Bump Up the Texture in Applique Quilts – Quilting Daily

I enjoy raw-edge appliqué for many reasons. It’s certainly a faster way of appliqué quilting than hand appliqué and I like the extra texture it brings to my fiber art. For example, when I appliqué leaves and branches onto my nest quilts, the little wisps of thread that poke out here and there around the edges give the leaves and bark more life, I think.

Raw-edge appliqué is enhanced with hand stitching,
machine stitching, embellishments, and a little touch
of black. Art by Jane LaFazio.

If you like to pack your appliqué projects–or any fiber art piece–with texture, I have several tips for you, courtesy of one of the queens of raw-edge appliqué, Jane LaFazio. Jane is always experimenting with her mixed-media fiber art. She embraces “wonkiness” and isn’t afraid to mix fabric with paper. In fact, she came up with her recycled circles technique while playing with the juxtaposition of paper and fabric in her art.

Here are some of the ways Jane adds texture and interest to her art:

Include both hand and machine stitching in the same piece. In her recycled circles, she uses the fused appliqué method to stick down the fabric arcs. Then she uses the decorative stitches on her machine plus hand embroidery stitches to anchor the fabric and add interest and texture to the design.

Use variegated thread. Jane chooses to use hand-dyed, variegated thread because, in her words, “each stitch looks different.”

Cut with scissors. Scissors will give you a more ragged edge than a rotary cutter, upping the texture and “wonkiness” factor.

Add a bit of black. Jane says that using a bit of fabric with black in it-or even black stitching-makes the other colors pop.

Embellish. Beads, buttons, embroidery stitches, charms, and metallic touches all add dimension and texture.


applique quilt by jane lafazio
Jane’s appliqué quilt before the quarters are stitched together.

Piece in some paper.  Many papers are stitchable, and they definitely add a different texture to fabric-based appliqué quilts.

Jane demonstrates her techniques for appliqué and enhancing textures in her new Quilting Arts WorkshopTM video, Layered and Fused Appliqué Quilts: From Fabric Scraps to Recycled Circles. These 12″ x 12″ quilts are so fun to make, and you can create different looks for them just by changing the color schemes and embellishments. Plus, you can adapt the techniques and priciples to all your fiber art adventures that need a little extra texture.

P.S. Do you appliqué? What’s your favorite techique: machine appliqué, hand appliqué, fused appliqué, or a combination?

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