Reclaimed Fabric Appliques

One of the fastest and easiest ways to give a plain piece of clothing a new look is the use of fabric appliques. I’ve been collecting appliques for decades. I’ve bought appliques now and then at good clearance sales, and have even reclaimed some from sweaters, jackets and dresses I’ve bought at garage sales or vintage shops. I tend to buy black appliques more than any other color, but I do have several appliques in white and beige.

Occasionally, I’ve come across an unusual collar, like the large black beaded collar piece pictured here. This beaded collar is from a sweater I bought at a vintage shop. I sewed the beaded collar piece onto a black blouse I have and wear it with a black/brown print jacket. Appliques are very easy to sew and tack onto any piece of clothing. You can use a matching color thread and depending on the thickness of the fabric, use a heavy duty thread for heavy fabrics (like denim), or a lighter thread for delicate fabrics (like silk). Another great advantage of enhancing any article of clothing with an applique is that it’s not permanent, so if you should ever find a more beautiful applique, you can always remove it and sew on the new one in its place.

Sometimes you may come across a damaged dress or blouse that is very ornate with beautiful features, but it’s bottom edge is ripped or mangled. Well you can still reclaim the dress or what have you by cutting out the ornate applique features and using those cut pieces as appliques on your own article of clothing. Appliques are easy to sew onto any blouse, sweater, dress, jacket or even a purse because they are already affixed to a sturdy mesh backing. Most appliques are so beautiful that you can also use them in an art project. So the uses for these appliques are limited only to your imagination.

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