Reverse applique is a great yet simple technique that can be done using running and satin stitch types as well as with most regular applique designs.

If you haven’t yet, check out our step by step tutorial blog on how to stitch out applique designs. Reverse applique is very similar to regular applique, what makes reverse applique different is that your fabric is behind your actual embroidery design; revealing your fun choice of fabric underneath of your beautiful design. Creating reverse applique involves hooping the desired applique fabric under the garment and than trimming the garment for the applique to show through. Here is how you do it:

Step 1: Place the Fabric While Hooping

In the example photo below you can see the red applique material being placed under the denim which is our garment material. Hoop the garment this way and place it on your machine. You don’t need stabilizer since the design only consists of running stitches.

Reverse applique tutorial

Step 2: Sew the Design

Each design should only take a few minutes to sew. When done embroidering, remove the embroidered garment from the hoop.

reverse applique step by step

Step 3: Trim the Design

Turn the garment inside out and trim away the applique using applique scissors. Although this is the inside of the design, you wont see it when the project is finished.

Trimming reverse applique

Step 4: Flip & Continue to Trim the Design

Turn the garment over and carefully trim along the inside edge of the running stitch. This will reveal the applique underneath for a reverse applique effect. How much of an edge you leave will depend on the fringe effect you want. Leaving a wide edge will create a long fringe, while trimming very close to the running stitch will result in a short fraying of the material.

reverse applique trim

Step 5: You’re Done!

This is what the design will look like before you launder it. After you launder the garment the exposed edges will fray.

Hopefully this has helped you better understand a bit more about reverse applique embroidery designs. Remember to have fun learning this new embroidery technique! If you haven’t already tried stitching out your own reverse applique design, click here to view our collection of close to 3000 applique designs you can try this technique on now.

P.S. Want to download 5 of our embroidery designs free including an applique design? Click here to download our Free Embroidery Legacy Design Kit today!