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How to Sew Applique By Hand

Since a lot of my projects include Appliqués, I thought I’d make a quick video to show you how to do hand applique stitches. The word “applique” makes it sound so scary, bit it’s really very easy when you do it this way. You can make so many things with appliqué, from embroidery hoops to cute t-shirts. I just love the personal touch that an appliqué adds! If you find this post useful, make sure to take a look at my How to Embroider for Beginners series.

How to Applique By Hand

(This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended.)

Supplies Needed to do Applique Stitches by Hand

Watch Video: How to Hand Applique

Watch my “How to Applique By Hand” video below or head over to YouTube to watch it there.  Hope you find it useful.  Remember that whatever pattern you trace will be reversed when you cut it out since you iron the interfacing on the back.  Hope that makes sense.  Let me know if you have any questions about the process.

How to Applique by Hand Step by Step

  1. Trace your appliqué shapes onto the paper side of the interfacing. Shapes should be reversed/mirrored on the pattern.
  2. Cut a piece of fabric slightly larger than the piece of interfacing and iron it, paper side up, onto the back of the fabric.
  3. Cut out the shape.
  4. Peel off the paper backing.
  5. Place the pieces, interfacing side down, on your main piece of fabric. Iron them down. If layering the shapes, iron one shape at a time.
  6. Stitch around the edge of the shape with a running stitch, back stitch, or blanket stitch.

Hand Applique FAQs

How many strands of thread do you use for applique?

Using 2 or 3 strands of thread is best for applique.  If you really want the stitches to stand out, you can use all 6 strands, but it will be more difficult to get the thread through the fabric.

Which hand stitch is used for applique?

The most common stitches used for applique are a running stitch, back stitch, or blanket stitch.

How far apart should applique stitches be?

Applique stitches should be anywhere from ⅛ to ¼ of an inch apart depending on the look you want.  Keep in mind that stitches on curves will need to be shorter than stitches on straight edges.

If you are looking for the fairy tale embroidery patterns in the video, you can find those here.  Also check out my other hand embroidery designs for more inspiration.

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Friday 2nd of February 2024

Great instructions. Love the patterns. Thank you. It will be great fun to do.


Sunday 14th of May 2023

love your instructions and patterns


Friday 10th of March 2023

Dear Jessica, thanks so much for the applique instructions. Love the fact you made the process so clear. Also, thank you so much for the free patterns.

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Tuesday 25th of April 2023

So glad it was helpful!

Katy Robbins

Thursday 12th of August 2021

I absolutely LOVE this blog!! So helpful! Thank you!

Sharon Lee

Monday 25th of January 2021

I just bought the Home PDF Hand Embroidery Pattern. After reading a review indicating that the instructions for "the use of the adhesive backing and pattern tracing" was vague, I was hesitant to buy the pattern. I am very glad to have proceeded to buy! Although I have not started on the project, I have read through your instructions and found that the instructions are detailed very clearly and in no way vague. I appreciate very much the detailed instructions for the applique and the basic embroidery. Thank you!

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Thursday 28th of January 2021

Oh thank you! I read that review and was thinking, "That's why I include a link to a video!" Haha! Glad you still bought it and didn't think the instructions were vague.

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