Appliqué and Embroider a Hand Fan

by Mel Persion

Appliqué and Embroider a Hand Fan. Antique scissors and needle book courtesy of Loene McIntyre,
Fort Collins, Colorado. Photograph by Joe Coca.
View printer friendly versionOne of the hand fans in the collection of India’s Kishor Gordhandas (see “Fanning a Passion: The Hand Fans of Kishor Gordhandas” in the March/April 2005 issue of PieceWork) inspired us to create our own. This easy-to-make fan, made by Mel Persion, incorporates appliqué and several embroidery stitches. It will keep you cool on warm days or add an exotic element to your decor as a wall hanging


• Westminster Fibers Kaffe Fassett’s Fabric Collection, 100% cotton fabrics, Shot Cotton Plains, SC13 (dark blue), 2 pieces 10 x 12 inches (25.4 x 30.5 cm) and 1 piece 1 x 1 inch (2.5 x 2.5 cm); Shot Cotton Plains, SC11 (orange), 3 x 12 inches (7.6 x 30.5 cm), 1 piece, SC09 (red), 3 x 5 inches (7.6 x 12.7 cm), 1 piece, SC39 (lime green), 2 x 8 inches (5.1 x 20.3 cm), 1 piece; Indian Stripes, Broad Stripes, BS08, 20 x 20 inches (50.8 x 50.8 cm), 1 piece
• DMC Embroidery Floss (Article 117), 100% cotton 6-strand thread, 8.7 yards (8 m)/skein, 1 skein each of the colors listed in the key
• Canvas, 100% cotton fabric, natural, 10 x 12 inches (25.4 x 30.5 cm), 4 pieces
• John James Needles, embroidery sizes 5 and 9
• Sewing thread, navy
• Fusible interfacing, medium-weight nonwoven, 10 x 12 inches (25.4 x 30.5 cm), 1 piece
• Fusible web, medium-weight nonwoven, 1 piece each 1 x 1 inch (2.5 x 2.5 cm), 3 x 12 inches (7.6 x 30.5 cm), 3 x 5 inches (7.6 x 12.7 cm), and 2 x 8 inches (5.1 x 20.3 cm)
• Dowel, wood, 3/8 x 12 inches (1 x 30.5 cm), 1
• End caps, wood, rounded, 1/2 x 5/8 inches (1.3 x 1.6 cm), 2 (to fit on the ends of the dowel)
• Craft glue
• Double-sided tape
• Paintbrush
• Acrylic wood paint, dark blue
• Marking pen, fine point, water soluble
• Dressmaker’s carbon paper, white, 1 sheet

Materials are available at yarn, needlework, and craft stores or from mail-order or online resources

Finished Size: 9 x 13 1/2 inches (22.9 x 34.3 cm)

Hand Fan Pattern (223 KB)

Chain Stitch
Buttonhole Stitch


Notes: Refer to manufacturer’s directions when applying the fusible interfacing and web. Unless otherwise noted, use two strands of embroidery thread and the size 9 needle.

Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the 10- x 12-inch (25.4- x 30.5-cm), pieces of dark blue fabric. Set aside.

Back the red, orange, and lime green pieces of fabric with the same-sized pieces of fusible web. Using the dressmaker’s carbon, transfer the following to the right sides of the fabrics: the outline of the elephant to the red fabric, the outline of the four small petals and one circle 3/4 inch (1.9 cm) in diameter to the lime green fabric, the outline of the flowers to the orange fabric, and one circle 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) in diameter to the 1-inch (2.5-cm) square piece of dark blue fabric. Cut out all of the shapes, trimming off the outlines. Peel off the fusible web’s paper backing. Referring to the photograph and pattern for placement, arrange and fuse the shapes on the right side of the piece of interfacing-backed dark blue fabric.

Referring to the pattern and key for color placement, chain-stitch along the flower and leaf edges and buttonhole-stitch along the elephant. Backstitch along the outside edges of the two circles that indicate eyes.

Machine stitch the four pieces of canvas together with six evenly spaced rows each of horizontal and vertical stitches to create a stiff inner layer. Following the black outline on the pattern, cut the elliptical fan shape from the appliquéd front piece with the design centered, the remaining piece of dark blue fabric, and the canvas. Place the canvas layer between the two dark blue fabric pieces, with the appliquéd piece on top. Do any necessary trimming to ensure that the borders of all layers match. Using the size 5 needle and sewing thread, baste all layers together 1/4 inch (6 mm) from the outside edge.

Using the marking pen, draw a diagonal line between two opposing corners of the square piece of striped fabric. Draw a parallel line 1 1/4inches (3.2 cm) from each side of this line. Cut along all three lines to make two bias strips. Place one strip on top of the other and machine stitch 1/4 inch (6 mm) from one short end to make one continuous bias strip; press the seam open. With wrong sides facing, fold the long edges to the centerline of the strip, iron, fold in half, and iron again. Unfold the strip, and with right sides facing pin the right edge around the outside edge of the appliquéd dark blue fabric, and machine stitch all layers. Remove the basting threads and the pins. When you reach the starting point, cut the fabric 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) beyond the starting point; fold the end of the strip with wrong sides facing so it covers the starting point. Fold the strip lengthwise over the nonappliquéd back so that all layers are sandwiched within the strip and the raw edge is folded to the inside. Slip-stitch the strip to the nonappliquéd back, along the fold in the strip. Secure the end of the strip with a few extra slipstitches. Set aside.

Cover about 2 inches (5 cm) inches of one end of the wood dowel with double-sided tape. Beginning at the end covered with the tape, wrap six strands of embroidery floss around the dowel, using each floss color for ½ inch (1.3 cm) along the length of the dowel; add tape as needed. Hide the floss ends underneath the wrapped floss. Leave ¼ inch (6 mm) of the last color of floss hanging.

With the appliqué face up, lay the wrapped dowel along the top edge of the fabric and center side to side. Using the same colors of floss that are on the center part of the dowel, attach the fabric to the wrapped dowel by sewing the floss around the dowel and the strip in a figure-8 pattern (which will create the look of satin stitches covering the strip)and sewing through all layers of the fabric.

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