Friday, July 24, 2009

Needleturn Applique Part 3 - The Stitching!

When I first decided to give needleturn applique a go, I was rather overawed by it and wondered if I could ever master it. Initially I found it was fiddly and felt a little unnatural and cumbersome, but with some practise I realised it actually wasn't as hard as I was fearing. About a year after I began to applique I attended an applique class....I would highly recommend this if you are starting out, it really did take my applique to another level.

I thought I would show you the method of needleturn I use on this little fella...

Can you tell that I REALLY love this pattern from Kim McLean?!!!

To begin with you need to work out which pieces of applique will need to be stitched first, that is, if you have any pieces that will need to be layered. Using this bird for example, his back wing needed to be stitched first as well as the vine leading up to the birds beak.

then the body, then the front wing.

When beginning to stitch, send your needle from the back of your fabric, through to the front. The very talented Janet from Quiltsalott has done a wonderful tutorial on how to begin and end threads in your applique. Her tute is so thorough and clear I didn't want to repeat it here, rather to urge you to check it out for yourself!

Ending your thread without a knot
Photo courtesy of Quiltsalott

I work from right to left taking tiny stitches...poke the needle down into the fabric directly behind where your thread has come up, then bring it back up again a small way along. Catch a little bit of the fabric on the edge of the applique shape, pull the thread through, then repeat the step.

Using the flat of your needle (not the tip), push the fabric gently downwards to fold it under. This is where finger pressing comes into its own...as you push the edge under the fabric will naturally fold to where it has been pressed making the needleturn a very easy step. Using your left thumb and forefinger to hold the folded edge down as you work will be a big help too. As you stitch around pull the 3/4 inch pins out as you come to them.

As you stitch around your shape don't make any cuts into the curves until you are near them and ready to stitch them. When you do cut into the curves, simply cut up to the drawn line (not over it).

In curves like this I generally make 3 cuts - 1 directly in the middle of the curve and one on either side of that. As I stitch around the curve I then turn under the fabric between each cut, one at a time using my thumb to give the edge a press as I go. I find turning under bit by bit stops a lot of fraying and turns the edges under very nicely.

When it comes to stitching points, these are even easier! Cut off the tip of the triangle...this will mean there is less bulk when you turn the fabric under.

Stitch up to the point of your drawn outline.

Turn under the corner with your needle, I usually do it in two tucks. Once the fabric is tucked under the point nicely, tug the thread gently outwards to make the point sit flat.

Put a stitch directly into the end of the point, then keep stitching around the shape, cutting into the curves as you get to them.

Remember as you are layering your shapes, any parts of the applique that will be covered by a top layer will not need to be stitched. For example in the pic below the top wing will cover this area I have left unstitched.

This is what the applique will look like from the back. Small stitches with no starting and finishing knots showing (thank you Janet!).

So that's about it! Thank you for coming on this long needleturn ride with me. Please don't hesitate to ask any questions, I'm not that good at writing clear instructions so I'm hoping I haven't confused more than helped, but it has been fun xo

29 comments:

Ondrea said...

Thanks for that Cathy. I have never used freezer paper before when doing needleturn. When do you remove the paper? Or did I miss that?

Cathy said...

Hi Ondrea, you don't have an email address in your profile so I can't reply to your question via email....you pull the freezer paper off the fabric once you have traced around the shape...see part 2 - the preparation.

Janet said...

The instructions are very clear to me Cathy, you've done very well explaining everything. Of course your applique is wonderful and I love how you cut the bird to have an eye.

Kelly said...

Thank you for taking the time to do all this Cathy, curves and points were really throwing me, but I think I get it now!

LeKaQuilt said...

Thank your for the needleturn lessons. I have learn a lot from you :o)

Kathie said...

perfect instructions and pictures
I am a visual learner so the pictures help a lot
oh just love your bird!
thanks for sharing this with us
Kathie

Quilt Hollow said...

Your instructions are clear and decisive...I'm thankful to those willing to share exactly how they do these little tricks of the trade!

alobsiger said...

Lovely instructions! Thank you for sharing your methods to achieve beautiful results! The back is almost as pretty as the front.

Carolyn said...

Thank you so much for these tutorials! I did all needleturn applique, then switched to using freezer paper on the back. I've recently switched back to needleturn and needed the refresher course! Your quilt is going to be beautiful...I love her designs, although I haven't done one...yet!

ranette said...

Very clear instructions and photos...Thank you!

YankeeQuilter said...

I am in awe of how tiny and tidy your stitches are on the back of your block!

The Rabbit Factory said...

Excellent instructions and great pictures. Thanks for sharing,
Lorraine

Gwendie said...

Cathy, your instructions are really clear. This is the same way I learned in the US only I wasn't taught to draw the shape on the background fabric. I think I'll try that, though. I've been using an overlay and this looks easier. It's also probably more accurate than trying to get the overlay in the exact same place each time. Your work is beautiful.

Marianne said...

I am going to be starting a fairly intense piece of applique and have been puzzling over the best technique. Now I know exactly how I will do it. Thank you so much!

One Flew Over said...

Thank you Cathy for such a detailed tutorial, its fantastic!

Chookyblue...... said...

I ahve seen Janets posts and yours are great too.......I have enjoyed doing it now too where as before it was so daunting till I got my head around how it was done..........

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

This afternoon I think I might have another go at this Cathy your instuctions are just so good..thankyou

Ondrea said...

Ooops! Sorry Cathy. I must have overlooked that in your instructions ( no sleep, no brain).Thanks for explaining it to me and thankyou for putting the tutorial on the blog. It has encouraged me to try needleturn again.

Karen said...

Did you plan for your bird to have an eye or did it just happen that way? Very cute. I love all the bright fabric you use. I need to brighten up my stash.

Darlene said...

I've just discovered your blog and have thoroughly and completely enjoyed your shared knowledge about hand applique. Thank you so much!

I'm off to read your blog from the beginning I love your style.

Christina said...

This series was very helpful, i'm glad you took the time to blog about it. I've done some appliqué but learned so much from you and look forward to my next appliqué project!

jaybird said...

i think i'm finally going to be ready to take the jump soon and begin!! thanks for all the great info..

thornberry said...

I am so thrilled to have found your blog and this series. I started quilting a few months ago, and am already more than a little addicted. I have signed up for a block of the month that will involve needleturn, and your tutorials are incredibly helpful! I'm basically self-taught (thanks to the internet) and your work is inspirational. Love your colour and fabric choices and thanks for sharing your creativity.

liloca, liloquinha said...

Seu trabalho é simplesmente cativante, Gosto muito de cores alegres!! Abraços
liége
Brazil

Home Is Where The Heart Is said...

All I have to say is WOW! I love your step by step instructions! I love quilting but alas have not made very many. Happy Quilting to You!

Jiraporn Chantaramanee said...

Thankyou for sharing..
You are very lovely ...Thankyou very much.
cjiraporn@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this wonderful tutorial. I am starting an applique quilt and it will be challenging for me, but with your helpful photos I know I will finish the quilt.

Amy
abf3615@aol.com

Mary said...

Thank you - I am just learning this technique and your tutorial is very helpful!

ruth moraes said...

Poderia me dizer o que é este papel congelador? eu moro em Manaus/Amazonas/Brasil e aqui eu só conheço o papel termocolante.....que já uso no aplique,seria o mesmo papel?