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Help with Applique - tight inner curves

Help with Applique - tight inner curves

Old 05-04-2012, 02:19 PM
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Default Help with Applique - tight inner curves

I'm about to start my first applique project. It's the Flower Garden by Kim McLean. Oh and it's BIG.

My plan is to hand applique. The technique I'd like to use is where you use a double layer of freezer paper and starch the seam allowance, then press the seam allowance into place.

I got my first piece ready - and thought I was doing well... BUT I clearly don't have the knack for tight inner curves. I cut into the seam allowance but when I starched and turned them over they frayed something horrible. Not much fabric is left to sew down. Not sure if you can see it in the photo (first time posting a picture with the new forum layout).


I've read about fray check and how you can apply this before cutting into the seam allowance. I've also heard that it yellows with age. Does the yellowing seep through into the front??? I'd hate to invest this amount of effort for it to be spoiled. Some other people recommend using a basting glue instead - given that it is water soluable.

I'm just not sure what I should do - and how I can get good tight inner curves without fraying that will last the test of time.

Appreciate any help that you can give me...
Attached Thumbnails 2012_0505hastings0013.jpg  
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:47 PM
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I think inner curves and valleys are harder than points.

You don't need a lot of fabric for the seam allowance, and it looks to me like you have enough. When you get to the inside part, try to make your stitches small and close - I use my thumb to hold the fabric down while I stitch the curve. I try to keep cuts into the seam allowance to a minimum, and I make the cuts so they don't quite go all the way to the turn under line. You could swipe a toothpick with some fabric glue to help make any stray ends go under, but if you may not need it.

If you're not confident you can do this, you could keep the freezer paper in the applique, glue the seam allowance down, applique it and then remove the paper after the block is finished. I cut into the back and pull it out...if it won't come out easily you can dampen the block to make it easier to remove the paper.

I hope this helps. Don't get discouraged - as you do more, the easier applique becomes.

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Old 05-04-2012, 03:58 PM
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One thing you can do, is (before you clip or turn) machine stitch just short of the seam/turn line (like a thread's width and with a very small stitch). The easiest way is to trace shape onto your fabric, then stitch, before cutting out your shape. Clip JUST to that stitching line; don't cut the stitches. Then when you turn, you'll just catch that stitching, within the turned seam. The stitching will give you a guide, on which to turn, and will also help keep the seam from fraying too badly. As you sew into the tight inward curve, take tiny stitches.

I've never had a problem with Fray Check yellowing BUT I don't generally use it, where it'll show. It does make the treated area just a tad stiffer.
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:58 PM
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I agree with Hinterland. I know it doesn't look like it, but there is still plenty of fabric in those curves for you to sew! Those parts of the applique will feel the least stress when the whole piece is sewn down - your stitching in the inner curves does not have to do anything but keep that little bit of edge tacked down.

I can't add much about the fray check or fabric glue as I have never used either, but I do pin pin pin when I have a tricky curve to sew!

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Old 05-04-2012, 04:43 PM
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I'm so glad you asked this question, Kiwiquilter. I have been struggling with the same thing. I have been basting, pressing and then using fusible web to catch the edges so it doesn't fray. I don't really like the stiffness of the fusible web but I was afraid it would fray.

I've not completed a quilt yet so I'm probably doing overkill but I want it to last.

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:50 PM
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It does look like you have enough to sew done with a lot of tiny stitches. Another hint for inside V's is , as tempting as it is to snip the bottom of the V for turning, don't do that. It is better to snip on either side of the V and it will still turn but you will have a little more fabric to turn under at the V. This is the method I use but it is not the only way it can be done. Do what works best for you.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:54 PM
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When I get to a valley like yours, if I can't "cut in" a little more, I use the June Taylor fray block. It does not stiffen like fray check, but don't know about yellowing over time as my quilts are not that old yet.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:57 PM
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Do, please watch this tutorial! I was lucky to be pointed to it when I was learning to applique. Now I will never hand applique without the fusible! It can stay on and is easy to sew through where glues ( I tried) are not! I will use a drop of Fray-check after sewing if I need it! I also like the little bit of the 3 dimensional look the fusible gives!

Good luck!
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:30 AM
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Thanks for this question as the information is very helpful but sorry for your problem.
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Old 05-05-2012, 05:05 AM
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Theres a product out there called Sew Secure. Its not as stiff as Fray Check and does a wonderful job. Heres a link to a tutorial on using this product and the inner points.


I use her method and it works well. Her quilts are stunning.
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