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Thread: Serrated Applique

  1. #1
    Member catlinye_maker's Avatar
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    Serrated Applique

    In Baltimore appliqué, serrated leaves are often represented with embroidery: the edges of each leaf are embellished with straight stitches that stand out from the edge like little hairs. And it looks quite good and does give a serrated effect. But I wondered if there was a way to do it without the floss, and I think I’ve found a method, persnickety though it is, that will work.

    If you’re interested in finicky hand applique, read on.

    You will want to do a test using the fabric you want for your leaves or petals. The stiffer the fabric is, the wider the gap needs to be to get a good serration. Using fairly soft fabric I was able to make very small serrations.

    Mark the leaves or petals on the outer edge of the points you want to create. This leaf is marked with back basting and partially attached.

    Name:  grapeleaf1.jpg
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    I used back basting to mark and baste the leaves to the background, but you could trace templates too, as long as they had smooth edges to turn under. Tracing the jagged edges you eventually want to create would be a sure way to let your marking lines show. Whatever way you choose to mark and temporarily attach your leaf to the background is fine. Just make sure that the pieces are marked at the outermost edge. Your first stitching line should be at the tips of the points of the serrated edge.

    Turn the raw edge under and stitch it down, leaving big (for appliquers) gaps between stitches. Take an extra stitch into the same spot for anchoring. Note the stitching on what will be the points of the serrated segments and the dots and dashes effect of the large stitches and anchoring stitches.

    Name:  grapeleaf4.jpg
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    The first step is to turn under the raw edge of the leaf and stitch it down as in regular needle turn appliqué, but leave a larger than usual gap between stitches. Appliquers use very small stitches, so to make the serrations you want to make your stitches perhaps an eighth to a quarter of an inch apart. The length of the stitches will vary depending on how deep the serrations should be and how stiff the leaf fabric is. Take an extra tiny anchoring stitch over each stitch to be sure it is secure and will hold against the tugging you are going to do in the next step. On the leaf in the picture, I wanted serrated outer edges and smooth edges in the deep V’s in the leaf, so the stitches are long on the outer edges and very small on the V’s.

    Do a second pass of stitching, bringing the thread through the background well inside the edge of the applique then through the edge of the leaf piece, and drawing the fabric back with the needle before completing the stitch. In the picture above you can see the needle going into the background to start the drawing stitch.

    Bringing the needle through the edge of the leaf fabric:

    Name:  grapeleaf5.jpg
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    Using the needle held perpendicular to the work to draw back the leaf fabric:

    Name:  grapeleaf7.jpg
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    Once the whole leaf is attached to the background, bring the needle through the background under the leaf, near but not at the edge of the leaf. Then take the needle through the folded edge of the leaf fabric between two anchoring stitches. You can use the needle to poke at the leaf fabric to see where those stitches lie, if you’re not sure, and that’s good practice for the next step. Pull the thread through the leaf, then use the needle held perpendicularly to the work to pull the leaf fabric back between the two anchoring stitches, making a dent in the edge of the fabric. Sink the needle at that spot and draw the thread through snugly. Drawing up the stitch secures the dent, and a tiny stitch in the same spot reinforces it. Move the needle over to the next gap, take it up through the background inside the edge, through the folded edge of the leaf, draw back the leaf edge, secure it with a stitch then reinforce it with one extra tiny stitch, and repeat.

    Since I was alternating smooth segments with serrated segments, I knotted the thread on the background when I ran the thread to the next serrated edge to prevent drawing up the piece too much with those long stitches bridging the smooth segments.

    Here’s the underside of the finished leaf showing the two rows of stitching:

    Name:  grapeleaf8.jpg
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    The resulting serrated leaf is a bit puffy since the fabric is pulled inward at intervals, blousing it a little. The serrated edges of the finished product are slightly rounded, so this technique could be used for tiny petals as well.

    The finished leaf:

    Name:  grapeleaf9.jpg
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  2. #2
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Beautiful, beautiful! Thank you so much for the wonderful tutorial! What a great way to add a touch of dimension to applique - you're a genius!!!!

  3. #3
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks so much for the tut. looks terrific
    Nancy in western NY
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  4. #4
    Super Member owlvamp's Avatar
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    beautiful!
    Sandra
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  5. #5
    Senior Member cleodaisy's Avatar
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    Thanks lots for a super tute!!! You are a super applique artist.
    cleodaisy

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    This is a great idea. I do a lot of hand applique, and am sure I will utilize this method soon. Thanks loads. I like the effect.

  7. #7
    Super Member wuv2quilt's Avatar
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    Wow! You make it look sew easy! Thanks for the tute
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  8. #8
    Super Member abdconsultant's Avatar
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    wow...............................................
    Just passing through!

