Madeira reports that appliqué is becoming increasingly popular for fashion garments, and explains the advantages of this decoration technique as well as introducing its new tear-away appliqué fabrics

Fashion brands are increasingly turning to machine embroidery as an exciting and cost effective way of enhancing new collections. The wide range of embroidery thread types, finishes and thicknesses can be used to create a unique look, meaning the design options are endless, which allows decorators to let their creativity run free.

One on-trend technique is appliqué, (a French term that describes the application of one piece of fabric to the surface of another). Appliqué adds dimension, contrast and texture. Historically, it has been associated with quilting, but now designers and artists are increasingly favouring the technique for fashionwear styles. Custom embroiderers can also benefit from using appliqué as the lower stitch count means production times are reduced and output increased, and lower thread and production costs result in greater profit per garment.

Madeira has introduced a new range of tear-away appliqué fabrics, which are ideal for badges, patches and for direct-to-garment appliqué. Rasotex offers a slightly textured, soft woven fabric finish; Tex Cotton, a velvety flocked finish with a woven back; Pelltex, a shiny leatherette finish; Vellutex, a soft velvet feel; and Glitterlux a smooth, glittery finish.

These fabrics are not limited to decorating clothing; they are ideal for accessories, bags and caps, with the different finishes offering the potential for unique looks that can be efficiently achieved.

Clockwise from top left: Madeira’s new tear-away appliqué fabrics: Rasotex, Pelltex, Vellutex and Glitterlux

Top tips

Here are some key pointers for using Madeira’s tear-off appliqué fabrics to create those unique looks effectively and efficiently:


Needles – a size 60 or 70 sharp point needle is recommended to create a clean appearance


Be sure to include a running stitch just on the inside of your satin stitch border. This will lock the appliqué in the centre of your design. Remember, these are tear-away fabrics and the border is designed to sufficiently perforate the fabric so that the excess can be easily removed. Without this anchoring running stitch inside, the appliqué fabric may become loose with washing


Once the design has been embroidered the excess fabric can easily be removed by making an initial cut up to the satin stitched border. Then just follow the contour of the design and the rest will smoothly pull away with no trimming required


Badges or patches can be applied by either sewing directly onto the garment or adhered using a product such as Heatseal Film, which, to all intents and purposes, is glue on a sheet.


  • Start with a placement line in running stitch the shape and size of the design
  • Insert a stop function on your machine and place the appliqué fabric down
  • Tack the fabric in place with a running or zig zag stitch 2mm from the outside edge of the fabric
  • The back of the appliqué fabric can be sprayed with temporary adhesive to hold it in place before being tacked down: this is particularly useful for items such as baseball caps on a rounded frame
  • Finally, embroider a 3mm wide satin stitch border: this should cover the placement and tack down lines, and will finish off the design with a nice, clean edge
  • The most popular way of cutting appliqué is with a laser cutter, although smaller projects can be cut out by hand