The Swatch of the Month for April allows you the opportunity to experiment with a basic, traditional appliqué technique in our Anna’s Garden stencil design. Appliqué is a way of “applying” one fabric on top of another. We use appliqué for many reasons – to add color, texture, dimension, and more elaborate design work to a piece. You can use any number of stitches to appliqué your top design to the bottom fabric. Here, we demonstrate the most common way that we add an appliquéd element to a base fabric: a simple parallel whipstitch.

Detailed instructions on appliqué techniques can be found in Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Match up each appliqué shape with its correct position as you cut it to avoid creating a complicated puzzle for yourself. Take care to position your appliqué pieces precisely by pinning each cut shape of the stenciled design into place. Then, stitch each appliqué shape to your fabric using a parallel whipstitch, which will attach your appliqué pieces securely.



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 using a basic appliqué technique, follow the instructions for appliqué on page 100 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. Here, our swatch color choices of Black with Navy appliqué emphasize the stencil’s intricate, but delicate design.


Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Top layer – Navy
Backing Layer – Black
Stencil – Anna’s Garden
Treatment – Appliqué
Button Craft thread – Navy #13
Knots – inside

For those following along with our Swatch of the Month projects, you have likely already tested your hand at reverse appliqué, outside reverse appliqué, and beaded embroidery. Follow our Journal posts each month for illustrations of each technique and occasional project ideas for your finished swatches, like March’s DIY Swatch Pillows.

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