  9. #9
    Super Member kathdavis's Avatar
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    Looks great!
    Kathleen

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  10. #10
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    Great tut and beautiful work!
    Linda

  11. #11
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    I've really got to come back and look at this some more when I have more time. I love the way yours looks!
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  12. #12
    Super Member amazon's Avatar
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    Beautiful! Nice tute!Thank you for sharing.
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  13. #13
    Super Member pjnesler's Avatar
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    Beautiful - you've done a wonderful job!

  14. #14
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    Great tutioral and great photos and llovely applique. I'm in the process of trying to "really" learn how to do applique. I say "really learn" because what I havce been doing up to this point are large shapes with no innie points.
    What type of needle do you use. Its hard to tell from the pictures because of the zoom. It looks long like a straw needle but a larger gage. I've got a love hate relationship with my straw needles, find i cant swoop the fabric with them and they bend so badly. I'd love the recomendation of a good applique needle.

  15. #15
    Member catlinye_maker's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your kind words! Try it out and let me know what needs to be improved or clarified.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steady Stiching View Post
    ...What type of needle do you use. Its hard to tell from the pictures because of the zoom. It looks long like a straw needle but a larger gage. I've got a love hate relationship with my straw needles, find i cant swoop the fabric with them and they bend so badly. I'd love the recomendation of a good applique needle.
    Steady, that's one of the great debates of the applique world, right up there with silk vs cotton thread. The needle I use is a #12 sharp, and it's actually about 1 and 3/16 inches long (I went and measured.) When I was taking a beginning applique class years ago, my teacher told us that some people use sharps and some use straw needles and had us try both. I really hate the straw needles, hate hate hate. The short thin needle is best for me. They do bend eventually, but they work great!

    I use John James #12 sharp and it's the perfect needle for me. (Also silk thread; YLI not Tire. I hate Tire silk thread too, it's a snarly mess to work with.)

  16. #16
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    Nice technique and wonderful job on the tutorial......even I think I can do it!
    Penny aka PLS 1946

  17. #17
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    Thanks for teaching us. Looks great.

  18. #18
    Super Member Lilrain's Avatar
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    Thank you so very much for this tutorial. I will try it this coming week.

  19. #19
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    Great tutorial. Now I may sound "not too smart", but now how do you attach it to your fabric? At the ends of the leaves? In a little? This is new to me and I love how your leaves look and you described how to do it so well, that I think I can do it but when I want to attach it to my quilt, what then?
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  20. #20
    Junior Member karenkrafts's Avatar
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    Very pretty thanks for posting it!
    Krista

  21. #21
    Member catlinye_maker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrow View Post
    Great tutorial. Now I may sound "not too smart", but now how do you attach it to your fabric? At the ends of the leaves? In a little? This is new to me and I love how your leaves look and you described how to do it so well, that I think I can do it but when I want to attach it to my quilt, what then?
    No dumb questions; for every person who asks there are ten wondering, so thanks for being bold and asking!

    In general for applique, the fabric you are appliqueing onto is the background of your block. So you treat it like a regular quilt block, with one important exception: seam allowances. When you prep an applique piece, cut the background two to four inches bigger than you want the finished block. Then you center your design on the background fabric. I like to fold the piece in quarters and baste a line of thread on the fold lines to mark the center and the midlines vertically and horizontally.

    Once the applique is done, then you cut the block down to the correct size with normal seam allowances and sew it into your quilt as you would any other block. This is because applique, especially complex applique, can draw up the background fabric with all that stitching, shrinking it.

    If I was going to put this piece on a quilt, I'd trim it to size at this point with quarter inch seam allowances and sew it in. If it was a border, it would probably have some applique pieces that went over the seam lines. I'd leave enough pieces off at the edge to fiddle with those a little to get everything to fit (my applique often doesn't precisely match the pattern when it is done) and applique those last few pieces after the blocks were trimmed and sewn into the quilt.

    In this particular case, the black background fabric is the quilt; I plan to use a narrow strip of batting and backing and quilt a long rectangle about 2-3 inches wide with the applique centered in the piece. Then I'll trim the black fabric down just a bit wider than the band of applique, leaving seam allowances, and machine sew it to the box lining to finish the project.

    Make sense?

  22. #22
    Senior Member roguequilter's Avatar
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    what an excellently written and illustrated tutorial. kudos to you.
    the rogue quilter - in from wandering in the sun and snow with camera in hand.

  23. #23
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    I'm impressed-new member Miss Lorraine

  24. #24
    Senior Member RUSewing's Avatar
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    Wonderful pictures and instructions. This tute gets a Blue ribbon!
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  25. #25
    Super Member LAQUITA's Avatar
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    You did great!! Thanks so much for sharing! Im working on a BAQ - fruit basket & was looking to add some grape leaves. This will help alot.

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