Tutorial: Kathy’s Favorite Appliqué Method
I’ve tried a lot of different methods of hand appliqué, and this is my favorite because I like the precise, sharp look it gives me. If you’re not into handwork, you can use this exact preparation method for machine appliqué too.
Supplies for hand appliqué
freezer paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets
heavy spray starch
appliqué needles (I like Foxglove Cottage Straw Needles)
scissors for paper
Sharpie ultra fine marker
scissors for fabric
thread (I like Mettler Fine Embroidery thread for hand applique because it hides itself well)
1. Draw or trace your appliqué pattern onto the dull side of a sheet of freezer paper. If your design is not symmetrical you’ll need draw it on reversed. A heart is a good shape to practice with since it has both inner and outer points.
8. Spread your pressing cloth out to work on. It will protect your ironing board from getting all starchy and scorched. Spray some heavy starch into a paper cup, or the lid of the starch can. Or mix up you own starch from concentrate if you prefer. With a Q-tip, paint the seam allowance of the appliqué fabric until it is saturated, all the way around the piece.
9. Now you are ready fold and press the seam allowance. Start with any points and corners. Fold the edge up straight against the point. Press with a dry iron. Now fold the sides up over the point, forming a miter. Press.
15. Position the piece where you want it on your foundation fabric and gently press it on. Now you are ready to start stitching. You can do this by hand or machine, but here I’ll show how to do it by hand.
16. Use thread that matches the appliqué piece, not the foundation fabric. I’m using red thread for visibility purposes in this tutorial. Thread the needle, knot the thread, and starting from the back, stick the needle up just through the edge of the appliqué piece. Start on a straight part of the edge, not a point, if possible. Pull the thread all the way up.
The beauty of this method is that there is no messing with the seam allowance as you stitch along because you made it look right at the pressing stage. Another advantage is that there are no pins to get in the way as you sew. It is also highly portable once it is glue-basted on, and you can take it with you to places where you might have a few minutes to stitch, only needing to pack your needle, thread, and scissors along with it.