for beginners, getting started with needle turn.

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gini Posted: Sat, Mar 17 2012 2:33 PM

for all of y ou new appliquers, i have a practice lesson for you.    sewing a heart onto a background.   you can use this for a label on the back of your quilt if you choose lighter fabrics.

cut out a 6 inch background, cut a heart out of template plastic or draw onto freezer paper. make it a fattish heart.  after you've drawn your heart on the freezer paper, put the shiny sides together and iron it making sure the back of the heart is covered by freezer paper.   after ironing, cut out your heart.  this will give you a stiff paper template that can be used several times.

trace around your heart with pencil, onto a contrasting fabric, then cut out the heart, a scant 1/4 inch out from the drawn line.   the line will be your turn under line.   smoothe the heart over the background and pin it in a few places, far enough from the edge that you can turn under the seam allowance,  a really fat 1/2 inch away from the edge. you don't have to be precise with the cutting, just close- ish.

when i use lighter fabrics for my applique, i back the piece with muslin or white so the seam allowance doesn't show.  you're jsut practicing for now so don't worry about the liner.

a heart gives you a point and a cleavage to practice on.   start your sewing about an inch above the point.  if you are right handed you will start on the left side of the heart as you look at it.  

http://server.nancyellenquilts.com/instruction

the first two videoas of nancy ellen are excellent examples of needle turn.  the following videos are great , too. i do a few things different, but they are minor details.   when i am doing a complicated pattern, i mark the background.  this gives you perfectly placed pieces so they match up.  if placement isn't  as important, i eyeball where they go.   in the heart demo, she has you drawing the heart on the background.  i think that is an extra step you don't need for a heart,   but it does show you how to work that part of needleturn.   if i were making a circle of overlapping hearts, i would draw them out on the background so the placement of each heart would be right on.    or i  would stitch the overlapping parts of the hearts,  then stitch it as one piece to the background.   there are no hard and fast rules.  do what works for you.

i'll hunt up some good videos on stitching over paper templates if anyone is interested.

sharon schamber uses a technique that glues the edges, her work is exquisite.   needle turn is fewer steps. i always come back to needle turn, because once you get the technique down.  there are fewer steps, you can get right to the sewing.

http://appliquetoday.blogspot.com/2008/04/needleturn-applique-stitching-tutorial.html

gini in north idaho

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Frances replied on Sat, Mar 17 2012 3:02 PM

Hi Gini,

Now i know what i will be doing in the morning, thank you for putting this up Gini, i think i will like the needleturn as i already do English paper piecing and i dont think the sewing technique is that different (very small stitches, regular size)

lots of love

Francesxx

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Barbara replied on Sat, Mar 17 2012 3:39 PM

thanks Gini, I will get this done but I'm already booked for the day. Barbara

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Emily replied on Sat, Mar 17 2012 3:50 PM

Gini, you are right on with your tutorial.  What I do and which I find works for me is that I trace the 'heart' on to freezing paper on the dull side, cut it out exactly on the line, iron it to the fabric I want to use to make the heart and then cut it out with a scant 1/4" edge of fabric past the heart.  This way when I applique I turn under right at the paper line.  When I am finished I just remove the paper - and you can use the same pattern several times before the freezer paper gives out.  It also give you a very accurate placement.

 

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gini replied on Sat, Mar 17 2012 5:41 PM

emily, i add one step and draw around the paper on the fabric, it's just a template, i don't iron it on,  and stitch on the drawn line.   i'll give your method a try and see if i like it better than the way i've been doing it.  thanks for the feedback    

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Nana replied on Sat, Mar 17 2012 8:38 PM

Emily

I tend to do my needleturn like you do.  I use my freezer paper as the guide for my seam and pull it out about an inch or so before I finish sewing the piece down.  That way I don't have to cut a slit in the back to pull out the freezer paper.

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Kris replied on Sat, Mar 17 2012 9:29 PM

Nana,

the freezer paper is on top for this method. I find sometimes I have to baste the fp in place so I just trace onto my fabric.

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gini replied on Sat, Mar 17 2012 11:56 PM

nana, you are turning your fabric over the paper, emily is turning the fabric under the paper

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Frances replied on Sun, Mar 18 2012 2:01 PM

Gini,

Ive done it my first one ever, apart from the fact i did not have the right thread, or the right needle (thats the show on thursday to buy everything), and also the fact i can not draw even the most basic of things, its okay, its not good but hopefully after a few more practice hearts with the right equipment i should get a bit more than okay one.

 

lots of love

Francesxx

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gini replied on Sun, Mar 18 2012 2:50 PM

frances, your first heart is great. nice job.

once you get the right tools, you will be off and running.   your stitches are too far apart, that could be the needle and or the thread.   the puckeries you see along the edge are due to folds under the  fabric instead of miniature pleats.   these all take care of themselves with practice.    one way to help keep the fabric smooth is to squeeze it into submission before you stitch it down.   finger press along the drawn line before you stitch the piece down.  i use my fingernails for creasing. so i fold the fabric on the line and squeeze it on that line with my fingers to get a memory of where the fold should be, then i take my fingernails and crease along that fold kinda firmly.   you can ease the seam allowance while you are doing this to help it remember that it is supposed to be pleating and not putting little folds in.

while i am turning the fabric under, depending on how straight the edge is,  i turn it under (this is always done  with the tip of the needle, i use the point to grab it) ,  then do a little back and forth sweeping motion to smooth the applique  fabric under neath, the seam allowance is what i'm smoothing.   have your thumbnail right there, ready to hold that seam allowance in place, because if you get a good pleat  right away you want to be ready to hold it in place.    once you get the fabric smooth, take your stitch or several stitches and repeat.

how many stitches you can take at a time depends on how curvy that section is.     the more often you stop, tuck and smooth, determines the even line of your applique piece.   of course on a straight line, you can turn that entire length down at one time. 

 remember, it is only fabric and you are the master, you will make your  fabric do what YOU want.

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Frances replied on Sun, Mar 18 2012 3:15 PM

Thanks Gini,

You are a star, and youre help is so much appreciated.

lots of love

Francesxx

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Emily replied on Sun, Mar 18 2012 5:04 PM

That's a good first effort, Frances.  You can get easy things to start with in a children's coloring book.  When you bend the fabric to needleturn, try to place your  needle in on the side, in the fold of the fabric and your thread will become more invisible.

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Sheila replied on Sun, Mar 18 2012 5:29 PM

Gini - Thanks so much for the links! I have to tell you, they were very good but, I HATE computer buffering and it just frustrates me to watch something that has to keep stopping and then catching up. ARGH! But, I made it through those tutorials and a couple more. I'll do a few practice pieces and see how those turn out with these lousy eyeballs before I make any final decisions on how I want to go about these. In the end, I may combine some techniques!

 

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Sheila replied on Sun, Mar 18 2012 5:30 PM

Francesxx - I hope my first effort turns out as well as yours! I'm glad we're not having a contest! Good job!

 

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Barbara replied on Sun, Mar 18 2012 6:14 PM

Frances , great work ,I hope my first one comes out this good . Barbara

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