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Thread: Learning applique

  1. #1
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    Learning applique

    I've been doing traditional piecing for the past few years and think I should progress into applique. I've attended a machine applique class 2 years ago but find it pretty challenging as I can't quite estimate when to stop & turn, what angle to turn etc. The stitches turned out very uneven and ugly! Would hand applique be an easier technique for a beginner?

    I'm using the Heat n Bond fusible web. I remembered that my teacher worked with a stablizer underneath the fabric. Is that necessary?

    Grateful if anyone could point me to good tutorials online which I could follow as a beginner. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Erin Russek's website has both video and picture tutorials that are very good and very detailed.

    http://erinrussek.typepad.com/one-pi...lique-lessons/

  3. #3
    Super Member trif's Avatar
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    Practice practice......
    If you want, you can also use clear thread, that way you can continue to improve your stitches and still feel good about the projects you are completing.

  4. #4
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    You don't say what stitches you're using to stitch the edges of your applique. Mostly it just takes practice. And no matter how uneven and ugly you think your stitches are if you put it away for a couple of days and then look at it from normal viewing distance chances are you won't even be able to find the one or two misplaced stitches anymore.

    I've used invisible thread with a straight stitch and a teeny zig zag, matching threads with a straight stitch and a blanket stitch, contrasting threads with straight and blanket stitches. I never use a satin stitch and I never use a stabilizer.

  5. #5
    Super Member PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Have your sewing skills improved in the last couple of years since you took the class? If so, you may want to try machine applique again. The stablizer is optional for machine applique, but helps to keep the stitches from bunching up the fabric.
    There are a couple of good books out there, but don't know their availability where you live:
    http://www.amazon.com/Applique-Basic...words=applique

    http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Mach...lique+hargrove

    both books cover many types of hand and machine applique.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  6. #6
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    Its a matter of choice but I always use a stablizer under mine. It keeps my work smooth and flat. No bunching of the fabric.
    Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind see.
    mark Twain

  7. #7
    Super Member Iamquilter's Avatar
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    Just yesterday I watched Jan Patek's 4 part tutorial on MSQC about hand applique and am anxious to try her method. Up until this time I alwasy did machine applique, just practice, practice on a piece if that is the way you want to do it.

  8. #8
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    For machine applique you'll definitely want a stabilizer under there, and if it's been a while you should give it another shot -- or five; like anything else it takes practice!

    However, no matter how much I practice I still feel like an oaf when I use machine applique, so I've changed entirely over to all hand applique. Turns out I like the technique and the results much better, too.

    Definitely search for applique techniques on YouTube; I found a lot of fantastic information there when I was starting out, and still search for new nuggets of information all the time.

  9. #9
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    It can be challenging to hand applique pieces that are fused. There are so many different ways to machine applique fused pieces, if you experiment a little you are bound to find a method that you like.

    I found the book by Harriet Hargrave to be very valuable for showing how to do the various techniques. I was able to teach myself using that book. Here is a link to it on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Mach...dp/157120136X/
    Actually, mine is the older edition of this book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Mach...dp/0914881450/

    I tried satin stitching, but I don't like the way it stiffens the applique.

    You do need to use a stabilizer underneath machine applique unless you do what I do -- which is to heavily starch the background fabric first. I use a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, "paint" this on using a large wall painting brush until fabric is saturated, wait a minute to allow the starch to be absorbed, toss in dryer, then iron with steam. This stiffens the fabric sufficiently to eliminate the need for a stabilizer.

    You also need to learn about fusibles. I have migrated to using Misty Fuse for fused machine applique work because it leaves the fabric very soft. Heat and Bond, in contrast, stiffens the applique quite a bit.

    I have done hand applique (with turned under edges) and love the result. However, my hands and arthritis are such that I cannot use a needle like that for more than a few minutes at a time. Hand applique is slow compared to machine applique.
    Last edited by Prism99; 01-20-2013 at 10:03 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for your replies. They've been most helpful! If I'm using a zig zag stitch for machine applique, what's the recommended stitch length and width? Should I go really slow?

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