Applique Sweatshirt Patterns

Bird applique embroidered on sweatshirt

Using creative appliqué sweatshirt patterns is a fun and economical way to dress up a top, cover a stain, or make a warm and sure-to-be-appreciated gift. If your kids won't keep their coats on, appliqué a few sweatshirts for them with their favorite motifs, and maybe they will even wear them outdoors when it's cold.

Choosing Your Appliqué Sweatshirt Pattern

Unless you have an abundance of time and patience, it's a good idea to stick to simple appliqué patterns. Because sweatshirt fabric is generally thick, it can be difficult to sew. Likewise, choose lightweight fabrics for your appliqués, especially when your design calls for more than one layer of fabric.

If you are ambitious or have a sturdy sewing machine with which to apply your appliqué, then fabric thickness is not as important. You should still consider the comfort of the person who will wear the sweatshirt when deciding how large and layered an appliqué you will create. Also, consider whether your sweatshirt will be zippered or pullover to gauge the size and placement of your pattern in advance, and measure the area you want to cover before choosing your pattern.

Finding Free Appliqué Patterns

The following ideas can help you create a fun design on a sweatshirt:

  • You can adapt appliqué sweatshirt patterns from appliqué patterns designed for quilts or other crafts.
  • Use a page from your child's favorite coloring book to trace and use as a pattern for your appliqué.
  • has several free appliqué patterns to download, in addition to their appliqué patterns for sale.
  • offers pretty flower appliqués to make a beautiful, appliquéd sweatshirt for your mom.

Appliqué Patterns to Buy

Although they aren't free, these other sources offer patterns that are quite affordable:

  • Sometimes it can be difficult to locate stores near you that carry appliqué patterns specifically for sweatshirts, but your local quilt shop should have several quilt appliqué patterns that you can adapt for use on sweatshirts. The proprietor should be able to direct you to other local sources, as well. Local fabric, craft, and discount stores all carry various appliqué patterns, as well.
  • Etsy has a few sellers who offer these patterns in various styles, including some discontinued McCalls' designs.
  • carries a cute Americana appliqué sweatshirt pattern that includes instructions for converting a pullover sweatshirt to a cardigan.
  • If it's a seasonal look you're after, Cleo and Me has an adorable "Up on the Rooftop" pattern that includes a pattern for a matching purse.

Helpful Tips

  • Remember to pre-shrink your new sweatshirt and appliqué fabrics in warm or hot water before adding your appliqués, just to be sure your hard work won't be damaged.
  • Choose your appliqué and sweatshirt fabric colors carefully-a single red rose petal can ruin a white sweatshirt!
  • Be sure there are no scratchy knots of thread left inside your sweatshirt, or your creation may never come out of the dresser drawer after its first wearing.

Custom appliquéd sweatshirts are affordable, wearable art that can be created by crafters at nearly any skill level. They also work well as unique gifts for those you love. Have fun embellishing your sweatshirt, and while you're at it, make a few to put aside for last-minute birthday or holiday gifts. Your friends and family are sure to request them after they see your beautiful handiwork!

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Applique Sweatshirt Patterns