THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

August 14, 2006

Ultrasuede Reverse Applique

Filed under: Embellishment,Tutorials — Gigi @ 10:05 am

This is a really fun – and easy! – technique for reverse applique using Ultrasuede or real leather or suede. You can even use other non-ravelling fabrics such as felt. You will need:

*Freezer paper that has one waxed side (I use Reynolds)
*Xacto knife – I like blade #11 as it is very sharp and fine
*washable glue stick (I buy them in bulk at an office supply store)
*pencil or pen for tracing
*straight stitch or open toe presser foot

Here, I am working on a pillow for my son’s bed. He requested an old English initial. The red fabric is Ultrasuede Light, the backing fabric is an upholstery-weight microsuede.

Step 1: Cut your freezer paper to fit the fabric section you are working on. Trace a reverse image of your design onto the paper side of the freezer paper. If you have a light box you can use it – I tape mine onto a glass door for tracing.

Step 2: Press the freezer paper onto the back of your fabric or leather using a dry iron.

Step 3: Using the Xacto knife and a cutting mat (or wood cutting board), carefully cut your design out. Notice here that part of my design will be lost once the main letter is cut out. I will applique that piece back on later. Once you have finished cutting out your design you can peel off the freezer paper. If you are working on a complex design you may want to remove the paper one section at a time.

Step 4: Carefully trace around the edges of your cut out design with the glue stick. Apply backing fabric and allow to dry (I’m impatient so I hurry it along with my iron).

Step 5: Straight stitch around all edges. You may need to use the awl to hold down the very small points as you sew. Pull all thread tails to the back and tie off.

Step 6: Carefully trim away excess fabric. That’s it, you’re done!

And, thank goodness, this concludes my back-to-school sewing! While most of you were making great new clothes for your kids to wear I was making a tailored bed skirt and pillows. I have to admit, I don’t love Home Dec. sewing but sometimes that’s the only way to get exactly what you want~


  1. What a great tutorial, thank you!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — August 14, 2006 @ 8:18 am

  2. Thanks for the tutorial.

    Comment by Els — August 14, 2006 @ 10:33 am

  3. Really great Gigi!

    Comment by Phyllis — August 14, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

  4. Pretty, pretty set! DS is lucky. This tutorial makes me wonder why I’m sitting at this computer right now, I could be doing something wonderful for someone. :O

    Comment by Mary Beth — August 14, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

  5. This tutorial is exactly what I needed for a project in the planning stages. I have to make display tablecloths for a taxidermist and wanted to do some reverse applique. Thank you so much!

    Comment by Tina — August 14, 2006 @ 6:27 pm

  6. Gigi, thanks for the reverse applique instructions. Have you ever used layers of silk and reverse appliqued on a cotton backing? Check out the beautiful art created by Tim Harding. I’d love to learn how to create something like that for my plain walls. Thanks.

    Comment by silk lover — August 16, 2006 @ 10:08 am

  7. Gig, this is awesome, and so easy. Thanks for the instructions.

    Comment by MaryT — September 15, 2006 @ 11:13 am

  8. How do you sew micro suede or ultra suede? Type of needle, thread? Thanks

    Comment by yvonne mccallister — June 11, 2008 @ 3:55 am

  9. Yvonne, I use regular long-staple polyester sewing thread (either Gutermann or Metrosene) and a microtex needle. Stretch needles will also work.

    Comment by Gigi — June 11, 2008 @ 11:21 am

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