It’s been a while since I have done a needle-turn hand applique tutorial, so I decided now is the time to do one. This will be a series over the next 3 weeks and, to give you an incentive to read, there will be drawings for some hand applique supplies and patterns at the end. And … there won’t be only one winner!
Before I get started, I wanted to remind you that it is still Breast Cancer Awareness month and the #SewPINK Initiative continues. Click here for my contribution: By Annie #SewPINK Initiative: Hope & Love. You can still enter my drawing there for two of my SewPINK patterns and a 30% off code for one of my many kits! Here’s this year’s project:
Recommended Applique Supplies
So, let’s get started on the topic of needle turn hand applique. Many quilters are wary of applique because they think it’s too hard. Believe me when I say, it’s not! Here are some supplies that I think are the most important.
- The right needle. I like the John James applique needle in a size 9.
The higher the size number, the shorter the needle. I have found this to be the right size for me. Test out needles sizes to find the best for you. These needles are also the best for any type of fabric, including Batiks.
- The right threads. I recommend 100% cotton threads. I use Mettler silk-finished 100% 50wt cotton threads. These threads come in a variety of colors.
We’ll get into thread matching when it’s time to stitch, but it’s good to choose a thread that gives you options.
- Good lighting. It’s really important to work in good light when doing hand applique. You want to be able to see your work and to make sure you are hiding your stitches. Obviously if you are working in low light, you will not accomplish this. I use a light like this:
I can sit with my sewing beneath the light and look through the magnifying side to make my stitches literally disappear when not under magnification! Now, you do not have to use a magnifier if you don’t want to, but good lighting is a must.
- Other tools. A few other tools I keep on hand are Roxanne’s Glue Baste-it, which takes the place of pins (no more poking fingers while stitching!), Sewline mechanical chalk pencil for tracing template shapes onto fabric and a good clipping scissors just for fabric. The Sewline pencil comes with leads in white, yellow, green and pink so you will have a line that shows on all different fabric colors.
Templates: So now that we have our supplies, let’s get started. Patterns for applique projects will have a template page or pages:
I recommend that you either copy this page onto a piece of card stock, or glue a copy of this page to card stock and then cut out the templates. That will make the template more sturdy for tracing, especially if you have to use it a lot of times. Here are some applique pieces:
If your applique shape is symmetrical, you will not have to worry about reversing it to trace onto the fabric. If it is not symmetrical you will have to reverse it for tracing so the applique piece faces in the correct direction when you stitch it. Most patterns will let you know if you have to reverse a template.
Tracing: Now, it’s time to trace. Use the Sewline pencil or a similar marking device to trace your shapes onto the RIGHT side of the fabric. The line created by your tracing is used as a guide when stitching later. If you are tracing several times onto the same piece of fabric, be sure to leave at least 1/4″ between tracings to allow for a turn-under seam allowance (you do not have to do this if you are doing machine applique).
Preparing for Stitching: Now, you need to cut out the shapes from the piece of fabric as shown. Then clip in the seam allowance which will help you to turn under the seam allowance for stitching.
That’s it for this week’s lesson. Once you have all your shapes traced, cut out and clipped…. it’s time for stitching. Come back next week and we’ll cover that! 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….