Monday, July 2, 2012

Tutorial: Turned-edge Machine Applique My Way

I've been doing a fair amount of applique on my Superhero Quilt and decided to post a quick tutorial about how I do it.  I've tried a couple of different methods and this is my favorite so far.  I really prefer the look of hand applique, but I don't always have time to do it, and this method is a close second.  It gives nice results in a reasonable amount of time.

Start by drawing the desired shape on the dull side of freezer paper, and cut it out on the lines.  Then cut your fabric a scant 1/4" all the way around.  This shape is going to be a window.

With the dull side of the freezer paper against the wrong side of your fabric, turn the corners of fabric over the paper and iron in place one at a time, using the tip of your iron.  The fabric will stick to the shiny side of the paper, holding it in place.  Tip: turn off the steam on your iron while preparing your appliques.  If your piece doesn't have corners, it is easiest to start on an edge with a gentle curve rather than a sharp one. 

Next, using the side of the iron, allow the weight of the iron to push your seam allowance over the edge of the paper and press in place.

Continue on all sides.

Curved appliques are not much different.  It reduces bulk if you cut around the edges with pinking shears, but I just did mine with a regular scissors this time.  This is going to be the moon.

Fold in corners, if any, and use the iron to press around the outer curve first. 

For inside curves, clip partway into the seam allowance first.  Do not clip all the way to your paper.   How often you clip depends on how sharp the curve is.   Here I clipped about every 1/4".

Here it is ready to go.  You can see the points look a little unruly--I find it easier to shove the edges under with the point of a pin just before I sew that part down.  If there is a lot of extra fabric on sharp  points, carefully trim a little off.
 For machine sewing, you'll need to use a monofilament thread.  I prefer MonoPoly by Superior Threads.  It is so thin you can barely see it.  Set machine to a tiny zig-zag (I did mine 1.5 long and 1.0 wide) and adjust tension.  Mine works best set at 2 using monofilament. 

Pin your appliques in place, or you can even press them in place for a little extra adherence, but I don't find this necessary.  Becaue the freezer paper is still inside, the shapes are stiff and tend to stay where you put them.  Do your tiny zig-zag all around the edges.

It does show up a little bit, but not nearly as much as regular thread.

Turn over to the back and carefully trim out the backing fabric, leaving about 1/4" seam allowance.

Pull the paper out.

I find that using really sharp pointed scissors works really well to trim out the backing fabric.  The freezer paper also protects the front of your applique from being cut, but still be careful!

And there you have it!  Applique can be such a fun way to add elements that can't easily be pieced.  Here's the Daily Planet, with a little added embellishment.

This is the top half of the superhero cityscape quilt with all of the appliques in place.

Captain America approves.
There are several other ways of doing machine applique, but this one works for me.

1 comment:

  1. Nice tutorial. Captain America is my son's favorite. I have been meaning to send your pantograph to you, but my email server crashed with your address in it. Would you consider sending me a postal address to my other email? It is


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