How to Embroider Applique Letters

Written by kate bruscke
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How to Embroider Applique Letters
Embroider appliques to decorate pillows, clothing and quilts. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Applique, the art of adding embellishments and shapes -- such as letters -- cut from fabric onto a background of another fabric, is a time honoured tradition in decorative sewing and quilting. To attach appliques to background fabric, you use a basic embroidery stitch which tacks down the edge of the applique while adding an attractive border. You can use thread that matches the colour of the letters or a contrasting colour to draw attention to the stitches.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Fabric letter applique
  • Background fabric, such as a pillowcase or shirt
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread in contrasting or matching colour
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Pin the letter applique in place using straight pins.

  2. 2

    Cut a length of thread approximately twice the length of your arm. Thread it through the needle and tie a knot at the end.

  3. 3

    Pull the thread through the background fabric and applique from the back (wrong side) of the background fabric up through the appliqué, about 1/8 inch from the edge of the appliqué. Tug the thread so the knot is flush against the background fabric.

  4. 4

    Poke the needle back into the fabric, right side to wrong side, just off the edge of the appliqué. Pull the stitch firmly.

  5. 5

    Push the needle back up through the background and appliqué, wrong side to right, poking the needle so it is 1/6 of an inch from the top of the previous stitch, inside the applique.

  6. 6

    Hold the background fabric and appliqué together and pull stitches firmly. Straighten out any puckering.

  7. 7

    Repeat Steps 4, 5 and 6, moving around the edge of the applique.

  8. 8

    Knot the last stitch and clip off excess thread.

Tips and warnings

  • For a clean look, keep your stitches the same size and evenly spaced.

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