December’s Desktop of the Month highlights an elaborate modification of a traditional embroidery technique, negative reverse appliqué.

Negative reverse appliqué looks much like traditional appliqué, but is worked slightly differently. Here, we stencil the top layer of fabric, then place it on top of the backing fabric. We then use a straight stitch to attach the top layer of fabric to the bottom layer, and cut away the top layer of fabric, leaving a 1/4” sliver of top-layer fabric beyond the stitching line.

The choice of textile paint used to transfer the stencil is important. You can opt for a paint color that will provide distinct contrast and highlight the stencil design, or a more subtle color that draws attention to the stitching technique.

In this photograph, our Facets stencil is shown in black, with the top layer stenciled in silver. The bright textile paint stands apart from the dark fabric and creates a beautiful, shimmering effect. This piece shows one of many options you can select when creating your own Handmade Holiday DIY item or Custom DIY kit.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Backing layer – Black
Top layer – Black
Stencil – Facets
Treatment – Negative reverse appliqué (instructions available in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design)
Textile paint – Pearl Silver
Button Craft thread – Black #2
Knots – Outside

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