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Valerie Ann 08-16-2012 10:31 AM

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.

Peckish 08-16-2012 10:42 AM

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.

Peckish 08-16-2012 10:44 AM

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.

kristakz 08-16-2012 10:49 AM

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.

bearisgray 08-16-2012 11:08 AM

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.

Prism99 08-16-2012 11:19 AM

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.

Jan in VA 08-16-2012 11:22 AM

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!

Jan in VA

TanyaL 08-16-2012 12:01 PM

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.

hopetoquilt 08-16-2012 01:52 PM

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.

MadQuilter 08-16-2012 03:34 PM

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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