Free Applique Patterns and Instructions
Last updated: August 7, 2023
On this page, you'll find free applique patterns and designs so you can make a range of gorgeous homemade baby gift ideas for new arrivals, and it's easy to adapt for older kids too!
Using applique to personalize a onesie for a new baby or a t-shirt for a toddler is a really quick homemade gift you can make in an hour or so if you've got the right supplies at home. They look super cute and are really useful gifts too!
I hope you enjoy our range of free applique patterns to download and use, plus our instructions for how to applique onto a onesie using multiple fabrics.
Free Applique Patterns
In this section, you can find letters and number templates, animal templates, and more. Plus instructions for how to make your own templates if you're looking for something specific that we haven't listed here.
Shape and Animal Applique Patterns
If you're looking for free applique patterns of shapes and animals then click on the images below to print out the various templates. You'll find a range of sizes on each page, and you can always scale them by adjusting your printer settings if you want the templates to be smaller or larger.
And here are some other printable template collections on our site that can be used for applique patterns and craft projects:
Applique letter templates
Click on each of the links below to download a specific applique letter or number that you want.
All the letters and numbers applique patterns below are deliberately mirrored (e.g. "b" looks like "d") because the pattern will get reversed in the process of making the applique
Lowercase applique letters of the alphabet:
Uppercase applique letters of the alphabet:
Numbers and symbols:
More letter and number applique patterns
Looking for patterns in different fonts? We have some bubble letter patterns in various fonts that you could use for applique:
How to make your own applique patterns
It is quite straightforward to make your own applique templates if you want fonts or shapes other than the ones I've chosen. Use a word-processing program to make a letter as big as you'd like in your favorite font. Now you'll need to flip it horizontally so that you see the reverse of the letter, which you can then print out and trace around.
Alternatively, print out your chosen letter as is, and then cut it out and flip it over. Now you can trace around this flip-side.
The same concept works for any other pattern, like a cupcake or animal for example. Just find a picture of something you like, cut it out, and flip it over to trace around. If there are several components you might first need to trace these onto separate pieces of paper (eg the cupcake base, cupcake icing, and then the cherry on top!).
How to Applique Baby Clothes
Now you've chosen your free applique pattern, it is easy to use it to decorate clothing. Here I'll show you how to applique a cute little elephant onto a onesie, but the concept is the same for any pattern.
Firstly you will need to gather your supplies:
- Applique elephant pattern printed out
- Two types of patterned fabric
- Fabric scissors
Paper-backed fusible webbing (like Heatnbond Lite (Amazon link) in the USA, marketed as "Bondaweb" in the UK).
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- Paper scissors
- Sewing machine (or embroidery floss and needle if you want to sew by hand)
Trace around your elephant onto the paper side of the fusible webbing. Now trace around the elephant's ear onto another separate piece of the webbing (as the ear will be out of a different fabric).
Cut around your elephant tracing, leaving a margin of 1/2" or so. Iron the fusible webbing onto the back of your fabric following the instructions for your particular fusible webbing.
You'll be able to feel when the webbing is securely bonded to the back of the paper as it won't peel off at all.
Repeat this process to adhere the elephant's ear onto the back of the second piece of fabric you've chosen.
Now cut out both the elephant's body and ear, following the lines you drew earlier onto the fusible webbing.
Make sure the fabric is completely cool (so that the glue has been set), then peel off the paper backing layer.
Now turn over your elephant and position it onto the onesie. Iron it in place following the instructions for your particular webbing. I used a medium heat and just ironed back and forth in a continuous motion until I was sure that the elephant fabric had adhered properly.
Now remove the paper from the back of the elephant's ear.
Position the elephant's ear in place and iron it down in place.
Now it is time to sew around the edges of your fabric elephant to secure it in place. I'm using a zig-zag stitch with my sewing machine, but it is also okay to hand applique with a technique like blanket stitch (like I used for the car on the right).
(Check out this fabulous blanket stitch tutorial if you're not sure how to do this stitch).
Firstly sew the ear in place. You can go really slowly as it can be tricky to sew neatly around the curves (at least for a non-expert sewer like me!).
And now sew around the rest of the elephant's body to secure in place.
And you've finished! How cute!
How did your applique turn out? If you have any questions or comments about my free applique patterns, or just want to say hi, then please contact me with this handy form .
Applique Baby Gift Ideas
Here are pictures of some other onesies and sleepsuits I have appliqued using the stars and letter applique patterns.
For the stars, I actually positioned them on the backside of the sleepsuits (i.e. over the bum), as I thought that would look really adorable when the babies are having tummy-time.
You can see with this next one that I experimented with using a straight-stitch rather than the zig-zag style. I think either work fine as in both cases I'm sure you'll get a small amount of fraying over time, which I think adds to the charm of homemade.
Here is an example of a cute applique car pattern that I sewed by hand rather than with a machine. I think it gives it a really nice texture.
And here are some monogram onesies I made for two adorable little baby girls using lovely English-rose fabrics.
Aren't these applique animal patterns so cute too!
I really like this boat design - it works so well with any scraps of fabric.
And here is a picture of a well-worn apple applique onesie that my son wore over the summer. You can see how well the applique has survived multiple washes with just a bit of fraying around the edges of the fabric, which I think adds to its charm. (You'll notice I didn't add the stalk which is included in the free applique pattern, but I didn't have any brown fabric at the time and thought it looked okay without it).
This ice cream is the most recent pattern I made, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.
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I hope you found our free applique patterns helpful for your own project. Here are a few other homemade baby gift suggestions you might also enjoy: