The Easiest Way to Hand Applique

11 Jun 2013

Perhaps it's my Scandinavian genes, but there's something about felt appliqué that really gets my heart racing. The charming motifs, the soft felt, and the simple embroidery stitches remind me of my grandmother's kitchen.

hand applique with buttonhole stitch from mollie makes feathered friends
Felt appliqué projects from
Mollie Makes Feathered Friends.
To me, an hour with a few pieces of good-quality wool felt and embroidery supplies is an hour well spent. You can create many different projects with the blanket stitch alone.

You can vary the look of this appliqué technique by changing the size and spacing of the stitches as well as matching the thread to the felt or playing with different color combinations that contrast.

Here are basic instructions for the blanket stitch (also known as the buttonhole stitch).

1. To begin the blanket stitch, find your baseline. In the illustration, the baseline is the dashed line at the bottom of the stitches.

2. Come up at A.

3. Insert the needle into the fabric at B and bring it back out at C. Your working thread must be under the needle so that it catches. The resulting stitch should resemble a backward L.


how to make the blanket stitch
How to make the buttonhole stitch for hand appliqué.
Note: If you are left-handed, the resulting stitch will look like a standard L. Generally, right-handed stitching begins on the left end of the seam and left-handed stitching begins on the right end of the seam.

Now all you need is a hand appliqué or embroidery project on which to practice your skills. I can think of no better source than Mollie Makes Feathered Friends: Creating 18 Projects for the Home, a book full of charming projects and techniques using appliqué, embroidery, and other needlework techniques.

P.S. How do you use the buttonhole/blanket stitch creatively? Leave your comment below.

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SewySu wrote
on 15 Jun 2013 11:04 AM

Very cute...  whimsy and fun.    Thanks for sharing!

Lwallpe wrote
on 15 Jun 2013 11:31 AM

I'd like suggestions as to how to add on thread or end the thread on blanket stitch, particularly on projects that will be viewed from both sides.

Joyce Ford wrote
on 15 Jun 2013 12:38 PM

Thanks for the lesson! I'm still using my Nana's vintage tablecloth with her blanket stitching on the edges. It gives me great joy!