|Kevin Kosbab shows you how to easily achieve beautiful appliqué results like this in his book Quilter’s AppliquéWorkshop.|
Many quilters and sewists are put off by appliqué’s reputation as being fussy and just plain difficult. Or, they’ve tried appliqué techniques and have not been happy with how the work turned out.
In Kevin’s book, he offers tips, tricks, and techniques (as well as many beautiful projects) that will want you to give appliqué quilting a chance and get great results, too.
Here are some of his tips:
1. In general, for both hand and machine appliqué, start sewing an appliqué along a straight or gently curved edge rather than a corner or point. The corners look neater this way.
2. To reduce stiffness from fusible web, cut the center away from your fusible shape, leaving a border of about 1/4″ inside the traced outline.
3. Try different types, sizes, and brands of hand needles to find the best one for you. I use a size 11 sharps for hand appliqué, but you might find it easier to manipulate fabric edges with a longer milliners needle. Ask for recommendations from friends or quilt shops, but ultimately it’s a personal decision.
4. Cross-wound spools of thread generally feed better on your machine’s horizontal spool pin, while stacked (parallel-wound) spools work best on a vertical pin. If your machine doesn’t have a vertical spool pin, try a thread stand-also a good idea if you find monofilament thread tangling when sewing invisible appliqué.
5. When combining piecing with appliqué, press the pieced seams in the direction that makes sense pictorially-that is, press seams away from whichever fabric is supposed to be the “background.” When prepiecing fabrics to sew down as a single appliqué shape, press the seam allowances open to reduce bulk in the turned edges.
6. Interior points are the most difficult to sew by hand, so if you have a choice, it may be easier to sew two layered pieces instead of a single one with a deep point. This trick from Jean Ray Laury adds extra visual depth too.
7. For pieces that would be difficult or impossible to turn, use a nonfraying fabric like wool felt or Ultrasuede instead of quilting cotton. These fabrics also offer different texture possibilities.
8. Appliqué doesn’t really come to life until it’s quilted. Quilting just outside the motifs or sections of them really helps them pop dimensionally. You can also ad detail to the appliqué shapes with quilting, but be aware that all-over quilting designs that run over appliqués often ruins their effect.
So, what about you? Are you ready to give appliqué a chance? Get your copy of Quilter’s Applique Workshop.