Bloomin’ Botanicals: Hand Stitching & Appliqué

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Bloomin' BotanicalsAppliqué Borders Anyone?

I love appliqué borders. I find they add cohesiveness to the design by bringing the appliqué to the outer edge of the quilt.

Hand stitching applique bordersI am not sure if there is a “right” way to appliqué borders to a quilt but I have learned a few things after doing a few. The first time I did an appliqué border I appliquéd the border strip and then cut it to the correct size and stitched it to the quilt center. I found this completely nerve-wracking! After all that time stitching, I found it tricky to cut and match the borders so the designs lined up.

Hand stitching applique borders

Now I sew the borders to the quilt first and then appliqué. Once I have the whole quilt together I make a full-size drawing of the border and pin it to the quilt to make sure everything lines up. Starting with the first border, I add my appliqué shapes to the border using fabric glue. At this point, I put the quilt up on a design wall and make sure I like everything. Another trick is to snap a few pictures and use a photo-editing program to “add” all the other borders in a mock photo. I know that sounds very technical but it’s really not that hard and it can be very helpful to see the whole thing before you begin stitching.

Hand stitching applique borders

People often ask me if I find it cumbersome to stitch appliqué to a large quilt. It can be a bit tricky but I still prefer it to all the stress of trying to cut and align appliquéd borders to a quilt. My little trick is that I fold the quilt up so it is like stitching to a large block. Since it is a border, all the appliqué is on the edge!

Many quilters find appliqué intimidating, especially appliquéing borders. If you have always wanted to try appliqué but find yourself a little chicken, small projects are a great place to start. Bloomin’ Botanicals (Quiltmaker May/June ’18) is a small project with big visual impact.

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