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How to Make a Mola from Fabric.
Tutorial with step by step instructions.

Mola is a traditional form of reverse applique worked by the Kuna Indians of the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama. Mola is used to make panels for the front and back of womens blouses in traditional costume. The designs have a joyous, niave quality. The whole fabric is reverse appliqued, building up complex patterns often based on an animal. Colours are bright and vibrant, reds, oranges and blacks being popular.

3 contrasting colours of cotton lawn
1) Choose 3 contrasting colours of cotton lawn fabric.
Trace your design
2) Trace your design onto the top layer of cotton lawn.

Pin and tack
3) Layer the three fabrics on top of each other, pin and tack round the edges.

Tack both sides of the design line
4) Tack approximately 1cm outside and 1.5cm inside the design lines
of the main motif .

Cut through the top layer of fabric
5) Cut through the top layer of fabric about 1/2cm inside the design line.

Turn under the fabric
6) Needle turn the fabric under to the line and stitch down neatly - notch the fabric along the curves before turning under as necessary. Remove the tacking outside the motif after you have stitched.
Cut through the second layer of fabric
7) Cut through the second layer of fabric approximately 2/3cm from the finished edge ( push the top layer of fabric out of the way as you cut).


Needle turn second layer
8) Needle turn under the raw edge next to the finished edge and stitch down.

Needle turn the top layer of the motif
9) Trim  back the middle layer of fabric slightly. Then needle turn and stitch the top layer of the motif down.

Applique extra pieces of fabric
10) Pin, tack and needle turn applique extra pieces of cotton lawn over parts of the design.

Slot scraps of contrasting fabric between the layers
11) Cut through the top layer of the fabric and slot scraps of contrasting cotton lawn between the layers, needle turn the raw edges under.

Keep adding fabric and cutting back
12) Keep adding pieces of fabric and cutting back through them and adding extra scraps of fabric between layers until  the whole motif is full and you are happy with the result.
Background decoration
13) Now start working on the background, cut through the top layer of the fabric and slot scaps of cotton lawn through the slits then needle turn the edges.Continue with this until the whole background is covered.

Complete mola
14) Your mola is now complete. 




Katy teaches a full day course on Mola work

General Information About Mola

Our pinterest board about Mola