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Reverse Applique by Nicole Samuels 10/18/2009

It's a super dreary day here in Va. Dark, rainy, and brrrr...cold. A great day to do some scrapping, and that's exactly what I did! I thought I'd share a fun technique I've been trying lately. It's actually a sewing type of thing, but I decided to try it with paper too and it worked! So here goes....

It's called reverse applique. Basically it's the opposite of regular applique in which you would apply or sew a design/fabric on TOP of another fabric. Instead, reverse applique is when the design or fabric you are highlighting is actually sewn BENEATH the other fabric. Then, in order to see the desired design/fabric....you cut away the top layer to reveal the one beneath. Make sense? I saw this in a family magazine over the summer and thought it was a really cute and easy way to spruce up a kid's t-shirt. I only just tried it a few weeks ago though for a project I'm leading in my MOPS group. Here's what we are making... canvas tote bags for the kids.


And here's a little newborn onesie I made for fun. For my sister's baby girl!


So, I thought I'd try this with a medium more near and dear to my heart... PAPER! But I wanted to start small so I did a card rather than a whole layout. Here's what I started with....


cardstock card, square piece of light weight and light colored patterned paper to fit front of card, and a piece of fabric. You'll also need some adhesive for fabric (whatever you like best) and a needle and thread.

Put aside the card...you won't need that until the very end. The apple design on the fabric is what I want to highlight on my card, so I cut it out from the bigger piece of fabric and left a little bit of a border around all edges of the apple. This is important so that you have some fabric to sew into.

Next you need to position the design underneath the paper. Here's the fabric and paper upside down. Glue them together, but be sure to just glue around the outer edges of the fabric, leaving your design (apple) unglued. You don't want that part to stick to the paper.


Now you need to trace or free hand draw your stitching lines on the paper. I wanted to outline the apple shape so I held my paper/fabric piece up to a window so I could see through it and traced it with a pencil. This is why you need a lighter piece of paper for this. But if you were just freehanding a design or shape over maybe a striped or polka dot fabric...you wouldn't have to see through it. Does that make sense? I made sure to trace a little OUTSIDE the edges of the apple design to make sure I got it all.


(I actually traced mine before gluing it together...which was not so smart!)
Next comes the sewing. Just do a simple stitch. Any type will do! Here's mine after this step...


This next step is the best part...getting to see the fabric again! I used a needle to pull the paper up and away from the fabric beneath it. Then I ripped the paper so that I could fit my scissors in there. Very carefully snip away the paper right up to the stitched border. You are cutting INSIDE the stitched shape!


There's my pretty apple!


Finally, I glued the paper/fabric reverse appliqued piece onto my cardstock card and added a pretty rub-on. Here's the finished product....



And that's it! Pretty easy, right? There are so many amazing fabrics out there with designs that are begging to be cut out and used this way. Or you can use a more toned down fabric with polka dots or stripes and then stitch your own design on top (like I did with my tote bag). Hope you give it a try sometime!