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Thread: Question about cutting away background behind applique

  1. #1
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Question Question about cutting away background behind applique

    I'm about to start doing needle turn applique for the first time, on a piece I'm designing myself. It's an underwater Caribbean scene. I've never done any kind of applique. I've been reading up on it, but I have a question for the experts. My background is pieced. I've been reading that after the applique is sewn on, you should cut away the background behind it and then remove the freezer paper. I'm wondering whether there are any concerns about cutting away a pieced background, since I will be cutting away some of the places where the seams overlap and lock each other in. Here's what the background looks like:
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    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    wow, that's awesome! i've never cut away my background.
    Nancy in western NY
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  3. #3
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Oh, so that's optional? That would make it easier! How do you get the freezer paper out, then? (If you use freezer paper.)
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

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    Super Member Chicca's Avatar
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    I starch the edges around the freezer paper, iron it down until dry and stiff....then remove the freezer paper. I hope this helps.
    Brenda

  5. #5
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    For needle turn applique, press the freezer paper to the RIGHT side of the fabric and trace around the shape. Then remove the paper from the front and applique the piece to the background using your marked lines. This way there's no need to remove the paper later and no cutting anything away.

    I generally only cut away material if the top layer is a lighter fabric and the bottom layer fabric is showing through. You can also cut it away if there are a lot of layers and you'll be hand quilting it. Otherwise I just leave it alone.

  6. #6
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    I should add you don't really need the freezer paper at all, though it's very helpful when using a dark fabric not to have to use a light box. You can also cut plastic templates if these are shapes you'll make a lot or a quilt you expect to make again.

  7. #7
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    If you are using freezer paper, you can stitch most of it down and then loosen the edge underneath that is stuck to the paper with a stiletto and slip out the freezer paper before stitching down the last little section. If the shapes are fairly simple, you could use a light inner-facing and stitch it around the edge on the right side of the appliqué shape. You cut a little slit in the inner-facing and turn the appliqué right side out. This only works on simple shapes because deep V's don't turn well.
    You can also use needle turn appliqué that is done without any paper behind it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    If the background was pieced by machine, I would cut away the background under the appliqué. I hand quilt, and it's a lot easier to quilt through one layer, and machine piecing is secure enough that I'm confident cutting it. If the background was pieced by hand, I don't cut the background.

    Janet

  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Your background piece is very beautiful. Just a word of warning, since you say you've never done any applique before, that you may find it more difficult to hand applique through the background with so many seams. It's much easier when the background is a solid piece, or at least when the seams are few and far between.

  10. #10
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Beautiful background bargello!

    Another way is to use a fusible product that you put on the wrong side of your fabric, which in essence becomes your template/guide to do the needle turn to.

    ... and I'm hoping some others have answers about this ... what fusible to you use?
    Can you tell me more how it is done?

    I am not an applique person and when I read about it on here, I just kind of 1/2 paid attention thinking that was never going to be in my future. And yes, eat my words ... I am now wanting to do the Sulky BOM.

    I hope someone can give me some answers, and guidelines ... and another option for JenelTX
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  11. #11
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    For needle turn applique, press the freezer paper to the RIGHT side of the fabric and trace around the shape. Then remove the paper from the front and applique the piece to the background using your marked lines. This way there's no need to remove the paper later and no cutting anything away.
    I'll definitely try this. Thanks! I'll be using both light and dark fabric in the applique. I'm trying to do some simple shading on the sea life that will be in these blue, blue waters.
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  12. #12
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    Your background piece is very beautiful. Just a word of warning, since you say you've never done any applique before, that you may find it more difficult to hand applique through the background with so many seams. It's much easier when the background is a solid piece, or at least when the seams are few and far between.
    Thank you! I figured I was creating a challenge for myself... but honestly, it's no fun if it's easy! LOL This particular project, the water, begged for lots of seams in my mind. It had to be done, in service of the final piece.
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  13. #13
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    If you end up cutting the background, be careful not to cut into the applique piece. (Ask me why I mention this! lol)

    You do not have to worry about anything happening to the seams. You cut inside the applique shape and away from the seam allowance. Nothing should come undone because the outline stitching of the applique becomes the boundary seam at that point. If it is a small piece I would not cut anything. Generally, there is no quilting over applique pieces. Quilting is generally done up to the edge of the piece.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

  14. #14
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter View Post
    Generally, there is no quilting over applique pieces. Quilting is generally done up to the edge of the piece.
    In this case, there will definitely be FMQ'ing over the applique pieces because I have all sorts of plans in mind for adding texture to the sea life and coral. But I have a pretty heavy-duty machine (a Brother PQ1500S), and I'm sure it could handle the extra layers.

    Thanks for the warning about not cutting through the applique piece! That sounds like something I could easily do.
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  15. #15
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    I just cut a slit in the fabric, and then use my tweezers to pull it out.

  16. #16
    Super Member JNCT14's Avatar
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    OK my two cents becasue I love to do needle turn applique - like Julie said, you don't need to cut away the background unless it will show through the applique piece - and sometimes you get an interesting effect if it does. Yes you may find the hand sewing difficult with all the seams so be sure you have a comfortable thimble (ask me how I know THAT....). And last - what i do is make the applique shape out of freezer paper without seam allowances. I iron it onto the right side of the applique fabric I want. Then I rough cut about a 1/4" seam allowance around the shape. I then either pin, use a very light basting spray, or hand baste the applique piece to my quilt. I can now turn the edges under right up to the edge of the freezer paper so I get a nice clean line. I peel the paper off when done. I find that the freezer paper piece can be used about 3 times before it refuses to stick. Heres an example.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNCT14 View Post
    what i do is make the applique shape out of freezer paper without seam allowances. I iron it onto the right side of the applique fabric I want. Then I rough cut about a 1/4" seam allowance around the shape. I then either pin, use a very light basting spray, or hand baste the applique piece to my quilt. I can now turn the edges under right up to the edge of the freezer paper so I get a nice clean line. I peel the paper off when done. I find that the freezer paper piece can be used about 3 times before it refuses to stick. Heres an example.
    Ohhhh, that's really wonderful! Thank you so much. I love this board. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to share your methods. I think I'm going to try a few different suggestions with different pieces, and see which one works best for me. I like the idea of just appliqueing at the edge of the freezer paper on top of the applique piece, without having to trace anything. That must be a really fun reveal, too, once you get the whole thing sewn down and can peel off the freezer paper.
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  18. #18
    Super Member Murphy1's Avatar
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    My goal for this year is to learn appliqué, loved reading the comments and look forward to learning a variety of techniques too. I love your water, I hope you will post your efforts when done.
    Murphy1
    For our wonderful Golden Retriever adopted in March of 2010.

  19. #19
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Just ran across some instructions with illustrations from Mimi Dietrich (!) about how to applique with the freezer paper on the back, which isn't the method I've used but from the other posters and Mimi it obviously it works!

    http://blog.shopmartingale.com/quilt...-you-applique/

  20. #20
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    I do needleturn applique by marking my pattern on freezer paper, cutting it out, then pressing it to the right side of my fabric, and draw around the freezer paper, then cut about 1/8" or less around the drawn line. I lay it out on my background, either pin or thread baste to the background and use my needle to turn the fabric along the drawn line. I cut the background fabric behind my applique only because I hand quilt. If you machine quilt, it isn't necessary at all because you won't have difficulty getting your needle through the layers. Happy appliqueing.

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