What Materials Are Used for Applique?

There is no limit to creativity when creating something beautiful using a sewing machine. Most of us think that a sewing machine can only be used to do tedious stitching work, but it’s not the truth at all.

There exists a technique called Applique in which we create a beautiful and eye-catching design. Like this creative bird in the image, we can create many innovative designs according to our imagination.

Applique is a sewing technique where you stitch smaller and different fabric pieces to the large piece of fabric to make a unique pattern or design. 

This ornamental needlework is quite famous worldwide, but it derived its roots from French culture. The name means something to be applied in French.

When it comes to Applique work, it employs a significant amount of stitches to attach the applied pieces to the key material. The most common stitches are straight and running stitches. 

Let’s learn more about Applique and materials that can be used for Applique.

What is Applique?

Applique is a needlework technique where we attach different shapes on a host or base fabric and create patterns and designs. The base fabric is bigger, and we attach small pieces to it.

If you are looking to create something new and eye-catchy, you should try your hand on Applique. You can make any texture and pattern you want. 

All you need is a sewing machine and specific materials and tools to create the pattern and shapes you desire. Decide what you want to make, design it on paper and then start fabricating clothing pieces to create patterns and designs, which will then be attached to bigger clothing. 

Even quilters use Applique to achieve depth and texture for their quilting project.

Everyone uses applique work to design exclusive and creative clothing. With tremendous technological advancement and modern embroidery, applique work is done with many types of threads today. You will need to know all about Applique work before working with it. Let’s dive right in!

Applique vs. Embroidery

Both Applique and embroidery are different. They can look the same for a novice, but they are different.

Applique is a needlework technique that involves sewing embroidered fabrics to the base fabric. 

On the other hand, Embroidery is an embroidering process that employs different types of stitches to create various designs.

Embroidery is comparatively easier than Applique because you can easily remove it from the fabric. Applique techniques are more complicated because you have to cut away extra fabric and stitch it back with sewing threads to hide them.

Are Applique and Patching the Same?

Most newbies who don’t know much about quilting, patching, and Applique seem to use the same technique. These both are ancient sewing techniques that are still used today. 

Applique and patching are not identical. They both are different. Let’s see their definition.

Applique is a sewing technique where we use small pieces of fabric and sew them on a larger piece of background fabric.

Whereas Patching, also known as piece work, is a method where we use small pieces of fabric to sew them together and create a more extensive project such as a quilt. 

Materials used in Applique

Applique can be used on many materials such as linen, silk, cotton, and wool. There are some machines that you can use on fabric and many different needles. You can use tear-away, iron-on, cut-away, mesh, or soluble interfacing.

You need to buy some materials to do the applique process. Let’s have a look at them.

  • Background fabrics
  • Applique pieces
  • Interfacing
  • Needles
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Fabric scissor
  • Fray Check
  • Press cloth
  • Seam ripper
  • Carbon paper and tracing paper.

Updated List of Fabrics required in Applique

If you don’t want much hassle, you can always buy pre-cut applique pieces for your project. If you want to perform the applique process with your own hands, there are many fabrics available in the market. Let’s have a look at them.

I. Natural fabrics

Natural fabrics are the best option for you when it comes to Applique. Due to their ability to be sturdy fabric, they will have no problem in supporting decorative stitching.

You can use natural fabrics for your background too. They will be an excellent choice for background material too. 

Some examples of natural fabrics are-

  • Linen
  • Wool
  • Cotton
  • Silk

II. Blended fabrics

If you don’t want pure cotton or synthetic fabric, you can go for blended fabrics. Blended fabrics are a mixture of natural and synthetic fabrics.

Blended fabrics are solid and sturdy.

Fabrics like Cotton/Linen blend or Cotton/Polyester blend can be used for applique projects. You can use many more types of blend material too.

You can always go for a different percentage mixture of other fabrics according to your need.

III. Synthetic fabrics

Synthetic fabrics can also be used for applique projects. For example, rayon and polyester are synthetic fabrics.

The only point you should keep in mind is their strength; The fabrics should have good strength as they need to support the stitching and won’t fray badly.

Can I use any Random Material?

The truth is that you do not need to use any specific material. However, you must know how your stitching will react to different materials.

If you’re using a cheaper fabric, you will have to use more stitches to ensure it does not unravel or fray after your applique work is complete.

For example, if you have an applique design made out of thin lace and another made out of thick lace, the latter will require more stitches to not fray or tear when it’s washed or worn.

Just keep in mind that it can be used as long as your fabric is strong and has a close weave. 

Your background fabric also needs to be strong to support the applique piece you are going to attach to it.


So now we know that Applique is a decorative sewing technique often used to create a patchwork design.

We have talked about different fabrics that can be used for the applique process. The only thing we need to keep in mind regarding the material is that it should have strength. As long as the fabric is strong, it can be used in the applique process.

I hope you like the information provided

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