“Reverse Applique”

Last week I was making a poncho and using left over fleece to create the neck and binding.  I still had more fleece left, so I decided to add an embellishment to the front of the poncho.  I wanted something simple since fleece has a large amount of stretch and can easily be distorted.  I decided applique would be perfect, but a traditional applique would put a lot of stitching on an already high loft and stretchy fabric.  I decided on reverse applique.  If you have never tried it, I highly recommend it.  Instead of adding fabrics and sewing them down, you sew fabric down and then cut away the top layer of fabric to reveal what lies beneath.  Let me share my process with you.

I looked through some books I have and came across this simple design from Mary Mulari.
I chose the design I wanted and then traced the design onto a piece of light weight cutaway stabilizer.

Once the design had been traced, onto the stabilizer, I attached the stabilizer to the wrong side of my embellishment fleece. 

Attach the stabilizer to the fleece accent fabric by straight stitching around the perimeter. Mark the horizontal and vertical centers.

I then attached the stabilized piece of fleece to the wrong side of the front of the poncho, lining up my vertical and horizontal centers with the markings I had placed on the garment.

Make sure you use lots of pins to keep everything from shifting!
Sew along the design lines. Sew slowly to keep everything accurate.

Once I had finished sewing the lines I wanted to use from the design, I turned the poncho right side out and decided what areas would be cut away. 

The sewn design before any trimming.

Remember, when working with fleece, keep things simple.  Too much detail does not work well with this fabric.  I decided to cut away the largest parts of the design.

When cutting away the top fabric to expose your design, use a pair of tweezers and a sharp pair of applique scissors. Only cut through the top layer of fabric!!
The top layer of fabric is cut away to reveal the accent fleece. This is reverse applique.

Once I had cut away the top fabric to expose the fabric underneath, I added the final embellishment stitching.  I first stitched these lines from the back of the poncho, following the lines I drew from the original design onto my stabilizer.  I used matching thread for my fabric so it wasn’t really noticeable from the front.

Once I had sewn the accent lines with the matching thread from the back of the garment, I changed to a 30 weight cotton thread and used a triple stitch to sew over the first stitching I had done, this time sewing from the right side of the garment.

I then trimmed the stabilizer and fleece on the wrong side of the poncho to within a quarter inch away from the stitching all the way around the design and pressed everything with lots of steam.

The finished product!