Fabrics make or break applique designs. One thing that makes applique so much fun is that it is easy to change just by using different fabrics.

Bird and Lobster Applique Machine Embroidery Designs

Tone-on-Tone Fabrics

Tonal fabrics like marbles and batiks are ideal for applique. The soft transitions blend nicely and do not detract from the overall design.

The baby cardinal, left, part of the Birds of a Feather set and the lobster, right, part of the Down by the Bay applique set both show ideal fabric choices. Satin stitching matches tonal colors in the fabrics beautifully.

Jacobean Hummingbird Machine Embroidery Applique Set

In these samples from the Jumbo Jacobean Hummingbird collection, regular and watercolor batiks imitate the iridiscent qualities of hummingbirds.

Fabric Prints

Simply Baltimore Crazy Cats Applique Set

Print sizes of fabric also make a difference in applique. The small prints used in the Simply Baltimore Applique Set 2, left, are the perfect scale for these delicate applique buds and leaves. A larger print would overpower the design.

At right, above, the cat from the Crazy Cats Applique set has a large open area, easily pulling off a bigger paisley print.

Applique Fabric Tips

Fabric scraps are ideal for applique designs. To help with selection,

  • Keep scraps separated by colors. Plastic zip bags work well for small quantities while larger quantities can be kept in plastic storage boxes, bins, or baskets.
  • Keep fabrics from the same manufacturer grouped together within their color scheme.
  • Keep a record of preferred thread/fabric combinations in your embroidery journal.
  • As with all fabrics, keep scraps out of sunlight to prevent bleaching.

Experiment and have fun!