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Fussy Cutting and Broderie Perse – Fancy Applique Tutorial

Broderie perse applique tutorial from Shiny Happy World

There are two kinds of applique that rely on the print of the fabric you’re using – fussy cutting and broderie perse.

A lot of you have probably done fussy cutting without even realizing it has a name. It’s when you carefully position your applique template to incorporate images printed on the fabric.

I did it on this Paper Doll quilt block to make sure the top T.A.R.D.I.S. was centered on the V-neck and the bottom ones were lined up with the hem.

example of fussy cut applique for a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

I also did it on this haunted house quilt block, to make sure there was a bat flying in the center of each window, and the skull was centered on the door.

example of fussy cut applique for a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Fussy cutting is easy. It just means paying attention when you position your templates. You can hold your fabric and templates up to a window so you can see really well where your outlines are falling.

Broderie perse is similar, in that it uses motifs printed on the fabric. But with broderie perse – the images ARE the templates. You’re cutting out the images on one fabric and appliqueing them to another. It’s traditionally done with flowers – but you can do it with anything you like!

Heres how I used broderie perse to add a couple of cute trick-or-treaters to one of my Shiny Happy Houses quilt blocks – designed especially for Halloween.

You have to start with adorable fabric. I’m using two fabrics from Dear Stella that are designed to work together.

Fun fabrics to use for Broderie perse applique technique - tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Bundle Me Up is the fabric with the sweet animals faces, hands, and feet – but no bodies. Costume Party is the fabric with all the fun costumes for those critters to wear. So clever!

Broderie perse applique tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Roughly cut out the image you want (like the fox in this picture). Back it with fusible adhesive, and then cut the image out neatly (like the dress and crown).

Broderie perse applique tutorial from Shiny Happy World

The dress in this example already has little slippers attached, so when I cut out the fox neatly I decided to cut away the lower part of the body. It would have been hidden anyway and this makes assembly easier – I don’t have to line things up as perfectly.

I’m such a lazypants. 🙂

Broderie perse applique tutorial from Shiny Happy World

After that it’s applique as usual.

Position the critter first, then the costume and fuse it down with everything else in your block.

I stitched around all my pieces in simple black thread for a nice cartoony look. I added a couple of pumpkin buttons for their trick or treat pails, and – of course – some spider buttons on all that magnificent glow-in-the-dark spiderwebbing. 

Have fun with broderie perse! It will make you look at your fabrics a whole different way. 🙂

Here are links to all the posts showing how to applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite method. It’s fast and easy and (with the right materials) it holds up beautifully to rough use and repeated washing.

Here are links to special posts about eyes.

Here are links to some extra fun things you can do with your applique.

Other Applique Methods

Finished with this topic?

Return to the Let’s Make a Quilt main Table of Contents.

Move on to the lessons about outline stitching.

Happy stitching!


  1. shari sack SAYS...

    i love your work! it is happy indeed!!!!!

  2. DeloresBruyete SAYS...

    Wonderful ideas. Love what I learn from u. Missed the giveaway contest for all your leftovers but hope to get in the next one. We had a JoAnn’s Fabrics that left a few Yeats ago, we all cried. But now a Hobby Lobby is coming in . we are sooooo happy. I live way up north Michigan.

  3. DeloresBruyete SAYS...

    I’m real close to starting a quilt. Going to order one of your patterns. Also the dog with his tongue sticking out. Never did a quilt and am a little scared. Does it have to ho on quilted fabric?

    • You can do applique on all kinds of projects – it doesn’t have to be quilted. I use a lot of my quilt blocks patterns on pillow covers and tote bags. 🙂


    hello,can this be done by hand?? I am new to the sewing world and doing it all by hand first is my objective .there seem to be too many do’s and dont’s,that a person can just stop ever starting. like finding the grain before one cuts fabric etc.Jan.