Applique Basics

Combine different fabrics, textures, and styles together with embroidery to create dynamic designs for your projects! This tutorial will walk you through the steps for creating applique embroidery with a satin stitch border.

To craft your applique project, you will need:

  • Applique embroidery design with a satin stitch border (I used the Lacy Butterfly design)
  • Fabric or tight lace for your applique shape
  • 40 wt. rayon thread
  • Fabric for your project
  • Printed templates of the dieline files
  • Medium weight cutaway stabilizer
  • Temporary spray adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Air erase marking pen (optional)
  • Heavy Duty Water Soluble Stabilizer (For applique designs using furry fabric)


When choosing your applique fabric, the weave is an important factor to consider. We've used anything from felt, to quilters cotton, to lace! If you would like to use lace, though, make sure you choose a sturdier material to ensure best results.

Let's start with those printed dieline templates...

The dieline files for your applique design come in the zipped file folder and will have "DL" in the filename. You can either print the dielines as paper templates with the assistance of embroidery software, or stitch the dieline directly onto your chosen applique fabric. (Here's how if you need more details.)

Lightly spray the back of your template with temporary spray adhesive and put it onto your fabric.



Carefully cut along the dieline to get your applique shape.

Next, spray your cutaway stabilizer with temporary spray adhesive and adhere it to the back of your project fabric, then hoop both your fabric and stabilizer taut together.



Load the embroidery design file onto your embroidery machine.

The first thing to stitch out is a dieline for your applique placement.

Next, your machine will stop so you can place the applique fabric piece. Lightly spray the fabric piece with temporary spray adhesive and carefully place it within the stitched dieline area.



A tackdown stitch will pin the applique fabric in place for the upcoming embroidered details.

Another color change stop will allow you to choose the remaining colors of the embroidery design.



What you're left with is a beautiful and dynamic embroidery piece! Applique designs can be used on anything from apparel to accessories, decor, and more.

Special fabrics can bring a special dimension to your applique embroidery. This mirror design uses gold lamé to create a shiny effect!




If you're using faux fur fabric for your applique, you'll want to add a water-soluble topping on top of the fabric before embroidering (we used Sulky Solvy). This will help prevent the stitches from sinking into the fabric.

When you are finished stitching the designs, tear away the topping, and use water according to the package instructions to remove any remaining bits of water-soluble stabilizer.




Some applique designs, such as this Brilliant Textures Bird, contain multiple applique pieces. Depending on the design, these pieces may overlap.

In this bird design, the fabric edges also are covered by semi-filled areas of stitching instead of a more traditional satin stitch border.

As with any applique design, follow the color change sheet and lay down each fabric piece after its placement dieline sews, then continue stitching to complete the design.

Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Fancy Bee in Flight (Applique)_image
Fancy Bee in Flight (Applique) $4.99 - $5.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 7.80"w x 5.08"h | 6.81"w x 4.41"h | 5.79"w x 3.74"h
Too-Cool Santa (Applique)_image
Too-Cool Santa (Applique) $5.99 - $6.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.85"w x 9.61"h | 5.55"w x 7.80"h | 4.88"w x 6.81"h
Gilded Poinsettia (Applique)_image
Gilded Poinsettia (Applique) $3.99 - $4.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 7.20"w x 6.85"h | 6.14"w x 5.87"h | 5.08"w x 4.84"h
Summer Chic Seashell (Applique)_image
Summer Chic Seashell (Applique) $3.99 - $4.99
4 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 7.24"w x 6.85"h | 6.18"w x 5.87"h | 5.12"w x 4.88"h | 3.86"w x 3.66"h
Chic Summer Pineapple (Applique)_image
Chic Summer Pineapple (Applique) $4.99 - $5.99
4 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.50"w x 11.77"h | 5.20"w x 9.41"h | 4.29"w x 7.80"h | 3.78"w x 6.85"h
Fluffy Ice Cream Monster (Applique)_image
Fluffy Ice Cream Monster (Applique) $3.99 - $4.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 4.65"w x 9.41"h | 3.86"w x 7.80"h | 3.39"w x 6.85"h | Hand Embroidery
Gilded Rose (Applique)_image
Gilded Rose (Applique) $4.99 - $5.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 8.39"w x 6.89"h | 7.13"w x 5.87"h | 5.87"w x 4.84"h | Hand Embroidery
Hipster Santa (Applique)_image
Hipster Santa (Applique) $3.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 5.43"w x 9.45"h | 4.49"w x 7.80"h | 3.94"w x 6.85"h | Hand Embroidery
Lacy Butterfly (Applique)_image
Lacy Butterfly (Applique) $3.99 - $4.99
4 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 8.82"w x 6.89"h | 7.48"w x 5.87"h | 6.22"w x 4.84"h | 3.90"w x 3.03"h | Hand Embroidery
Meh Conversation Heart (Applique)_image
Meh Conversation Heart (Applique) $1.99 - $2.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 3.90"w x 3.43"h | 2.05"w x 1.81"h | Hand Embroidery
Fox Nature Scene_image
Fox Nature Scene $3.99 - $4.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 4.76"w x 6.85"h | 2.68"w x 3.86"h | Hand Embroidery
Rock Star with Wings (Applique)_image
Rock Star with Wings (Applique) $3.99 - $4.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.50"w x 2.99"h | 3.86"w x 1.77"h | Hand Embroidery
Santa-fy It (Applique)_image
Santa-fy It (Applique) $1.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 3.82"w x 2.87"h | 3.07"w x 2.32"h | 2.56"w x 1.97"h | Hand Embroidery
Thunderbolt (Applique)_image
Thunderbolt (Applique) $1.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 4.29"w x 4.57"h | 2.76"w x 2.95"h | Hand Embroidery
Tentacle Pocket Topper (Applique)_image
Tentacle Pocket Topper (Applique) $3.99 - $4.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.61"w x 5.87"h | 5.51"w x 4.92"h | 3.86"w x 3.43"h | Hand Embroidery
Mirror Mirror (Applique)_image
Mirror Mirror (Applique) $3.99 - $5.99
4 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.89"w x 9.92"h | 5.43"w x 7.80"h | 4.76"w x 6.85"h | 2.91"w x 3.86"h | Hand Embroidery
Fluffy Critters Owl (Applique)_image
Fluffy Critters Owl (Applique) $2.99 - $3.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.89"w x 6.89"h | 5.87"w x 5.87"h | 4.88"w x 4.88"h | Hand Embroidery
Fluffy Critters Cat (Applique)_image
Fluffy Critters Cat (Applique) $2.99 - $3.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 8.90"w x 6.89"h | 7.56"w x 5.87"h | 6.26"w x 4.88"h | Hand Embroidery
Brilliant Anemone (Applique)_image
Brilliant Anemone (Applique) $5.99 - $6.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 9.33"w x 6.89"h | 7.80"w x 5.75"h | 6.57"w x 4.84"h
Brilliant Luna Moth and Blooms (Applique)_image
Brilliant Luna Moth and Blooms (Applique) $5.99 - $6.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 8.74"w x 6.85"h | 7.48"w x 5.87"h | 6.18"w x 4.84"h