85F3CE96-2B73-4819-B350-FD64F4FBC6D4 .Quiltscapes.: I ♥ Appliqué Lesson I: Raw Edge Machine Appliqué Basics

Monday, February 13, 2012

I ♥ Appliqué Lesson I: Raw Edge Machine Appliqué Basics

 I ♥ Applique' featuring Love Birds by My Mind's Eye for Riley Blake Designs

Ap`pli`que´ = (ăp'lĭ-kā') Definition: Appliqué literally means "to put on" in French and is a technique used to decorate the surface of fabric by applying pieces of cut fabric by sewing or embroidering around the edges.

Let's have some fun on today's Cutting Corners tutorial for Riley Blake Designs.   We'll explore a few fun options "to put on" some quilty s!  Oh, and by the way, Happy Valentine's Day!
  • Sewing Machine, basic sewing kit
  • Foundation fabric or item
  • Fabric for appliqué piece(s) 10" background squares, 9" squares for applique'
  • Paper scissors
  • Good fabric-cutting scissors
  • Matching thread
(Also helpful:)
  • Pins
  • Freezer Paper
  • Fusible Web
  • Spray Starch or Starch Powder
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Glue Stick or other fabric glue
  • Mylar Pressing Sheet or Parchment Paper
  • Stiff bristle brush

STEP 1)  Choose a Pattern
Find a pattern you like, or draw one.  Click HERE ► I ♥ Appliqué to download my FREE pattern: 
I ♥ Applique' 

STEP 2)  Prepare the Shape
**  FUSIBLE WEB: (Lite Steam a Seam IIHeat n Bond LiteWonder Under, etc.) Make sure you pick a product that states “sewable.”  The pattern is traced in REVERSE on the paper side of the fusible web. Cut out the piece of web, about 1/4” larger than your traced lines. If you’d like, trim the fusible to within 1/4” of cutting line to reduce the layers, then PRESS to the wrong side of appliqué fabric, following manufacturer’s instructions for that product. Cut out shape on the drawn lines, using long, smooth cuts with your scissors. 

Pros: Depending on the brand, gives a nice clean, bonded edge to the shape. Once pressed to foundation, is not easily moved. 
 Cannot be moved without leaving residue. Can gum up the needle, if not "sewable" product used. Can give a heavy, plasticky feel to the appliqué shape (again depends on the brand). 
 Minimal for 12” to 17” product in sheets, packages, or by the yard.
NOTE: This is also my preferred method when cutting out shapes with a fabric die cutter such as AccuQuilt systems.

**  CUT OUT: Simply cut out a piece of fabric in the design you like.

Pros: Fabric is flexible, and may be repositioned any number of times. Best results for frayed-edge appliqué. 
 Edges may fray, piece may slip, fabric may stretch or pucker when stitched.

**  STARCH METHOD: Starch your fabric stiff as a piece of cardstock, then cut out the design.

Make a batch of liquid starch from powder (follow manufacturer’s directions), soak your fabric until saturated, squeeze out excess, then hang to dry or press with your iron to dry out.  Use a towel to absorb excess starch as you press, then throw the towel in the wash when done.   You may also use spray starch, spraying/pressing multiple times to get the desired stiffness.

Pros: Appliqué pieces hold shape, and may be repositioned. Washes out completely. Very cost effective. Cons: Time consuming to prepare and starch fabrics.

STEP 3)  Apply to Foundation
Once your appliqué is cut out, center/position the piece where you want it to be. If applying to a quilt block, cut out the block slightly larger than your finished size. Example:  For a finished size block of 9”, cut out blocks at 9-3/4” to be trimmed down after stitching.

Fold your foundation fabric into quarters, lightly crease to form lines for placement. If you’ve used FUSIBLE WEB, you’ll press the appliqué into place. Use a Mylar pressing sheet, or a piece of Parchment Liner (from the kitchen) to protect your ironing board from sticky residue.

You may also use PINS, GLUE STICK or other fabric glue products to keep appliqué in place until you can stitch it down permanently.

You may want to try SPRAY ADHESIVE such as 3M 505 Temporary Adhesive - quilt basting spray, etc. Following manufacturer’s directions, lightly spray the back of appliqué pieces to adhere pieces to foundation fabric.

Pros: May be repositioned. Keeps appliqué pieces in place, permanently or temporarily.
Cons: Need to spray outside or somewhere with good ventilation. Overexposure/fumes may cause side effects. Can overspray. A bit costly.

STEP 4) Machine-Stitch
  STRAIGHT STITCH: (Edge Stitch)

For an Edge-Stitch, sew about 1/8-inch from the raw edge of your appliqué. Try using am Edge-Stitch foot, or even a Blind Hem foot.  These have a guide in the middle of the foot which can follow the edge of the appliqué.  Move your sewing machine needle position to the right or left as far as the foot allows. Produces a consistent stitching line from the edge of your piece, but can be tricky on curves.

Starch, Cut out, Pin in place, Edge Stitch.


For that wonderful shabby look, stitch 1/4” to 1/2” away from the edge of your appliqué. Use the edge of the sewing machine foot as a guide. Clip edges if desired, then brush out or wash quilt to get that homey frayed-rag look.

Cut out, Spray Adhesive, Stitch 1/4", Clip, Brush out.


Heat N' Bond Lite Fusible Web, Satin Stitch
Stitch a tight zig-zag along the outside edge of your piece. Make sure the “zag” stitch goes off the appliqué, into the foundation fabric. For a satin stitch, shorten the stitch length to a smidge longer than “0” for a very finished look. Tighten the bobbin tension or loosen the upper tension so the bobbin thread does not get pulled to the top. You may need to use a stabilizer on the back so your satin stitch does not pucker.  Press the shiny side of freezer paper to wrong side of fabric for an instant stabilizer.


Most machines today come with an overcast or blanket stitch. Stitch a test to determine the width and length desired. I like 2.5 ml for both the width and stitch length.  For the best look, again be sure that the outline stitch goes off the edge of the appliqué piece into the foundation fabric.

Wonder-Under Iron-On adhesive along edges only, Blanket Stitch.

And that will do it for today.  Next step... what to do with these lovelies??  Make more for a whole quilt? 

Possibly, but wouldn't they make great Hottie Pot Holders?  That's a whole 'nother tutorial... Check back here at Quiltscapes in a day or two or subscribe so you don't miss out...  Meanwhile,
Happy Appliquéing!!

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