What Stitch To Use For Applique

Are you wondering how to add taste to your garment? Well, applique is a unique, excellent, and thoughtful way to decorate your fabric. Applique is a loanword from a French term applique. It typically implies sewing a piece of fabric onto another one. The piece you’ll be using is usually small and may have a particular shape. 

To fix the fabric pieces, you can use a machine or hand, depending on what works best for you. Either way, you look at coming up with decorative stitching. Materials such as leather, cotton, and silk are fit for applique.

What Stitch Should You Use for Applique?

Satin stitch, blanket stitch, and straight stitch are more prevalent. The type, however, depends on the applique technique. In machine applique, the most popular stitches are satin stitch and the blanket stitch. For hand sewing, you can use blanket stitch and straight stitch. Also, different kinds of material will go well with a particular stitch.

What Supplies Do I Need for Applique?

Whether you are doing hand applique or machine applique, materials are a must. So before venturing into this hobby, ensure you have the necessary supplies to sail you through. Below are some of the equipment you will need.

1. Sewing Machine

A machine is not a necessity here since you can do applique by hand. However, if you want to spend most of your time doing applique, it is wise to invest in one. A zigzag machine is best for this work even though the straight one can still do you good.

Sewing Machine

2. Thread

When hand sewing, use the embroidery floss to stitch. If you are using the machine, the primary cotton thread will work great. You may want to add some taste to your piece to give it a shiny look. Then consider going for an acetate thread.

When choosing the top thread color, go for the one that will complement the applique pieces. Apply the same top thread color to the bobbin thread.

3. Needle

The type of needle will depend on the size of the fabric. If the material is thin or has a medium size, use the needle whose edge sharpness is 11. For a thick cloth, the edge of the machine needle should be between 14 and 16.


4. Interfacing

A sewist uses interfacing at the backcloth to ensure that the fabric stays in place during stitching in machine applique. The types of interfacing you can use include cut-away, iron-on, tear-away, soluble, and adhesive. It would help if you tried tear-away interfacing since you can “tear it away” after work. 

5. Pins

They help in ensuring that the applique pieces stay in place when stitching. You can also pin the pieces.

6. Fray Check

This equipment is non-compulsory. In case of any fraying edges after doing the applique, use this tool to stop them.

7. Applique or Fabric Scissors

You will use scissors to trim the fabric’s edges at the backcloth and near the satin stitching.

8. Iron

It would be best if you had a good iron to fix the fusible web interfacing.

Here are other materials that you may need.

  • Press cloth
  • Seam ripper
  • Applique pieces
  • Background cloth
  • Tracing paper and carbon paper

Which Hand Stitch Is Used for Applique?

You can use a machine or hand in an applique. It is a lot easier and fun to stitch using your hand entirely. It would help if you had a needle and a thread and the necessary stitching skills, and you are good to go.

The most popular hand stitches are the straight stitch, the applique stitch, blanket stitch, and running stitch in appliqueing.

1. Straight Stitch

It is easy to come up with a straight stitch. This pattern is simple and sturdy.

2. Blanket Stitch

A blanket stitch will give you a decorative edge. There are a variety of ways you can use a blanket stitch to embellish your fabric. They include simple blanket stitch, double blanket stitch, and uneven blanket stitch, among others. This stitch works best for thick materials.

3. Running Stitch

It is among the most popular hand stitches, and it is easy to use. If you are a beginner, this will save up on your time because it is pretty straight forward. For a running stitch, move your needle up and down the applique leaving an even space between the stitches.

Running Stitch

4. Applique Stitch

You can also call it a blind stitch. As the name suggests, it will most likely disappear the stitches, making it perfect for hand applique.

What Are the Types of Applique?

There is a wide range of appliques you can use. Appliqueing is fun and engaging, and you may not go wrong with any of the available techniques. However, depending on the applique you use, the result will be different from another. Some methods will give you a fancy final look while, in others, it will be explicit.

So, choose the applique that you feel most convenient. Moreover, you can play around with a few until you get the best. Below are the different types of applique.

1. Raw-Edge Applique

This applique is best for small projects. It involves sewing the applique pieces onto a background fabric without finishing the edges. However, you can do this by machine or hand.

2. Machine Applique

This applique will sew in the thread all around the raw edges of the applique pieces. The finishing of the details is therefore neat and stays in place. Use a zigzag stitch to ensure that the edges of the stitch are smooth.

3. Hand Applique

Here you only need a needle and a thread to stitch. You can easily sew the shape you want to fabric using various ways. If you are looking at getting an invisible stitch, consider using the blind stitch.

hand Stitch

4. Felt Applique

For this applique, it works best when hand sewing it following the blanket stitch, but a machine is still okay. Using felt applique will give you a neat edge. You need not finish or turn it since it doesn’t unwind. It is an easy applique technique.

5. Reverse Applique 

In this applique, you pretty much apply what the name suggests. So, don’t stitch the applique pieces on top of the background fabric. Instead, layer them together then sew the emblem on top. After this, remove the parts of the material to display the fabric below.

6. Fused Applique

Using the fusible web in the form of iron-on adhesive adds beautiful details to your fabric. It is quick to create a beautiful design using this method. In this applique type, you fuse the fabric shape to the top of the material. You do this using the web. Then, use a machine to stitch the top to keep the fabrics together. You will get a perfect design at the end.

Fused Applique

7. Decorative Stitch Applique

Applique is mostly about the experiments; try this option in your sewing machine. It will give you a distinctive design from that of your fabric. If you are well-conversant with a sewing machine, then try out this option.

Which Stitch Should I Use for Machine Applique?

The zigzag or satin stitch and buttonhole or blanket stitch are the most common machine applique. A satin stitch comprises thick zigzag stitching that you sew closely together. Firstly, to form a blanket stitch, make a straight stitch along the applique’s outer edge. Then make a perpendicular stitch following the shape of the applique.

Should I Use Machine Applique or Hand Applique?

Both methods are effective and will help you create the design you need. If you want a faster way to stitch machine applique will save a significant amount of time, then machine applique is best. But ensure you master all the necessary sewing skills before sewing. The best method will also depend on the design you want and your project.

Final Thoughts!

When choosing the stitch to use for applique, first consider the method you want to incorporate. Your sewing skills are also vital in the kind of stitch you will use. All in all, ensure that the final design you come up with is admirable and unique. Happy appliqueing!



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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