09 January 2013

Reverse Applique

One of my quilting goals this year is to work on my Dear Jane Quilt once a week. I have decided to dedicate Wednesday as DJ day. Elly over at the DJRetreats Yahoo Group, very kindly motivates us all by posting a challenge block each week. This week it is I5 'Maria's Majesty'. I decided to reverse applique this one, and thought you might like to see how I do this.

Step one is to trace the pattern from the book onto the dull side of freezer paper, I mark the pieces that will be my focus fabric, so I know which to cut away.
Carefully cut out the marked sections and iron the FP pattern onto the right side of your background fabric. I have cut my fabrics about 1" larger than needed so that I can trim them neatly at the end. Draw around the cut away sections with a fine pencil. You can mark the sections to cut away on the fabric too if you like.
Remove the freezer paper. Place your focus fabric behind your background fabric, right sides up. Pin the two fabrics together carefully from the back.
Gently lift the top fabric and cut away a small section at a time revealling the focus fabric. Be very careful not to cut into the fabric underneath! I use a very narrow 1/8" seam allowance for these small blocks. Turn under your edges and applique in place.
Press when complete and trim any excess fabric from the back, then square up the block.

EDITED - I have been asked how much fabric I cut away from the back. I trim roughly around the outside edge of the shape to reduce bulk, but I don't from behind the oval shapes, the pieces are so small it will make little difference to the bulk and I am worried they will fray.


  1. I'm so happy that you posted this tutorial! I've never done reverse applique before and I'm about to embark on my own Dear Jane journey. This will really come in handy!!

  2. I always made my outside edge pieces larger than they needed to be so I could square up properly - it really helps a lot!

  3. I loved the tutorial but I am unsure of how much fabric you left on the back of the colored fabric. Could you turn the block over?
    thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you Elaine, very interesting. I have printed off the post for future reference.

  5. Thank you so much for the back view!

  6. Great tutorial Elaine :)

  7. Well written tute, Elaine. Thank you for sharing your method.

  8. How is your DJ doing? I have recently started and saw your method of reverse appliqué. Love it! Thank you for the tutorial. Will have to try.