Heather Thomas

How to Make Molas with a Modern Flare

Heather Thomas
Duration:   9  mins

Learn how to make molas using a modern technique that is quick and easy. Heather Thomas shows you how to layer a contrasting fabric with colorful units that are cut away to create the look of a mola.

What is a Mola?

Mola is a Kuna Indian word for clothing. Traditionally, panels of elaborately decorated fabrics known as molas were incorporated into the front or back of a woman’s blouse. Today, molas are not only created for use in clothing but also as wall art or even as larger quilts.


Traditional molas were constructed by hand using a reverse applique technique. Anywhere from two to seven layers of fabric were stitched together and then sections were cut away at different layers to reveal different colors. Heather shows how to make molas with a similar look by cutting away fabric in a method similar to raw edge applique.

Fabric Strips

Heather shows how to make molas by sewing strips of colorful fabric together to start. She then demonstrates how to cut the finished unit into smaller strips that are then rearranged and stitched back together. Heather explains how the finished top is layered with a contrasting fabric before being used as the completed quilt top.


Once the quilt top has been layered with batting and a backing fabric it can be quilted. Heather explains how a variety of stitching techniques can be used as long as a channel is created that can be cut away to reveal the contrasting fabric. On her quilt, Heather shows how she quilted a spiral inside the colorful squares, however she explains how cross-hatches, diagonal or even straight lines could also be used. The top layer of fabric is then cut away in desired areas to reveal as much or as little of the contrasting fabric as you want.