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Adding Color to Your Wardrobe: Custom Fabric Applique Ideas

Appliques are a DIY clothing enthusiast’s dream. Whether they’re made of fabric, beads, vinyl, or whatever else, they’re easy customization tools to work with, letting you make a piece of clothing that you’ve made or bought all your own in just a few easy steps. That’s not, however, the only perk that appliques, particularly the fabric kind, have! The best part of working with appliques is that it’s way easier than you might think to make appliques of your own. We’ve made all different kinds of appliques, including beaded pieces and hand embroidered patches, but our absolute favourite kind to make are the ones made from simple fabric. We just can’t get over the awesomely patched together effect that you get once you’ve affixed them to your base piece!

Check out these 15 tutorials that will pique your interest and have you ready and raring to go by the end of our post when it comes to making fabric appliques of your own!

1. Simple fabric applique heart


Are you brand new to the world of sewing, so you’re still learning about things like shape and pattern cutting, edge finishing, and hand stitching? In that case, you should probably start with a nice, simple project that will give you an awesome finished product without overwhelming you! Check out how Suppose, Create, Delight created this simple, neatly made little heart that contrasts the base fabric it’s been sewn onto.

2. DIY applique dish towels


Maybe you’re very into the idea of making your own appliques from scratch, but your sewing and embroidery skills just aren’t quite there yet? Well, just because you haven’t made a patch or applique yourself doesn’t mean you can’t use store bought or artisan ones to spruce up the things in your wardrobe and around your home! We love the way You Frill Me used these beautifully coloured birds to make their own peace themed tea towel set that will add personality to the kitchen.

3. Thanksgiving applique placemat


Do you like the idea of using patches and appliques to spruce up your kitchen but your tea towels are already cute enough as they are, so you’re looking for something else to get your DIY hands on? Then try turning your attention to your placemats! Cathie Filian suggests attaching an applique of any kind in one corner of each. Their finished product was Thanksgiving themed but, depending on how the appliques you have to work with look, you might make dish towels in any theme, design, or colour scheme you like!

4. Pretty feather applique dish towel


Remember how we said we love working with appliques because we can choose premade ones or make our own from scratch? Well, the latter is exactly what Flamingo Toes did to get these adorable little feathers and we’re especially in love with their idea because the brighter and more patterned you make your feathers, the cooler the finished product will look! That makes this feather dish towel project a great way to use up little fabric scraps that are too small for anything else but too pretty to waste.

5. Fabric applique monogram letters


Monograms are just plain cool and we make things using monograms all the time. There’s just something very cool about being able to personalize a project or piece in such a simple way and we find that monogrammed pieces make our space really feel like we’re at home. That’s why we loved this monogrammed stool idea so much! It looks grand, like an old family heirloom you might find in an estate sale. The Nester guides you through the process of making appliques of your own initials and affixing them to an upholstered stool or chair seat.

6. DIY no-sew vinyl applique baby onesie


Just because you’re working with fabric to make your applique doesn’t mean that your project has to involve sewing! Instead, Siserna shows you how to create your own iron-on appliques so that you can enjoy whatever custom patches you create yourself but without having to embroider around the edges by hand or on difficult machine settings.

7. Fabric applique cards


Did you know that now every project you attach a fabric applique to has to be material based? In fact, one of our very favourite things on this list actually isn’t, even though it actually does involve sewing! Vicky Myers Creations suggests designing and making your own greeting cards by cutting out fabric applique shapes and sewing them onto the front of the card carefully, either by hand or with your machine. The difference in materials creates a cool texture contrast!

8. Faux vintage scrap fabric appliques


When you were thinking of patches and fabric appliques for different DIY projects, were you actually picturing yourself making things a little bit more rustic and vintage looking rather than clean cut and full of bright colours? Then we think you might prefer these material patches made by Crafty Chica instead! They’ve taken older, more worn fabric scraps from past projects, worn and thrifted clothing, and vintage pieces and layered images or patterns over top of contrasting scraps to create cool, unique looing pieces that can be sewn to just about anything.

9. DIY fabric applique age onesies


Are you well versed in the method and technique of making and attaching fabric patches or appliques, and now you’re just looking for new ideas to put your skills to good use? Then try hopping on this awesome baby trend that we (and everyone around us) can’t get enough of! Parents have started taking adorable monthly pictures of their babies to document how they grow and change over their first year and, while there are many different ways people have marked the months, one of the most popular is with labelled onesies. Instead of spending money buying 12 store made onesies, however, we preferred the idea of making our own. Just in case you’re on the same page as us, here’s a tutorial for making it happen on DIY Network!

10. Letter applique key ring


Are you the kind of DIY enthusiast who’s intent on using every last scrap of fabric and thread you’ve collected to make sure you really get your money’s worth from your supplies? Do you feel confident enough in your skills to work in miniature? Then check out how Made to Sew created these adorable little fabric key chains that have monograms stitched right to the front! You’ll have to be detailed in your cutting and stitches working in such a small area, but it’s not as hard as you might think!

11. Fabric animal silhouette onesies


Are you still totally enamoured with the idea of using fabric appliques to customize onesies for your kids but you don’t need month labelled clothes for them right now? Don’t worry, there are lots of other cute onesie designs you can make your kids instead! We love these silhouetted animal pajamas because they’re simple to cut out and sew on since you only have to worry about the outside edges. See how they’re done on Kojo Designs!

12. Fabric patch with denim and buttons


We’ve show you appliques and patches made from all kinds of fabric by this point, but we haven’t shown you anything with denim yet! We actually kind of forgot that denim was a possibility until we came across this cute tutorial from Punk Projects, but we’re certainly glad we found it now. We love the way they sewed buttons in the middle of each house for some cute character and detail. Once you’ve tried this, might you also try making your own contrasting fabric designs on a denim background!

13. DIY applique bunting pillow


Perhaps you’re totally obsessed with the idea appliques right now and you’re open to the idea of making ones that have just about everything going; small sizes, many separate shapes, and even a textured element. In that case, you’re the perfect person to be making yourself these super cute bunting pillows from Interiors by Sarah Langtry! No matter what colour you make your little flags or your string, the effect will look celebratory sitting pertly on your bed or sofa all year round.

14. Hexagon tetris applique tote


Whenever we talk about materials involving material or fabric, we always have to include at least one DIY tote bag. We’re just completely obsessed with them and find ourselves using them for everything, almost every single day. If you ask us, putting your things in a reusable bag is just a little more satisfying when it’s got a cute design, especially if it’s one that you made yourself. That’s why we actually recently followed this tutorial from Vanessa Christenson and made ourselves an adorable hexagon applique bag featuring all kinds of patterns and bright colours from our scrap fabric stash on a very plain, simple bag that we also stitched up ourselves!

15. Patchwork flower applique


Have you seen a few of the layered applique options we’ve shown you so far and been far more taken with how much you like them than you were with the regular, single sheet appliques? We don’t blame you; we’re obsessed with these adorable quilted flower appliques from Handmadiya! Once you’ve learned how to make these, you can employ the same technique to make quilted appliques of all kinds.