by Karen Johnson
What exactly is appliqué? Here's Dictionary.com's definition: n. A decoration or ornament, as in needlework, made by cutting pieces of one material and applying them to the surface of another. To decorate by cutting pieces of one material and applying them to the surface of another. But in quilters lingo, I think of appliqué as any opportunity to embellish your project with fabric!
What are some of the methods? OR, How do I know which method is for me? In today's Introduction to appliqué, I'm going to show you how each of the methods look after they been finished, in order of beginner to advanced. This will help you decide which method of appliqué fits best with your project and skill level. I'll include my own personal opinion about the pros and cons of each. These are all close ups of finished quilts.
1. Raw edge appliqué. Uses fusible web and the edges are unstitched. Machine quilting and fusible web holds the pieces in place.
2. Raw edge appliqué. Uses fusible web and the piece is straight stitched inside the edge for raggy effect.
3. Raw edge appliqué. Uses fusible web and finished with a zig zag stitch. Note, both of these pieces have been machine quilted in the ditch, around the appliqué, to create depth.
4. Raw Edge appliqué Uses fusible web, then is blanket stitched by machine or by hand (these examples are done by machine).
5. Invisible machine appliqué. The edges are turned under, then stitched with a special machine stitch. You can use either invisible thread or matching thread. Note, both of these pieces have been machine quilted in the ditch, around the appliqué, to create depth.
6. Blanket Stitch. This is done either by machine or by hand, with the edges turned under (these examples are done by machine)
7. Hand appliqué. The edges are turned under and the stitches are done by hand. This can be done with freezer paper templates, mylar templates or as needle turn. Needle turn appliqué is quite advanced and the needle is used to turn the edge under as you stitch.
This should give you a basic understanding of how the various methods will look and which methods are right for you. For each method shown, you have two considerations - how to prep the pieces and how to stitch them.
Prepping your appliqué pieces takes nearly as much time as stitching them. But since there are shortcuts and speed techniques in stitching, there are also shortcuts and speed techniques in the prep. All of the photos above used one of two basic prep methods:
Raw Edge - fast and easy
Turned Under Edge - a bit more time with a more finished look