Today we have two free project downloads from the new Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques; 101 Fast, Fun, and Fearless Projects: Dresses, Tunics, Scarves, Skirts, Accessories, Pillows, Curtains, and More by Nicole Blum and (Family Fun Senior Editor) Debra Immergut. Improv Sewing includes projects that can be completed in less than a day, with many do-able in less than an hour; there’s something for everyone including accessories, clothes, home decor items and more! Nicole and Debra guide you through simple pattern-making and lots of fun sewing techniques.

Nicole is the talented sewist behind our fantastic Hooded Tunic Tutorial, and blogs at One Golden Apple. You can learn more about Nicole in her introduction, and then you must head over to Improv Diary too. Improv Diary is a joint venture between Nicole and Debra, and it’s chock-full of new quick and fun tutorials for you to try.

Reverse Appliqué Skirt from Improv Sewing

Download your free Reverse Applique Skirt PDF from the book and the Two-Panel Skirt PDF, a flattering A-line skirt you can make with cotton jersey, a variety of stretch fabrics or even a couple of men’s extra-large t-shirts!

Bleeding Hearts Reverse-Appliqué Skirt Design

As a bonus exclusively for Sew,Mama,Sew! readers, Nicole also designed this Bleeding Hearts Reverse-Appliqué Skirt. Use instructions from the Reverse Applique Skirt PDF with Nicole’s True Love motif! We’ve also included the instructions below. Be sure to get your hands on a copy of Improv Sewing: A Freeform Approach to Creative Techniques for tons more “fast, fun, and fearless” projects!

Bleeding Hearts Reverse-Appliqué Skirt


  • 1 1/2 yards of wool or cotton jersey (for the main body)
  • 24″ square of contrasting wool or cotton jersey (for the appliqué)
  • Approximately 1 yard of fold over elastic
  • 1 spool each of coordinating and contrasting thread
  • Embroidery thread and needle
  • Sharp embroidery scissors

1. Stitch a Two-Panel Skirt
Follow the instructions in Step 1 to measure, mark, and cut the fabric for the Two-Panel Skirt PDF.

2. Attach the Appliqué
Press or pat out any wrinkles. Trace an appliqué template onto the front panel, as desired.

Wrong side, contrasting fabric under appliqué design.

Pin the right side of the contrasting jersey to the wrong side of the skirt panel, underneath the traced appliqué design.

Right side, with contrasting fabric pinned underneath.

With embroidery thread, hand-sew a running stitch along the chalk lines.

When you’re done stitching, trim away the excess contrasting jersey from the back, around the stitching.

3. Assemble the Skirt
Pin the front and back panels with the right sides together. Using a straight stretch stitch and coordinating thread, sew 1/2″ seams. Press the seams. Turn the skirt right side out and, if you like, topstitch over both seams with contrasting thread and a tricot stitch (or any decorative stretch stitch).

If you choose to hem the skirt, press and then stitch the hem in place using coordinating thread and a zigzag stitch. Sew fold over elastic along the waistband (further instructions in Improv Sewing).

4. Cut the Reveal
With the skirt right side out, pinch the center of each shape to pull the layers apart.

Cut out the shapes with the embroidery scissors, being careful to snip only through the top layer, leaving 1/4″ margin inside the stitched lines.

Add decorative stitching if desired.

The possibilities for design are endless!