Daily Archives: July 14, 2010

Art with My Needle ~ Week 46

Today time is short for me and I am running late….  so in order not to disappoint I will show a sample of reverse appliqué.

It is simply machine stitched using three layers of felt on a base layer of leather.  Have I shown this before?  I hope not as I don’t have time to go back and check this morning.

Another sample, this time in crepe paper to work out the layers, colours and pattern.  It is a good idea to do this before cutting into precious fabric.  With the paper or a firm fabric it may not be necessary to fold under a hem.

These pieces were as a result of reading about the “mola”, it forms part of the traditional costume of a Kuna woman in Panama.  In Dulegaya, the Kuna’s native language, “mola” means “shirt” or “clothing”.

Molas have their origin in the body painting. Only after the colonization by the Spanish and contact with missionaries the Kuna started to transfer their traditional geometric designs on fabric, first by painting directly on the fabric and later by using the technique of reverse application. It is not known for certain when this technique was first used.


With this technique, you can use three to five layers of fabric.

Want to know how to get started?


Transfer your pattern to the right side of the fabric that will be on the top layer. You can trace, mark, or draw freehand, whichever works best for you. This transferred marking will be the seam line for each cut shape.  Then draw a dotted line 1/8 inch away from the seam line, using a pencil or chalk. This will be your cut line.  Cut along the dotted cut line.
Clip inside curves and notch outside curves to seam allowance. Clip inside corners to seam allowance, and square off outside corners. This technique will help your reverse appliqué lay flat when it is sewn together.

Layer the pieces of fabric, all of which should be right side up. Pin together.

Blind stitch together by hand, using the tip of your needle to pull the top fabric under to the seam line, or top stitch by machine, along the seam line. Use a tight zigzag stitch if machining.  Now that the reverse appliqué step has been completed, use your other crafty techniques to make your project into something special. Finished reverse appliqué pieces can be simply framed or used in quilts, hot plate holders and clothing.


Catch you later, when I slow down…..!