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Applique in Quilting

Applique is a term that quilters use in a few different ways when talking about their quilting projects:

  • Applique, used as a verb, is the process of sewing (or attaching in another way) smaller pieces of fabric onto a larger background. Templates are used to cut the patches.
  • Applique, used as a noun, refers to a quilt or other project where pieces of fabric are already attached.

Needleturn Applique

Needle Turn Applique is a traditional hand applique method. Shapes (including a seam allowance) are cut from fabric and pinned to the background. Quilters use the end of a sharps needle to turn under the seam allowance of each patch as they sew the patch in place with a blind stitch.

Sew and Turn Applique

Sew and turn applique is an easy technique that eliminates the need to turn under seam allowances before sewing shapes to a background. Two identical shapes are positioned right sides together and a seam is sewn all the way around the shapes (on the seam line). The quilter makes a slit in the material (fabric or something lighter-weight) that will end up on the reverse side of the pair before turning the motifs inside out. Shapes can be added to the background using any method.

Fusible Web Applique

Fusible web applique  sometimes called iron-on applique, eliminates the need for seam allowances. Instead, a thin sheet of sticky webbing is pressed onto the reverse side of the finished size of shapes. When the shapes are ready they are pressed to the background, sticky side down, using a hot iron.

It's best to hand or machine sew the edges of fusible web shapes to the background to keep them from curling away from the fabric, even if the brand you choose says that stitches aren't necessary.


 
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