Learn to applique

rated by 0 users
This post has 34 Replies | 5 Followers

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 92
Points 2,430
KathyColorado Posted: Wed, Dec 7 2011 4:15 PM

Hi everyone.  I have just completed quilt piecing classes and would like to learn applique.  I know very little about this technique and would like to learn more.  Do you think it best to take classes?  Can you recommend somewhere online?  I understand that there are many tecniques, by hand, machine, raw edge, and something about paper?  What is your favorite method and why?

Oh my, I'm just full of questions.  Thanks so much.

Kathy

Top 10 Contributor
Female
Posts 28,406
Points 415,664
gini replied on Wed, Dec 7 2011 6:05 PM

kathy, i taught myself to applique,  but i was proficient in several different areas of hand work, and it came pretty easy.  applique is easy, but there are tips that can make the process a lot easier.   a class would be the quickest way to start, but there are a lot of good books out there to help you start.

the new applique sampler, learning to applique the piece of cake way, by goldsmith and jenkins has good pictures to go with the text

hand applique, alex anderson  good pictures, not as much info

perfect hand applique, liuxin newman,  my favorite

any of these books will get you started.   check at you local library for books on hand applique, too.

i checked into all the methods, and needle turn is the hand technique with the fewest steps and least amount of fiddling.   i appliqued over 200 3 "  hearts on 4"  squares.   by the time i was finished, i had needleturn applique figured out.  and i had a beautiful quilt.   machine applique is quicker, though i still prefer the edge turned under.   raw edge applique, unless you're doing heavy quilting over it  or making an art quilt, i don't know how well it holds up.  

you can use the paper to fold the edges over giving you a more precise edge, supposedly in hand applique,   my edges are just fine without.   you can use the paper to  turn under the seam allowance on machine appliqued quilts, too.  

    it all depends on where your frustration level sits, how perfect you need everything,   how quickly you want to get the quilt made,  and so many other things.   i quilt because i love the process.   i don't worry how soon the quilt will be finished.  sometimes when i  finish a tough block, i call it good enough, just because it is done.    so investigate the various methods,   don't let anyone tell you any one method is better than another,   it all depends on what YOU prefer.   i use both machine and hand techniques,  turned under and raw edge,   i've used the paper, i don't like it, but sometimes that is the only technique that makes sense on that project.    take classes on all the methods.  see what "floats your boat".

gini in north idaho

  • Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Female
Posts 28,406
Points 415,664
gini replied on Wed, Dec 7 2011 6:09 PM

i just gave you books on hand applique.  i don't have that many on machine applique, and i've never used them.   i've learned mostly through trial and error after a basic class. and, i'm not real proficient at it.   there are several gals on here that do machine applique, are good at it and will see your post.    they'll have some good resources for you

gini in north idaho

  • Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Female
Posts 416
Points 7,690
Emily replied on Wed, Dec 7 2011 8:08 PM

I agree with Gini that we all have our favorite methods of applique.  I also agree that you should take a class to SEE how it is done.  After that,  practice  will make perfect even if it takes a while.  One thing I have found out over the years is that silk thread is the best thing to applique with if you want your stitches really hidden.  It 'sinks' into the fabric and make sure, that when you turn the fabric under, you applique into the fold and into the fabric underneath.  Begin with the lessons and get a couple of books to back you up.  You will do just fine and create some beautiful pieces. 

Emily

  • Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 92
Points 2,430

Wow, Gini!  I so much appreciate you taking the time to post your very informative answer.  The library is a good source of information that I sometimes forget about.  and I'll be looking for the books you listed.

Emily, thank you too.  I have been debating with myself as to whether I should take a class since my LQS is 60 miles away. 

I have also been thinking about getting a small kit, a couple of books and just diving in. 

Kathy

  • Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Female
Posts 28,406
Points 415,664
gini replied on Wed, Dec 7 2011 10:17 PM

kathy, if you just want to dive in,  the best shape to start with is a heart.    cut out a fat heart, about 3-4 inches high.   one that's point isn't too pointy, and who's cleavage  isn't too steep.  trace around the heart on  the right side of a piece of fabric.  cut it out, leaving less than 1/4 to an 1/8th of an inch outside the drawn line.    finger press on the line.    put the heart on a contrasting square of fabric.  your heart is laying on your background.  ( smooth it on the backing and put 2 -or 3 pins in it to hold.  i would pin at the point and at the cleavage and one pin in between.  i pin just outside where the seam allowance will come when it is folded under) .    start your stitching about 1 inch above the point on the right side of the heart.   you will be using an easy up and down stitch. 

  knot your thread and bring it up inside the fold on the line.  this will keep your tail from showing.     take one tiny stitch straight down into the background and rock it back up  about 16th of an inch beyond where you went in, catching the background.  you will only bring your sewing thread through 1 or 2 threads of the heart fabric,   right on the fold.  i use my thumbnail on my left hand to guide the needle  to  the right spot.    you don't want to take too big a bite, or your thread shows.    that's the stitch.  

 two  things you will run into are points and cleavage.

