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Skirt Hem Appliqué

Appliqué is the process of adding a fabric to the surface of another fabric. It is great for upcycling a garment or making a repair look pretty. This skirt uses a hand-stitched style of appliqué to affix the circle motif to the hem line.



Skirt or garment to upcycle or repair

Selection of printed fabrics

Accent fabrics, print cottons, 6in (15cm) square x 2

Iron-on removable interfacing for templates (e.g. Vlieseline® Fuse’n’Tear)

Sewing thread in complementary colour

Pearl cotton in complementary colour



Paper for templates



Sewing needle, general purpose


Sewing needle, embroidery



Custom size


Gather stitch

Running stitch

Straight stitch


1. Using a compass and a pencil, draw circles of 2in (5cm) and 13⁄4in (4.5cm) in diameter on to a piece of paper and cut them out. Using these as templates, transfer the shapes on to a sheet of iron-on removable interfacing and cut the required number of circles for the motifs— this pattern uses six large circles and five small circles.
2. Place the fusible side of the interfacing on the wrong side of the accent fabric and, following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse into place. Cut the fabric into circles around the interfacing, adding a 1⁄4–3⁄8in (5–10mm) seam allowance.

Simple Hand Sewing

3. Thread the needle with sewing cotton and work around the outer edge of the fabric in long gather stitches.

Simple Hand Sewing
4. Draw up the gather stitches to pull the fabric neatly around the circle of interfacing, and fasten off to secure the shape.

Simple Hand Sewing
5. Press the circle to neaten, then remove the tear-away interfacing through the hole on the back of the circle. Repeat to create the remaining circle motifs.
6. Place the circle motifs along the hem and pin into place. You can overlap some of these motifs as desired.

Simple Hand Sewing
7. Thread the needle with sewing cotton and knot. Using the tip of the needle to ensure that the seam allowance is pushed under, work around the motifs in slip stitch to secure them in place. Working through the fold of the seam allowance of the circles and through the garment fabric directly below, the stitches will be virtually invisible. Where circles overlap, work through all the layers under the uppermost circle.

Simple Hand Sewing
8. Once all the circles are secured, thread the embroidery needle with the pearl cotton and begin working an outline of running stitches around the entire motif.

Simple Hand Sewing
9. Press the garment fully and ensure that all threads are knotted and ends trimmed.

Mindful Stitching

Giving a new lease of life to a favourite garment is a very satisfying process, and is a chance to experiment with different sewing techniques.


Using a template to create the appliqué motifs is a great way to keep them looking neat—remember to remove the template before applying to the garment. 

When working around the completed motifs in running stitch, you can mark out the stitching lines with an air-/water-erasable marker.


This project is from Simple Hand Sewing by Laura Strutt. To get more free projects like this one - direct to your inbox - sign up to our mailing list here.

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