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  3. Shadow Applique Reticule

Shadow Applique Reticule

Skill Level: 

 by Rebecca Kemp Brent

Soft and subtle shadow applique embellishes the dainty drawstring bag. Dual Duty XP Fine is the perfect thread for the delicate applique and sewing on lightweight batiste fabric. It had many uses such as storing jewelry or as an evening bag or special accessory for a bride.
Dual Duty XP Fine was used for the embroidery, applique, lace and even the twisted cord drawstring. The pattern is created by tracing the sole plate of your iron.

This project is created using a sewing machine with an embroidery module, however, it can be made using following the steps for shadow applique using your own design.


3/8 yard each of 45″-wide white batiste, white weavers cloth, and lining fabric

1/8 yard each of 45″-wide pink and green broadcloth for appliqués

3/8 yard of 22″-wide medium-weight fusible interfacing

2 yards of cording

3/4 yard of 1 1/2″-wide lace edging (see Sources)

Tear-away stabilizer

Spray Starch

Embroidery machine and accessories

Shadow appliqué and monogram embroidery designs (see Sources)

Lace machine embroidery design (optional; see Sources)


Choosing Shadow Appliqué Fabrics

The soft, subtle appearance of shadow appliqué is created by stitching colored fabric to the wrong side of a sheer base material that allows the colors to filter through. Choose a lightweight white fabric such as organdy, organza, or sheer batiste for the base.

For the appliqués, select bright hues in darker shades, remembering that the white overlay will dull and mute the colors. White fabric, even a second layer of the base material, can be used for tone-on-tone appliqués. Audition fabric choices by placing them under a layer of base fabric, and select threads that match or coordinate with the filtered colors.
Try out fabric colors by placing under batiste



Seam allowance is 1/4″.

1. Trace the sole plate of a full-size iron onto blank paper. Add 1″ to the straight edge of the pattern to allow for the casing and ruffle. Fold the pattern in half lengthwise to be sure the two curved edges match, and make sure the straight edge is perpendicular to the fold; adjust the pattern if necessary. Add a 1/4″ seam allowance to all edges.

2. Use the pattern to cut four panels each from the weavers cloth, interfacing, and lining fabric.

3. Press the batiste with spray starch until it is stable. No additional stabilizer will be used for the shadow appliqué motifs, so the spray starch is important.

4. Trace the pattern four times onto the batiste with a removable marking tool, leaving at least 1″ between pieces. Mark the vertical center line of each panel, and make a cross mark about 3″ below the panel’s straight upper edge to indicate the embroidery center point. Do not cut out the panels yet. [


TIP: Mark Use full-size embroidery design templates to ensure that the designs will not extend into the drawstring casing. The designs’ upper edges should lie 1″ or more below the casing.


5. Hoop the batiste with the first embroidery location centered. The fabric should be taut in the hoop, but be careful not to distort the grain. Slide the green appliqué fabric under the hooped batiste and stitch the leaves. Use Dual Duty XP Fine thread in the needle; its weight is perfect for delicate shadow appliqué.


6. Remove the hoop from the machine and carefully trim away the excess appliqué fabric just outside the stitches. Be very careful not to cut the stitches or base fabric. Avoid the temptation to do the cutting in your lap; the batiste must remain secure in the hoop, and it’s less likely to be distorted if the hoop is lying on a table while you trim.


Scissors for Trimming Appliqués

Choose a small pair of scissors that are sharp all the way to the tip. Some embroiderers prefer pointed or curved scissors. Blunt tips, however, are less likely to pierce and clip the base fabric.


7. Replace the hoop on the machine and slide the pink appliqué fabric underneath the hoop. Stitch the pink petals and the yellow flower centers. Remove the hoop from the machine and trim away the excess pink fabric.

8. Embroider shadow appliqué motifs on three batiste panels. Hoop the fourth panel, slide a piece of tear-away stabilizer under the hoop, and stitch an embellished monogram with Dual Duty XP Fine.

9. Remove the markings from the batiste and press it carefully from the wrong side. Replace the pattern on the embroidered batiste. Retrace the pattern outlines to compensate for any distortion that occurred during stitching, making sure an embroidery design is centered on each panel. Cut out each batiste panel.

Completed applique

10. Fuse a piece of interfacing to the wrong side of each weavers cloth panel. Lay an embroidered batiste panel on top of each weavers cloth panel, right sides up, and pin. Each panel will be treated as one layer for the rest of the project.

11. Mark the right edges of two panels 1 1/4″ and 1 3/4″ below the straight upper edge; make corresponding marks on the left edges of the remaining two panels. Thread the machine with Dual Duty All-Purpose thread and overcast the panel edges with a zigzag stitch, beginning and ending 1/2″ outside the marks. These stitches finish the raw edges inside the casing openings. [Illustration G]

12. Pin two panels right sides together along their marked edges. Sew from the top edge to the upper mark, backstitching at both ends. Begin sewing again at the lower mark and finish stitching the side seam, backstitching at both ends. Press the seam open. Repeat to join the other two panels.

13. Position the two-panel units with right sides together, matching the raw edges. Sew 1/4″ from the curved edges, continuing across the bottom of the bag. Press the seam open.

14. Sew the lining panels together in pairs, leaving a 3″ opening in one seam. Sew the pairs together as in Step 13. Press the seams open.

15. Place the bag (right side out) inside the lining (wrong side out), matching the upper edges and seamlines. Stitch the upper edges together. Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the lining. Tuck the lining into the bag and press the upper edge. Sew the opening in the lining closed.

16. Topstitch the bag through all thicknesses 1″ and 1 1/2″ below the upper edge to make the drawstring casing.

17. Set the machine for a zigzag stitch 2.5 mm wide and 1.4 mm long; thread the needle and bobbin with Dual Duty XP Fine. Lay the lace edging next to the bag edge and sew, positioning the zigzag stitches so the left swing falls into the bag and the right swing catches the lace. Join the ends of the lace by hand or machine.

18. Cut the cord into two 36″ lengths and thread them through the casing, beginning and ending one cord at each panel-seam opening. Knot the ends of each cord and separate the strands to make tassels.


Make Matching Cords

Our cord was made from 40 strands each of Dual Duty XP Fine and Polyester Machine Embroidery threads, held together. The strands were twisted, then doubled and allowed to untwist against themselves, creating the cording. Strands about 90″ long yield one yard of cord.

Panel on completed purse



·         The shadow appliqué motifs are from Easter Shadow Work by Evy Hawkins, A Bit of Stitch:

·         The monogram was created in Brother’s BES Embroidery Lettering Software:

·         The two-color lace edging is from Jennifer’s Dream Edgings & Insertions, My Embroidery Haven:

Rebecca Kemp Brent is a freelance author, educator and designer who designs projects for Coats & Clark and other companies in the home sewing industry.  Her writing has appeared in newspapers and many magazines. Rebecca enjoys teaching, writing, and designing for both embroidery and sewing enthusiasts. Learn more at