  points:   continue stitching down the side, right to the end of the point.   grab the seam allowance, on the other side of your point, with the tip of your needle and sweep it  under the point  clear over to the stitching line you just made.   tuck and pinch the fabric until all that seam allowance is  under your point take a stitch right in the end  or tip of the point  and continue up the other side.    tuck under and smooth the fabric/seam allowance ahead of your needle as you sew to keep it smooth.  folds  in the seam alowance cause puckering on the surface.   i forgot to add, as you get close to the tip make your stitches closer together. you will need to really push the seam allowance into that stitching line and you don't want your fabric popping out the other side.

cleavage:   when you get close to the cleavage,   clip the cleavage to within a thread of the drawn  line.   right at the base of the cleavage, you will only have 1 maybe no threads outside the drawn line.   you must make your stitches get progressively  close together  as you reach the bottom of the cleavage, to almost a satin stitch. 

at the very bottom, sweep the fabric on the other side of the cleavage under,  clear around to your last stitch.   you may need to sweep a few times to get all the stray threads tucked under.   take one stitch at the very bottom in the heart fabric only and give it a small tug to gather all those stray threads.   continue up the other side. 

choose a good quality quilt fabric to start and muslin works well for the background.  i wash the fabric first, it makes it softer and more co operative.   batiks can be a little tricky to work  for a beginner. i use size 60 cotton thread.  silks are wonderful but slick to work with.   use the cotton while you're learning. i use a size 11 straw needle, but any size 10-11 between will work .  i try to match the color of the thread as closely as possible to the  applique, not the background.

it's pretty easy once you get a few hearts under your belt. 

gini in north idaho

  • Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Female
Posts 24,754
Points 364,957
Kris replied on Wed, Dec 7 2011 10:46 PM

Kathy,

I learned from a book and great tips from our Gini here. Kay Mackenzie's blog All About Appliqué has many links to different techniques you might find that helpful in learning about the different methods. My favourite is needle turn.

  • Post Points: 5
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 2,086
Points 31,520
Lillie replied on Thu, Dec 8 2011 6:39 AM

Hi Kathy and welcome.

 

I am self taught and taught by friends. I have not taken any formal classes on applique techniques. It's actually pretty easy, even needle turn, which is now my favorite. 

I started with machine applique on raw edges. I was never pleased with the finish on raw edges and quickly moved to turning under my pieces before finishing by machine. 

I joined a small quilt group earlier this year and the members have been quilting/appliqueing (is that a word?) forever. They all do hand applique, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I am very pleased with my progress.

You can google applique techniques and see what comes up. I've found some great free videos, and stills, just searching online. 

I agree with Gini about Alex Andersen. She does have great photos, but I was very disappointed in the lack of information she provided in her books.  I could not recommend her book on hand applique.

Have fun!

Lillie

northern colorado

  • Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 92
Points 2,430

gini:

 

  knot your thread and bring it up inside the fold on the line.  this will keep your tail from showing.     take one tiny stitch straight down into the background and rock it back up  about 16th of an inch beyond where you went in, catching the background.  you will only bring your sewing thread through 1 or 2 threads of the heart fabric,   right on the fold.  i use my thumbnail on my left hand to guide the needle  to  the right spot.    you don't want to take too big a bite, or your thread shows.    that's the stitch.  

 

Is this called a blindstitch like used when sewing on a binding? 

 

Gini, I'll be diving in just as soon as I get a few Christmas projects done.  Thank you so much....I feel like I just started my first "class."

Kathy

  • Post Points: 5
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 92
Points 2,430

Kris, thank you for the link.  It looks like there is lots of information there.

Lillie, thank you for your post.  I am thinking I prefer the more finished edge rather than the raw edge.

I'll be trying Gini's suggestion with the heart to start with.   I'm just not sure how the appliqued piece stays in place without puckering the background and how to get an even curve   I just need to try it.

Thank you all for your help!  I appreciate you all taking the time to respond.

Kathy

  • Post Points: 20
Top 150 Contributor
Female
Posts 416
Points 7,690
Emily replied on Thu, Dec 8 2011 11:02 AM
You can either pin the heart on or use a glue stick very lightly. I draw my design on freezer paper, cut it out and then iron it on to the fabric. Then pin it to the background. You bend the fabric under to the edge of the freezer paper and sew in the fold. Your 'bites' should be small.
Emily

  • Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 92
Points 2,430

Then do you leave the paper in until the last few stitches?

Kathy

  • Post Points: 5
Top 150 Contributor
Female
Posts 416
Points 7,690
Emily replied on Thu, Dec 8 2011 5:51 PM

When you finish the heart or whatever you are doing, you just slip the paper off.  In other words, the paper was your pattern to follow.  Just follow the edges of the paper as you turn the fabric under and sew it to the background.  Then take the paper off and, Holy Cow, there it is!  (This is called needleturn)

  • Post Points: 20
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 92
Points 2,430

Oh silly me....I was thinking the fabric was folded over the paper and I couldn't figure out how you would take the paper out.  Duh!

 

Thanks Emily.

Kathy

  • Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Female
Posts 28,406
Points 415,664
gini replied on Thu, Dec 8 2011 10:17 PM

you can leave the paper under the fabric and turn the fabric over it.  you then slit the background fabric from the back to remove it.

gini in north idaho

  • Post Points: 20
Page 1 of 3 (35 items) 123Next
| RSS
Have a Question? | About Us | Privacy Policy | Join Today © 2014 F+W All rights reserved.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use