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Applique Techniques – Material Designs Sewn Over Another

Although generally referring to the application of a device or ornament on another surface, applique is more widely known and employed in sewing. It encompasses different techniques, such as those in quilting and embroidery.


Applique Techniques - Various Types

An applique may involve straight stitching, satin stitching or reverse applique. The first type entails stitching two to three millimeters away from the edge of the material, which should be folded under during the process. Satin stitch allows overlaps on the edge of the cloth, whether the partner patch is straight stitched or glued on. Reverse applique techniques utilized for several layers of fabric, with the largest cuts serving as the topmost layer. In the reverse applique method, the edges are also sewn down after portions of the upper layers are sheared. Other distinctive applique techniques that may not use needlework are Hawaiian applique, stained-glass applique and Celtic applique.

Applique Tutorial - Quilting

Materials for the use of applique in quilting include mechanical pencil for clear pattern tracing, applique pins or sequin pins, and coordinating thread that matches the background fabric. A typical applique tutorial for use in quilting emphasizes the importance of design selection. Beginners are discouraged from using small shapes to make stitching easier. Freezer paper is often used to trace the design onto the fabric. In an applique tutorial, the raw edges are recommended to be finished first before the Applique design is positioned. A small slit is then made behind the applique pattern, on the background fabric. The freezer paper is removed when the applique is completed.

Applique Work - Machinery

Electronic sewing machines can be used to finish the applique faster. They can sew two or more thread colors and are able to stop in the middle of stitching. These machines can do different applique work such as hand basting stitches. Recommended needle sizes for machine applique are 80/12, 7g/11, 70/10 and 60/8. The machine should also be set for a 1- to 1.5-millimeter zigzag stitch. The length should be between half a millimeter and one millimeter, close to a satin-stitch setting. The motor should be adjusted at half speed. The sewing equipment should be kept at needle down position and the type of thread used should be color 60-weight embroidery.

Written by Katherine Murphy

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