Saturday 28 January 2012

needle turned applique

I know I said I was taking a break from blogging but I guess it's more a break from daily blogging!

A couple of people have expressed interest in seeing my practice pieces after I mentioned them in comments on their blogs and if I don't post about them now I probably never will.

It is summer in Australia (although here in Sydney you would hardly know it). Children return to school on Monday after their summer break. A new academic year starts for them and so I thought it would be good to start the year with something new in my sewing class too.

I have been very inspired by both the Mary Lou Weidman books I was given for Christmas so I decided I needed to learn needle turn appliqué.

I can already do fused appliqué with blanket stitch (by hand and machine) but hiding those raw edges was a complete mystery to me.

So my teacher showed me three different ways to do it by hand.

The first way involves ironing freezer paper to the right side of the fabric and turning the edges under using the freezer paper as a guide.

The second way involves drawing or tracing the shape directly onto the front of the fabric, cutting a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance, and turning the edge under as you sew it to the background.

The third way involves ironing the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric, tacking through the fabric and paper, sewing it to the background and cutting a hole through the backing fabric to remove the freezer paper.

I have done all of the above methods in the same background and labelled them in pencil.

At home I did two shapes by the second method. Both were drawn free hand and are a bit whimsical but it was the practice I was after, not perfection.

Next Monday I will lean how to work with inner curves and points and then I'll be ready to tackle a project. I already have one in mind but that's a whole new post.

And I'd like to learn how to do needle turn appliqué by machine too!


  1. You are way more patient than me. My first attempt at needle turn was with the blind hemming stitch on the sewing machine. I have worked out that the thread needs to match the background fabric and the needle turn fabric has to be busy enough to hide the thread that zigs in to hold it.

  2. Fun! Hand work is relaxing but not speedy. I like machine work applique when done the Eleanor Burns way-I did a whole quilt using her technique.

  3. Very nice.

    I've never seen it done by machine. It sounds as if it could be dangerous.

  4. Lovely applique pieces. Even though machine work is so much faster, it is nice to have a handwork project for quiet moments. Sometimes it is more about the journey than the destination.

  5. great job! which of those techniques do you like best?

  6. Oh my gosh, needle turn!! I did that in a centre panel of a quilt (which still needs to be bound, but we won't go there!!) and although I can see the beauty, I hated every minute. That tiny tiny needle left me with scars, I swear!


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