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Thread: Best Way to Applique and Why?

  1. #1
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    Best Way to Applique and Why?

    I am at a crossroads and need opinions and reasons. I need to learn to applique and their are so many methods. Raw edge, turn under, disappearing stitches....and on and on. Help! I need to choose one method as I have never done it before. Which and Why? By the way, I wash my quilts. I appreciate your help.
    Last edited by Valerie Ann; 08-16-2012 at 10:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    It's a personal choice. What one person likes, another person will find tedious. I started out doing machine applique because I found it easier and wanted fast results, but lately I've grown to love sitting quietly with my husband in the evenings and doing applique by hand. The process has become more important than the result.

    You might want to try each technique individually to see which one suits you. Make some appliqued pillow covers or wall hangings - they don't need to be huge projects.

  3. #3
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Oops - I forgot to add:

    Each method has a certain look. If you like the buttonhole stitch look, you can do that both by machine and hand. If you prefer not being able to see the stitches, you will probably like hand applique better than machine.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    I agree with Peckish. It is all personal preference. I've done needle turn and raw edge applique. And note that with raw edge there are a myriad of ways to actually stitch the edges (straight stitch near the edge, buttonhole, zigzag, i'm sure there's more). Personally, I decided after doing one that I don't like raw edge applique at all. And I don't trust it to survive washings - but I have no personal experience there, so don't take my word for it. I prefer the look of well-done needle-turn applique, but not the effort So I don't do applique.

  5. #5
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    What - and how - you do it will also depend on who/what the project is for.

    I like the look of needleturn applique. The little bit I did of it was enjoyable, even if it took me quite a while to do it. I do recommend going to a class for it - it's easier to understand if it's being demonstrated than by trying to learn from a book.

    Applique designs can be very simple and largish (easy to do) - to very complex and tiny (harder to do) - no matter what the method.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Maybe start with the look you like. My admiration has always been for needle-turn applique.

    I took classes in doing needle-turn applique by hand, but discovered my hands are not well-suited to the technique. My needle hand cramps up very quickly because I have an unusually short thumb. It doesn't help that I am developing arthritis in my hands, either!

    So, I turned to invisible machine applique. Got Harriet Hargrave's original book on that subject and taught myself. Freezer paper applique is my favorite way to do applique now. It gives the needle-turn look, but my hands don't cramp up. I have even developed some streamlined ways to cut the shapes from freezer paper, and also a streamlined technique for removing the paper from the top. Also figured out how to avoid using stabilizer underneath the background fabric (by heavily starching). Have thought about starting a thread about tips for doing freezer paper applique. Maybe others could start threads about other approaches to applique?

    I experimented with fusible applique but did not like the stiffness that most fusibles add. Purchased some Misty Fuse, which does not add stiffness to the fabric, and plan to experiment with it. My biggest problem currently is trying to figure out what machine stitch I want to use with it. Also do not know how the edges will hold up with washings. Satin stitching the edges is not my favorite approach, again because it adds some stiffness to the applique edges. I have seen photos of raw edge applique, but have not actually seen it in person so don't know if I would like the look or not for the home-use quilts I like to make.

  7. #7
    Super Member Jan in VA's Avatar
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    There is an older book called "Applique 12 Easy Ways" by Elly Sienkiewicz that covers this subject wonderfully. And you can get it used for less and a dollar here!
    http://www.amazon.com/Applique-12-Ea...ys+by+Elly+Sie

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  8. #8
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    Totally what you like the look of. I prefer the look of machine applique with satin stitch or fancy embroidery stitches along the edge of the fabric - the fancier the better. I like to embroider the fabric before it is appliqued and then to use embroidery stitches to apply it. It is attached like iron and could stay if it were applied to a professional football uniform! Simplicity is not the look that I am trying to achieve.

  9. #9
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    I love needle turn. Very easy to undo mistakes. Relaxing to do handwork and I thought it was very easy to learn unlike some other aspects of quilting. There are some awesome Internet videos. I also always use silk thread matching the piece that is being sewn down.

  10. #10
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I don't think there is a "best" way to applique. I think it is nice to understand and be able to use different methods. Just try different ones and see what works best for you. I like the steam-a-seam iron-on interfacing with a decorative machine stitch for some, and I like needle-turn for others.
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  11. #11
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    There are so many ways to applique...first you will want to decide if you want to applique by machine or by hand. You can find methods for both that have visible stitches or not. Machine applique had many variables, and a lot may be determined by the sewing machine that you have. When I bought my machine 20 years ago, I knew I wanted a machine that does the blanket stitch, and I do most of my applique with that. It is a fusible applique, but I use the fusible just around the outer 1/4" edge, the center stays soft that way, not stiff from the fusible. I also like doing the "mock-hand applique" which I do using freezer paper, and a very narrow blind hem stitch with invisible thread. Satin stitch if done well looks great, but it takes more time, more thread, and you really need to use a stabilizer for it to look good.
    Maybe make some samples of different kinds of applique and see which you prefer.

