Adding appliqué to the Classic Palm Gauntlet

I released the Classic Palm Gauntlet deep in the heart of wedding season, and Etsy was all about the bride for a hot minute. Although I had designed the pattern with costumes in mind, I felt from the start that it could make a lovely addition to a bridal ensemble, too. When I saw this beautiful floral trim, I knew it cried out for something delicate and romantic. Paired with a sheer beige (nude, on my skin tone) background that almost disappears against the skin, I love the way it gives a winding, vine-like impression.

The Classic Palm Gauntlet styled with white floral appliqués, against a pale blue backdrop with sewing accessories

Even if you’re not currently shopping for cake-toppers, I think this style would look enchanting in alternative colour schemes for different occasions (hellooooooo autumn leaves for a harvest theme? or Poison Ivy?). Here are the steps to get this or a similar effect with the Classic Palm Gauntlet:

Step One – Pattern adjustments

(Don’t have your pattern yet? You can pick up an instant download from my shop! If gauntlets aren’t your thing, a lot of the following tips will still be helpful for adding appliqués to other stretchy garments.

Print and assemble your pages as usual, but don’t go straight to cutting your fabric just yet — we need to make a tiny adjustment to our pattern piece to accommodate the non-stretch appliqué we’re adding to our otherwise stretchy garment. (This may not be necessary if your appliqué is relatively narrow compared to the overall width of your project, but my appliqué took up about 20-25% of the circumference of my gauntlet.)

We’re going to use a pattern-alteration technique known as slash-and-spread, which is often used to add extra length, width, or fullness to a garment. Start by cutting the pattern vertically along the fold line. Note: if you want your appliqué to be applied somewhere other than along the side, make the slash in the area where it will be applied.

The Classic Palm Gauntlet pattern being altered by cutting apart at the fold line

On a separate piece of scrap paper, draw two parallel lines the distance apart which you need to expand your pattern. In my case I estimated that about 0.5″ would make up for the stretch factor that I lost by stitching a 2.5″ wide rigid appliqué to that area, but your measurement may vary. You can estimate by using the following formula:

width of area to be stitched down X .2 = amount to add to pattern

drawing two parallel lines half an inch apart

Tape your separated pattern pieces to the scrap paper on either side of this gap. Make sure to align them horizontally as well as lining up the cut edges with your lines, so that your side seams will still match up when you come to sew. You can use the DoGS line as a reference.

using a ruler to align the separated pattern pieces

Up at the curve, you’ll probably have an odd jog or jagged edge. Just blend these lines into a smooth curve, and cut away the excess scrap paper.

using a pencil to blend the new curve made by altering the width of the Classic Palm Glove pattern

Step Three – Cutting and preparing the fabric and appliqué

(I made a video showing steps three and four in action!)

As usual, we want to lay out the pattern piece so that the DoGS arrows point in the fabrics most stretchy direction. Sometimes this will be widthwise, sometimes lengthwise. I’m using quite a small, oddly shaped scrap here — waste not, want not! — so it’s hard to tell, but on this particular mesh, the stretch runs lengthwise, along the selvedge.

The Classic Palm Gauntlet pattern laid out for cutting from a beige stretch mesh

I decided to cut my flower chain apart so that I could have more control over their orientation and make sure they would both fit in the space I had. (If you need more vertical room for your appliqué, you could also lengthen the pattern by slashing and spreading.)

floral appliqués being cut into two sections with scissors


white floral appliqués laid out on the sheer beige stretch mesh

Next, we’re going to stabilize the stretch mesh by adding a temporary backing. Applying something non-stretchy to a stretchy background can be a recipe for all sorts of weird distortion and puckers. The underlying fabric oozes around and it requires quite careful, slow stitching to get a nice result. It really makes the process less stressful to temporarily “remove” the stretch from your bottom layer. You can buy purpose-made tear-away and wash-away stabilizers for embroidery, but the low-tech DIY option I’ve used here is simply to fuse a piece of tracing paper to the wrong side of the fabric with a Elmer’s washable glue stick. To avoid sticky residue, set the glue with a warm, dry iron (not too hot or you could damage your fabric! spandex is not a fan of heat and neither is nylon). Once we’re done with the sewing, the paper will easily tear away.

gluing paper to the stretchy mesh for stability, with Elmer's washable glue stick and an iron

We’ll also use this trick to “glue baste” the appliqué into position. (This is optional, but I don’t recommend pins for this step, as they’re likely to get in the way and cause distortion. If you’re wary of the glue, hand-basting is a great alternative.) Add a bit of glue to the back of your appliqué and stick it where you want it to go, then set with a warm, dry iron. Easy!

Step Four – Stitching the appliqué

Set your machine to a narrow, short zig-zag. With the right sides up, stitch over the edges of the appliqué, following the outline of the shape as closely as you can. For best results, use thread that closely matches the colour of the appliqué’s border. (If you’re really keen on the tiny details, you could load your bobbin with thread that will match the back side of your fabric, which — as long as your tension is set correctly — will make the stitching nearly invisible from both sides.)

close-up of a sewing machine stitching over the edge of a white floral appliqué

To navigate the corners and tight curves, sew slowly and reposition the work frequently. Make sure your needle is all the way down before raising the presser foot to pivot or adjust your direction, which will keep your work anchored in place.

Once you’ve stitched around your appliqué so it’s nice and secure, go ahead and rip away the paper from the back!

Step Five – Sewing the side seams

Just like usual, this version of the gauntlet has 1/4″ (6mm) seam allowance on the side seam, sewn with a straight stitch (since we’re not looking for stretch in the vertical direction). For best results on a sheer fabric, switch your thread to a matching colour for this step.

sewing the side seam of the Classic Palm Gauntlet with a straight stitch

I chose to trim my seam allowance close to the stitching to reduce bulk and show-through, but otherwise left it unfinished since the stretch mesh won’t fray.

Step Six – Applying the fold-over elastic

This step is also the same as the original instructions, so I thought this was another good opportunity to explain it with a video! The only difference you might encounter depends on the shape of your appliqué: mine had a couple of little leafy tendrils that I wanted to overhang the edge of the elastic, so I had to tuck those out of the way while applying the elastic.

Check it out:

That’s it!

For a more delicate, barely-there effect with the stretch mesh, I chose to leave the hem raw. If you prefer a folded hem, go for it… and then your gauntlets are ready to show off! Don’t forget to tag me in any of the gorgeous photos you post of your finished gauntlets so I can see how they turned out!