Turning Raw Edges
Vintage appliqué by Carrie Fowler
Appliqué involves sewing fabric shapes onto a background fabric. In appliqué, the raw fabric edges are turned under so they do not show and do not ravel when the quilt is used. Raw fabric edges can also be covered by hand or machine embroidery, but not in traditional appliqué. There are many ways to turn under the raw fabric edges. You can baste or pin the seam allowance under so the raw fabric edge does not show. You can also use freezer paper or fusible interfacing to save time. Check out online video tutorials on these methods on YouTube and Vimeo.
You can also use a needle-turn technique to turn the raw fabric seam allowance under as you appliqué the shape to the background. To do this, you fold the raw edge under by turning it with your needle as you appliqué. It takes a little while to get the hang of it, but it saves time over basting or other methods where you prep fabric shapes before sewing.
Fabric shapes may be appliquéd by hand or machine. To sew by hand, thread an appliqué needle with thread that matches the appliqué shape (not the background fabric) exactly. Make a knot in one end of the thread. Do not double the thread; sew with a single strand.
In appliqué, the stitches are hidden just under the edge of the fabric shape. Only a tiny portion of each stitch should show along the outer edge of the shape. Take close tiny stitches on the right side of your project, about 1/8 inch apart and ¼ inch on the wrong side of the background fabric. Bring the thread up from the back of the project and directly through the fold in the appliqué shape. Then run the thread back down into the background fabric.
When you have finished sewing the appliqués to their foundation fabric, iron your work. Press from the wrong side of the fabric and iron only the background fabric, not the appliqué itself. This allows the appliqué to puff up slightly and create texture.
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