  12. #12
    Super Member LivelyLady's Avatar
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    I think it's different strokes for different folks. I tried every hand applique technique and found that needle turn was for me. I don't have to do extra steps as required by other techniques so it's a great carry along project. I also tried the different machine appliques and my preference by far is raw edge with buttonhole or decorative stitching. I would try out the different techniques and you'll find the ones that are just right for you.
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  13. #13
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    I like the freezer paper method, no raw edgeds to unravel!!

  14. #14
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I have done both...and as the others have mentioned, depends on the look you are seeking and the project. I still go back to what I learned first.... edges turned under and small invisible (well as invisible as possible) stitching. I use a card template and iron the edges under rather than needleturn. I have done the raw edge with zigzagging using my machine....wasn't sure how it would work out with washing etc. I did some on a pot mitt as a test, and so far it's still looking good.

  15. #15
    Super Member Becky Crafts's Avatar
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    I haven't heard of any right or wrong way to applique. For me, I like to sew 2 pcs together face to face all around, then snip the back to turn the piece & stitch close to the edge to sew it on my project. Like the others have told you, it's personal preference & the look you're going for. My quilts get washed a lot so my way has to stand up well for that purpose. Good luck, hope we get to see your project!
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  16. #16
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    As a beginner I like the method I saw El Burns do. She sewed fusible web to the fabric, dont iron. Cut out shape then make a slit in fusible and turn to right side, this way no raw edges. Then you iron onto fabric and sew edges.
    Of course this is for simple shapes for beginners.

  17. #17
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Just want to mention about the Eleanor Burns technique -- sewing a fusible to the piece, making a slit in the fusible, then turning inside out -- that it does not work well for small pieces and pieces with a lot of detail. This method works best for larger shapes with fairly smooth curves, such as medium or larger flowers, or large flower petals. I tried this method on a typical size Sunbonnet Sue block and found it didn't work well for small pieces.

  18. #18
    Super Member mary quilting's Avatar
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    Freezer paper applique is my favorite also I like the clean look of it

  19. #19
    Super Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    I have done some Sunbonnet Sue applique -- a 45X60 crib quilt. The Sunbonnet Sue patterns available are fabulous -- a LOT of work, but fabulous. I recently appliqued some large lettering for a quilt-top (baby), but the stabilizer I used just didn't agree with my sewing machine. I messed up so many times I wore a hole in the quilt top. SO, then I had to go to the "commercially-made" appliques to cover up the hole. No one but me will ever know where the hole is/was, though, so that's cool. By using the fusible and then the buttonhole stitck along the edges (using invisible thread), I was able to turn out a block that was really special.

    I think it's a matter of your own preference, and being a rank amateur, I'm still learning!

    Jeanette Frantz

  20. #20
    Super Member #1piecemaker's Avatar
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    I have done a few different methods. I think it depends on the project as to which method to use.
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  21. #21
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    There are many ways to applique. Each person usually finds what she likes the best.
    I do not applique, too slow a process for me. So if I make a Sunbonnnet Sue, I use fusible web.
    Its easy, and a faster method than needle turn. Try several methods to see what you like
    before starting a big project.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Sunflower Girl's Avatar
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    I recently took a two classes at my LQS; one on needle turn and one on machine applique. I think it would depend on the project. If you are looking at doing a project that will be laundered several times over the years, I think needle turn is the answer, and it can be relaxing (at least to me). If it is a wall hanging or a table runner, go for machine applique. It's quicker and will be okay for a few washings. I would suggest taking classes, if you can, or find a good book on the methods. JMHO.

  23. #23
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    Learn all that you can and then choose your method by the project you are making and how that item will be used.

  24. #24
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    why not do a sampler with different techniques and see which you like best? I find I use them all for different projects, though. My favorite is freezer paper underneath. One good book on the subject is Applique! Applique! Applique!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Chay's Avatar
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    I just finished a Dear Jane - lots of applique and boy, could I see an improvement in my skills as I went along. It was all done by hand and I used freezer paper and ironed the edges over the freezer paper then appliqued by hand. I searched the internet to try to find tutorials to get sharp points, find out how to do inner points, etc. There are good tutorials, but what would have really helped me is to sit down with someone and watch them and be able to ask questions. If you could find someone who's already adept at applique see if you can pick their brain about tips and techniques. Good luck!

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