How to Attach A Crochet Applique

Permanent and removable options for attaching appliqués

Crochet flower applique
Adrienne Bresnahan / Getty Images

There are so many cute crochet appliqués that you can make. They are fun to make since they come in great little shapes and they work up quickly so you can make a lot of them in no time at all. And there are so many things that you can do with crochet appliqués, adding them to any project at all to give it a different style or a bit of flair. But, in order to add crochet appliqués on to your other crochet projects, you need to know how to attach them.

Here's your guide!

FAQ About Attaching Appliques

If you've never attached a crocheted applique to a craft project, you might have questions about how to do it. Some of the most common questions are:

  • Should you use yarn, or thread to do the stitching?
  • What kind of needle do you use?
  • What color do you use?
  • Do you sew on the wrong side or the right side?
  • What sewing techniques should you use?
  • Are there ways to attach appliqués that aren't as permanent as sewing?

Although there are certainly plenty of right answers to each of these questions, the truth is that there is no single "correct" or "incorrect" way of approaching the task of attaching a crocheted applique onto a craft project. Usually, there are several different approaches you could take for any given project. Knowing a few different possibilities allows you to make the right choices.

A Note About Materials

You only need a few simple materials to attach appliqués.

Yarn vs thread

You can use either yarn or thread to attach your applique. In general, it is recommended that you use the same type of yarn or thread you used to crochet either the appliqué itself, or the item you will attach it to. If you used two or more different yarns, you'll have to make a decision about which one to use for the stitching.

 There is no "right" answer, just whatever your preference is. In some cases, you may even choose to use a completely different yarn from that used in the project just because you like it better.

Note: You can leave long ends at the beginning and ending of each crochet motif and use those ends as the yarn for attaching the appliqué. Crafternoon Treats has a great example of this for sewing on crochet daisy appliqués.

Sometimes you will attach an appliqué to an item that isn't crocheted. If you're attaching a crocheted applique to a sewn item like a purse, you might want to use sewing thread to attach the appliqué. Play with different materials over time to get a sense of the right options.

Needle or hook

When using yarn, a large tapestry needle is usually a good choice for stitching. It is also possible to do some appliqué attachments with a crochet hook but this guide covers how to sew appliqués on so a tapestry needle will make the most sense.

Basics of Attaching a Crochet Applique

The most common method of attaching a crochet appliqué to another item is to adhere it to the front of that item. Here are the basics:

  • Place the appliqué where you want to attach it. You may want to use a safety pin or two to hold it in place while you work although this is not required.
  • Thread your tapestry needle with the yarn or thread you are using for attachment.
  • Pull the thread through the back of the work, towards the front, through the appliqué, leaving a knot of thread at the back of the work (which you can weave in later). You have now begun securing the appliqué to the item.
  • Work carefully around the appliqué making neat, even sewing stitches. You will move a little bit over (to the left or right as you prefer) and insert the thread down through the appliqué back to the back of the work, move a little over and bring it back up to the front through the appliqué, etc. You can use the stitches of the appliqué itself or the project you're adhering it to as a guide for making evenly spaced stitches.

Which Side Do You Sew From?

You can sew your appliqué on from the right or wrong side of the item.

It is common to attach it from the right side, especially as a beginner, so you can see what the work looks like as you are stitching. If the item is reversible, it is smart to regularly flip it over and view it to make sure it looks good from both sides. That said, this is up to personal preference.

Sewing a Crochet Applique Onto a Scarf

If you're attaching an applique onto a scarf or other reversible item, your stitches will be visible from both sides of the work. You'll have to stitch carefully, and you'll have to decide which color yarn or thread to use when you stitch.

One solution is to choose a sewing thread that matches your scarf, and to sew tiny stitches through the back of the applique, without bringing your needle all the way through the applique. This way, the stitches are not visible on the applique itself. This will make the item entirely reversible.

Another solution is to use the same color yarn as the scarf, and to stitch around the applique using a decorative stitch such as the blanket stitch. This works well with appliques that aren't too detailed -- basic shapes such as leaves or circles.

A third option is to attach the appliqué in whichever manner you prefer, using a third color of thread. This would give a contrasting design, making the attachment itself a part of the design. This is rarely recommended in crochet patterns but can be fun to try.

Additional Sewing Techniques

Take the time to learn different sewing techniques to enhance your skills. You can use most sewing techniques on crochet. For example, you could whipstitch a crochet appliqué to the front of a crochet blanket. The Perfect Knot has a good example of using top stitching on crochet.

Additional Permanent Adhesives

You don't have to use sewing to attach your crochet appliqués. You could alternatively use other permanent and semi-permanent methods of attaching your appliqué to your item. Fabric glue, craft glue and hot glue are examples that would work.

Removable Crochet Appliques

Do you want your applique to be removable?

Let's say for example you're going to attach a crocheted flower to a crocheted hat. Perhaps you might like to occasionally change your flowers; or perhaps you decorated the flower with something that isn't washable, and you'd like to be able to remove the flower before you wash the hat. If this is the case, you might like to attach your flowers using a method that isn't permanent.

Instead of sewing your appliqué on, you can use Velcro, safety pins or snaps to attach your appliqué. Of course, you will need to attach those items to each piece to be able to use the appliqué. For example, you might choose self-adhesive Velcro that just requires you to peel the back and stick it to the appliqué and the hat for attachment.