Needles, thread, fusible web, and more notions are needed to make decorative stitches.

applique tools and materials
Credit: Johnny Miller

Before you make a single stitch, know this: There's an endless supply of thread, floss, needles, hoops, and other tools to start your appliqué kit. Here are all of the odds and ends you'll need to keep your hands busy, in addition to the motifs you will cut from fabric.

Fusible Web

Made of adhesive backed with removable paper, fusible web is used to attach designs by the iron-on appliqué technique. There are different types of varying strength, including Thermoweb Heat-n-Bond Iron-On Adhesive ($4, or Pellon Fusible Interfacing ($2.60,

Transfer Paper

Once you've determined where to place appliqué designs, you can use this paper, such as Saral Wax Free Transfer Paper ($12.70, to outline the motif onto the background fabric. This method is particularly useful when working with templates that have multiple pieces.


Any all-purpose thread may be used for appliqué. For more decorative stitches, use a thread color that contrasts with your fabric, or try thread with a glossy finish.

Tracing Wheel

Used in conjunction with transfer paper, the pressure from a thin wheel like the Clover Tracing Wheel ($6, helps trace outlines onto fabric to mark the placement of appliqué motifs.

Disappearing-Ink Fabric Pen

This water-soluble pen—try Loops & Threads Disappearing Ink Marking Pen ($7.49,—can be used to trace around templates, or as an alternative to transfer paper to mark the placement of appliqué pieces.

Hand-Sewing Needles

Short needles are best for basting as well as for the fine hand-turn stitches required to attach appliqué pieces to the background fabric. Specialty appliqué needles such as Bohin Appliqué Needles ($2.68, or Fons & Porter's Wool Appliqué Needles ($5, are also available.

Small Pointed Scissors

Appliqué pieces are often small or intricate, and small pointed scissors—such as embroidery shears like the classic Beak Scissors ($20, to accurately clip sharp corners and curves. They can also be used to snip stray threads from appliquéd designs.


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