How to Sew Applique on Clothing


While I love printed fabrics, I also love to play around embellishing other fabrics. Sewing applique on clothing is easy to do and you can get consistent results with just a few tips.



On this top for Chloe I decided to put the flower embellishment on the pockets, and then I played around with another cute shape to look like a stem going down to the hem. (Unfortunately the company that sold this applique design has gone out of business.)

Tips for how to sew applique to clothing


1. Applique is always easier on clothes that haven’t been sewn together yet. You may applique on a garment that you are sewing from scratch, or you may carefully unpick the seams of a ready-made garment to make it easier to sew around the applique.

A pocket like this could also be added to a ready-made tee shirt or dress – so cute! A flat pocket is really just a square or rectangle: Hem the top. Then fold and press the other three edges under (this pocket has one side not folded under because it will be sewn into the shirt’s side seam). When you’re ready to sew the pocket on, just stitch it down along the three folded under sides.



2. Always use something besides pins to hold your applique design to the fabric.

I like to use HeatnBond lite to fuse my design to the fabric so you I sew around it. There are easy instructions on the package. You can stack and fuse multiple pieces right on top of each other before you stitch.


3. If you are sewing an applique to a stretch fabric or other thin fabric, always use a stabilizer on the underside of your design. I like Totally Stable by Sulky. It helps my stitches look nice and tears away easily when my project is done.

More Applique Ideas

Don’t feel like you have to use satin stitch on all your applique projects! For the longest time I shied away from applique because I couldn’t make a nice satin stitch. Then I figured out that it’s way easier to sew applique using a straight stitch or one of the other stitches my machine can do. Messy appliques stitching looks good too! I did it in a blog post {here}. For this top I used a little ‘blanket stitch.’


Then sew your item back together and you’re done!

Happy Sewing!

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