Welcome back! If you are just finding me now, this is part two of my needle turn hand appliqué series. For part one, click here: Time to Appliqué – Needle Turn Appliqué. The series will end next week and there will be drawings for prizes from those of you who comment!
Last week, I covered the tools you need for hand appliqué, preparing templates, tracing shapes and then preparing those shapes for stitching. This week, I will talk about preparing the background, laying out the appliqué design and stitching.
Preparing the Background and Laying Out the Design
Tip #1: Most backgrounds for needle-turn appliqué are a plain piece of fabric, but some are pieced blocks. One of the things I like to do for the background is to reinforce the edges of the piece with Fray Check.
In the past, my projects have developed frayed edges from all the handling while stitching. I have found that when I apply the Fray Check to the edges, it stops a lot of the fraying that sometimes was not contained to the seam allowance. Without it, I would often end up with a misshapen and badly frayed project. This is an optional step, but I highly recommend it.
Tip #2: Another way I prepare the background is to either make folds or draw lines (with removable chalk pencil) as a guide for placement of my design. Even though most patterns have photos or diagrams to help with the layout of the design, I still recommend folding your background to create subtle creases, almost like a grid. You can use these creases to help in laying out the design. You can also use rulers to find the center of your background.
Tips #3: To make sure that no part of your applique motif gets stitched into the seam allowance, mark a line 1/2″ in all the way around the background. That helps to define the stitching area. I do 1/2″ so my design is at least 1/4″ away from where the seam will be when I piece the block into the quilt or when I bind the quilt top.
Finally: Like mentioned above, use the folds of your background, rulers and other pieces of the applique motif to get the right placement for your design. Especially if your design has stems for flowers. In the example below, you see I am using the vase piece of the design to get the perfect alignment for my initial stem.
First, I use the Roxanne’s glue to secure the appliqué piece I am stitching. Use only small dots of the glue. This glue is water soluble if you make a mistake in the placement. It takes about 30 seconds for the glue to create a really good bond, so you can move the appliqué if needed.
Next, once you place the appliqué, it’s time to stitch. I recommend starting on the straightest part. The goal here is hiding the stitch as much as possible. To start out, choose thread that matches the appliqué shape as closely as possible. Some people will use neutral threads from dark to light to achieve the same effect as color matching.
The stitch that is similar to the one used when stitching binding to the back of a quilt, essentially a blind stitch. The following photos will display the stitch and how it should look. First, use the edge of the needle to sweep the clipped seam allowance under up to the drawn line:
Next, start from underneath pushing your needled up and catching the edge of the appliqué’s seam allowance:
Then push your needle back down, in the background only, right next to the place where your first stitch came up from the back. In the second photo below, you can see when you pull the thread all the way through, there is just a little “dot” of thread visible! Continue on stitching the way all around the shape. The stitches should be about a scant 1/8″ apart.
Here are some additional photos up close that I took on another project I was stitching:
That’s it for this week’s lesson. If you are interested in a video demonstration of stitching, here is a video:
Next week, I will cover making stems from bias strips and stitching inside corners and points. In the meantime, leave me your comments or questions below and be entered in a drawing for one of my favorite patterns: Scrappy Gardens. There will be 3 winners!
This pattern is simple enough for those beginning applique. I will also have a grand prize winner at the end of the series who will receive the pattern along with an applique “starter kit” which will include needles, Roxanne’s glue and a Sewline pencil!
All the drawings will take place on Monday, November 9th. So you have plenty of time to enter! Until next week….