Fall is nigh!

Molas Nouveau

Applique Machine Embroidery Series

Molas are made in the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama by the Kuna (Guna) Indians. They use layers of fabric to create reverse, traditional, and inlaid applique. Traditionally, these designs are made using bold primary colors.


Molas originated from body paint art and evolved into monochromatic reverse applique with the introduction of woven fabrics. The use of balanced primary and secondary colors is a relatively recent development, but fits nicely with the potential of modern machine embroidery. My Molas Nouveau series are my interpretation of Molas as sewn with machine embroidery. I have attempted to recreate them as traditionally as is possible and still be practical for machine embroidery. Of course, you're welcomed and encouraged to use your own imagination in sewing these designs with whatever thread and fabric colors stir your creativity. After all, that's really why we do this, right?

These types of designs are primarily seen on clothing, purses, hats, etc. However, because some of these articles, especially when already finished, are difficult to impossible to handle on a home embroidery machine, I decided to make this easy on myself and you by creating them as patches. Once sewn you can attach them to whatever items you want. Of course, you can embroider them directly onto items as well.

Included with the set are detailed and illustrated instructions for both the patch method and non-patch method, as well as sewing them with and without the fringe.

I've created two separate series, with more to come, as time and inspiration permit.


Click the image above to visit the Molas Nouveau collection.


My Molas Nouveau series consist of designs for the 4x4 and 5x7 hoops (100 x 100 mm & 125 x 175 mm, respectively). The seven motifs that make up the 4x4 designs actually measure 90 mm square (3.6 inches square) and can be sewn onto smaller articles. If you prefer, assemble of them together to create a larger Mola. The 5x7 designs in this series consist of five unique motifs, with the finished patches measuring 6 x 4 inches when finished. Sandwiched two of these together with some cotton felt lining to make the perfect eyeglass case, pen & pencil organizer, or scissors sheath. I've included the mirrored images of all twelve in the series, for a total of 24 design files. In some cases, the mirrored design is subtly different, while in others not so much.

MMN_womanMotif_edited_x200Emboldened by the response to Molas Nouveau, I created a second series of molas called what else but, Mucho Molas NouveauAs with the original series, the Mucho series consist of both 4x4 and 5x7 designs, with seven (7) and five (5) new and unique motifs, respectively. However, I took a different tack with this series, lifting the central motif from each design and making it a separate design file, so that it can be sewn directly onto whatever you might envision, sans patch. As such the Muchos consist of twelve (12) motifs and twenty-four (24) unique designs. If that doesn't offer fodder to spark one's imagination, I'm not sure what will. As with the original series, you also have the option of stitching the patches avec or sans the fringe.








Cl ic k either image to visit the
Mucho Molas Nouveau collection

I hope you enjoy my Molas Nouveau. As always, I love it when you share your project pictures and stories. While it's been some time since I created this design series, I'm feeling like it's time to return. Only this time, I'm thinking bigger. Your thoughts?

Until very recently, my Molas Nouveau were constrained by the available hoop sizes for the home machine embroidery market. The newer machines, with their bigger hoops, have sparked my imagination once again. Still, if you can't wait, might I suggest you take in the sites of genuine mola art...and maybe spark your own imagination?







"Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way."

- Booker T. Washington






Laura's Sewing Studio embroidery designs and any instructions are for personal use. Designs and copyrighted images are intended for private, non-commercial use. Laura's Sewing Studio entitles the purchaser only to make projects for personal use. The embroidery designs and any instructions are the copyrighted property of Laura M. Waterfield. No design, documentation, or associated graphic distributed as part of this collection may be shared, re-sold individually, re-packaged, or used in any commercial endeavor or instructional presentation without the written consent of Laura's Sewing Studio. Any modifications of these embroidery designs or instructions are for the personal non-commercial use of the purchaser only and may not be sold or distributed under this licensing agreement.
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Thank you for your patronage and happy sewing.

Laura Waterfield

Copyright Laura M. Waterfield 2002-2018

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