Old 06-01-2013, 06:43 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Knot Merrill, Southern Indiana
Posts: 5,781

I'm new at applique (of any kind), having only worked both machine and hand a few times. Just today I did a practice piece of needle turn and I can only say that I need to do more practice pieces

I've done machine applique the following ways:

Raw edge - raw finish - machine finished the edges with a straight stitch using clear poly thread. This was by far the easiest applique method I've done but to my eye is limited to quilts that don't demand a crisp finished look. I used it on a landscape quilt and on a quilt where the applique piece was a life size black silhouette of a standing woman. The technique was perfect for the landscape quilt (but bear in mind that if you have a lot of small pieces your quilt will be quite heavy with all the extra thread), and the only reason I used it for the silhouette was in the interest of time. The landscape quilt the pieces were stuck to a muslin foundation with a glue stick and once I was happy with the placement I sewed the edges. The silhouette I used a fusible web to adhere the applique to the quilt top.

Raw edge - clean finish - the applique piece was adhered to the block with a fusible web then I machine satin stitched the edges for a cleaner finish. Very time consuming, and a lot of a thread. It takes patience and a good control of machine speed and hand coordination to maneuver the piece correctly on curves and points. It's a clean finish look and great for modern type quilts.

Raw edge - blanket stitch finish - the applique was adhered to the quilt top by machine with a very small straight stitch around the edge with a clear poly thread. I then finished the edge with a blanket stitch by hand. It's a neat "primitive" look. In terms of ease ... this was as easy as the raw edge raw finish, but extra time was spent with the hand sewn blanket stitch to finish the edge.

And of course my practice with needle turn applique which to me is the hardest, and most time consuming ... but is by far the PRETTIEST. I am determined to master this art ... perhaps check back with me in a decade or so One bonus to needle turn is that you can take it anywhere.

The needle turn I tried tonight is a bit different. If you've seen the "Egyptian tent makers" technique of quilting, this is what I was trying to make and transfer the applique design. You fold paper in half diagonally, then again diagonally then draw a design on it. Then you needle punch the design through all 4 layers of paper. Unfold the paper and now you have a symmetrical design. Place the design over your fabric base and sprinkle baby power on it and rub into the holes (I was using a black base). This will transfer the design to the base. I then did the same with the fabric I was going to applique and cut it with a seam allowance. I then used the tracings on the applique fabric as a guide to how much fabric to turn, and the tracings on the black fabric as to where to place it. As I said, my needle work need practice. One problem I ran into is that with repeated handling I was losing my baby powder tracings. I think the next time I practice immediately after the baby power I will re-trace each piece over the baby power with some kind of pencil. The reason I wanted to practice this method is that I wanted a block with a applique border on it that was a narrow band of fabric in a symmetrical celtic type design, the area inside I want to fill with a floral applique. Practice ... practice ... practice.
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