Jazz Up Appliqué with Variegated Thread

By Lynn Wasinski, Contributing Writer

This sample was created using Stahls’ Ripaway Glitter Flake and a complementary variegated thread. It’s an easy way to introduce color without additional labor.

February 9, 2015

An easy way to introduce more color and add variety to an appliqué design is by using multicolored thread.

Often referred to as variegated thread, it works especially well with appliqué when you can find a color combination that complements the material’s color.

Choosing a variegated thread is simple; just remember the color of the appliqué and garment so you can choose a thread that will add contrast or complement both. You can buy thread in smaller spools and larger cones, so if you’re experimenting, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with thousands of yards of thread you may never use.

I’ve had very few experiments that didn’t work out. It can be difficult to imagine what a design will look like sewn with variegated thread. The transition of colors can vary in length, creating many different effects. One trick I’ve used to get a better feel for how it will look is to create a thread sample book.

To start, I sewed each thread color on a swatch in four different stitch types: a 3mm satin, a 4mm satin, a bean, and a zigzag stitch. I labeled each swatch with the brand and color number, and bound them all together by a single, big ring. This has made it easy to see what each thread will look like sewn out, and I can hold it up against the appliqué material or the shirt to get an accurate idea of whether it will work.

Simply put, using variegated thread is a simple way to add an extra pop of color to any design.

Lynn Wasinski is a merchandising assistant with Stahls’, St. Clair Shores, Mich.