How to Make Free-Standing Applique Ornaments


Appliquea is a very versatile machine embroidery technique. Creating free-standing ornaments is fun and easy!

These instructions assume that you already know how to work with templates printed on fusible tearaway, a method I use most often for machine embroidered appliqué.

If you’ve never used this technique, detailed instructions are included in the Appliqué Basics pdf that is included with most Lindee G Embroidery appliqué collections.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to use simple yet creative techniques to expand your embroidery options
  • How to make double-sided free-standing designs with appliqués

Selecting a Design

This technique works best when the satin cover stitching that finishes the appliqué sews last, as it so happens in the gingerbread designs on Gingery Christmas. There are 4 small ginger cookie appliqué designs and 4 larger ones that work well with these instructions.

Gingery Christmas applique designs from LindeeGEmbroidery

You’ll also want to select a design that does not have any stitching extending beyond the fabric appliqué area. If you’re using the “bitten cookie” versions, the crumbs will be lost during the finishing process.

If you are using other appliqué designs, you may want to resequence some stitching or wind matching bobbins for each color change in your design so that the back looks as good as the front.

Tip: If you’re making a free-standing applique from one of the All That Glitters ornament collection, adding a bit of melt-away fabric like nylon organza can make the ornament cap more stable. Read more about applique with Mylar in this blog post: All That Glitters Mylar Christmas Ornaments.

What You’ll Need

  • Small scraps of fabric for front and back of appliqué
  • Cutaway stabilizer (medium to heavy weight)
  • Washaway stabilizer (fiber, not film)
  • Light-weight tearaway stabilizer for printing templates
  • Double-stick (pressure sensitive) fusible web for appliqué (Steam-A-Seam II or Pellon Easy Steam II)
  • 6-8” piece of ribbon for hanger
  • Cellophane tape
  • Small gingerman design from Gingery Christmas by Lindee G Embroidery with templates (now includes files for digital cutters for easy and accurate cutting)
  • Suitable embroidery threads
  • Regular embroidery bobbin thread
  • Bobbin of matching thread for the outer gingerbread color (last color in these designs)
  • Temporary embroidery spray adhesive (“TESA”)

Project supplies


1. Prepare templates.

Print templates onto fusible tearaway and loosely cut around shapes to separate. (See technique in the Appliqué Basics instructions if aren’t familiar with this process.)

2. Prepare fabrics.

Fuse a piece of cutaway to the back of each piece of appliqué fabric using fusible web. Press one template to front of one fabric and one to cutaway of other fabric to make a reversible ornament.

Prepare fabrics

While the cutaway isn’t strictly necessary, it adds extra body and dimension to the design.

Cut out appliqués just to the outside edge of the pattern lines.

You must be accurate in your cutting!

You must be accurate in your cutting!

Cut out pieces. Front is on left, back is on right. The cutaway sides will be sandwiched in the middle.

3. Set up to sew.

Hoop 2 pieces of washaway stabilizer. Sew first color of design (outline).

Placement line (color 1) is stitched directly onto washaway stabilizer.

4. Place ribbon hanger.

Fold a loop of ribbon in half, place cut edges within top outline about 1/2”. Tape in place out of range of needle.

Position ribbon and tape in place, making sure tape is outside of the stitching area.

5. Place top appliqué.

Spray back of top piece with TESA. Remove template from piece and position in hoop within outline.

Position TESA’d front appliqué within stitching lines.

6. Sew the tack down (zigzag) stitch and stop the machine.

Inspect the design to see if any areas extend beyond the tack down and trim off.

Inspect the design after sewing tackdown stitching.

7. Sew design up until last color.

Don’t sew last color! The last color attaches the back of the ornament.

Sew up to the last color change.

8. Place back appliqué.

Remove the hoop from machine. Spray cutaway side of back appliqué with TESA, remove paper template, position appliqué in place, reset the hoop, replace the bobbin with the matching thread, and sew last color.

Back of design Position back appliqué over stitched design on bottom side of hoop.Finished design, front. Finished design back. This sample would looked nicer if I had matched my bobbin thread to the last color.

9. Remove project from hoop and finish.

Trim off excess stabilizer close to the stitching. Remove remaining bits with damp paint brush or sponge. It is not necessary to soak out the remaining stabilizer. If you do, you may find it hard to get your ornament smooth and flat again.



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