machine to sew the flower on, which would leave the edges raw.

This example uses the Meringue skirt pattern from Colette Sewing Handbook made from stretch cotton twill and a lovely cotton vintage floral we had in our fabric stash.

tools needed

  • garment
  • floral fabric
  • washable pencil or pen
  • scissors
  • pins
  • hand sewing needle
  • thread

1. After choosing which flowers you’d like to use, draw around them with about a 1/8″ – 1/4″ seam allowance.

2. Cut out the flowers. You may need to make little snips along the curves in order to neatly fold back the seam allowance.

3. Carefully press the seam allowance back. I found the best way to do this was to press the fabric with high heat and gently fold back small sections at a time and press them with your fingers. Then press it again with the iron to reheat the fabric. If you do this, make sure you don’t burn your fingers! One of those tiny appliqué irons would be perfect in place of a regular iron.

4. Play around with flower placement and then pin the flowers to your garment.

5. Hand sew the flowers to the garment. Make sure the seam allowance stays tucked under. You can use the tip of your needle to fold it under as you go, if it tends to poke out at all. Half an hour of hand sewing and you’re done!

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Caitlin Clark   —  

Caitlin is the Colette Patterns design assistant. You can follow Caitlin at her blog, the story girl.

Comments 11


Another way to appliqué is to cut organza the same size as the appliqué. Sew right sides together, leaving a little opening to turn right side out. Hand stitch or topstitch to garment. Guarantees the nice clean edge.
I love the outfit. Perfect for spring!


So pretty! I like this style of applique, what hand stitch did you use?


I love the skirt, so pretty. A great inspiration!
Another way to do applique, if your fabric can stand this method, is to use stitch witchery and bond the applique to the skirt, then satin stitch around, covering the raw edge. Of course, it’s always best to test whatever method you want to use on scraps first!


A faster way to get those edges tucked under is to use wash away Solvy…slap a piece on top of the fabric, stitch around the fabric, slit the Solvy, turn the fabric inside out. Presto! Raw edges gone! Use previously mentioned applique iron to flat out….tack the flower to the main fabric with KK2000. Stitch around with a satin stitch in a heavier weight thread. The Solvy stabilizer will also help you you get better stitching too…it should pop out more…Anyhow, don’t wash out the fabric until the KK2000 evaporates (24-hour)!! Very important. Let it evaporate then wash the main fabric to your heart’s content. Wash away stabilizer gone,


Wow. This really makes the black meringue pop. So classy! Very inspirational, thank you!


So simple yet so effective! Love how this ups the ante on the meringue!


Oh wow. This is such a beautiful technique. It reminds me of Erdem’s recent collections, (although in person you can tell that their flowers are printed!) so I’ll definitely be trying it on a few projects. Your blog, as ever, is super inspirational (and I love that I’m typing this comment in italics. Makes it that much more fancy) !




Great tips,very cute!!
I’ve made a skirt with a flower applique using your tips and posted in my blog!


I used to be a craft editor and saw some beautiful examples of this. This technique is often referred to as borderie perse and was used to create gorgeous quilts.

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