February’s Swatch of the Month illustrates a variation on Alabama Chanin’s basic reverse appliqué technique in our Anna’s Garden design. With a membership in our Swatch of the Month Club, you can try out a different technique each month. You may purchase a Swatch of the Month membership at any point in the year and will receive all swatches from previous months. Follow along on the Journal as we demonstrate some of our most popular embroidery and embellishment techniques.

This photograph shows the second installment of the year: outside reverse appliqué. View January’s swatch—basic reverse appliqué—here. Outside reverse appliqué is very similar to basic reverse appliqué. The only difference between the two techniques is that outside appliqué does not leave any textile paint on the fabric.

Each Swatch of the Month kit comes ready-to-sew with all of the notions needed to complete the project. Just provide your own needles, pins, and scissors. Techniques and instruction can be found in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.




10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatch for top layer
10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatch for backing layer
Anna’s Garden stencil
Textile paint
Spray bottle or airbrush gun, depending on stencil-transfer method
Button craft thread

Basic sewing supplies: pins, needles, embroidery scissors

To create a swatch with outside reverse appliqué, follow the instructions for basic reverse appliqué in January’s Journal entry but place the stitches outlining the stenciled shape 1/8” outside of the stenciled line. Then cut the top layer of fabric on the stenciled line, removing all of the textile paint. Instructions for outside reverse appliqué can also be found on page 98 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Our example of a tone-on-tone color choice creates a subtle shading effect.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Top layer – Navy
Backing Layer – Navy
Stencil – Anna’s Garden
Treatment – Outside reverse appliqué
Button Craft thread – Navy #13
Textile paint color – Pearl Slate
Knots – inside

If you prefer, you can try an alternate technique on your swatch. View Alabama Studio Sewing + Design for instructions on variations like traditional reverse appliqué, negative reverse appliqué, inside reverse appliqué, backstitched reverse appliqué, quilted, or beaded embellishment. You can also experiment with placing your knots on the inside, outside, or a variation of the two.

You can opt to archive your finished swatches in a 3-ring binder and start your own library of design – just as we do at Alabama Chanin. Detailed instructions for this project can also be found in January’s Journal entry. Visit the Journal at the beginning of each month as we demonstrate various projects that you can complete with your finished swatches.

Follow along on social media and on our Journal with the hashtags:

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