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Applique Part 1 – Terminology

Applique Series at The Crafty Quilter

This is the first part in a series of lessons on applique.

You can find Part 2 here:  Machine Applique with Fusibles and Part 3 here:  Machine Applique Stitches.

I have a few projects coming up on my blog that involve this technique.  I, personally, love anything that includes a little applique in it.  So, maybe I can share my enthusiasm with you and introduce some simple lessons to get you familiar with it.  My focus will be on machine applique.

Let’s start with some basic terminology so that we’re all speaking the same language. Capisce?

I will begin by saying that I am no expert on applique, but I have tried most forms of it and have learned much along the way.  I also teach a basic machine applique class.  If you have any questions or additions to my information, I’d be happy to hear it!

Applique:  The process of applying a fabric shape on top of another fabric (generally referred to as the background fabric) to create a design.

Machine Appliqué Flower Basket
Machine Applique Flower Basket by Sue Nickels

Hand Applique:  This involves applying an applique shape to a background and stitching it in place by hand with a needle and thread.  There are many techniques used to do this.  Here are some that you may have heard of (or not)!:

  • Needle Turn
  • Freezer Paper Template on top
  • Freezer Paper Template on bottom
  • Freezer Paper & Starch
  • Back Basting
  • Reverse Applique
  • Faced Applique
Hand Applique Example by Julie Cefalu
Hand Applique Example by Julie Cefalu

Machine Applique:  The applique shape is stitched in place by machine after it has been adhered to the background fabric.  Usually the edges of the applique are “raw” (fresh cut), but they could also have an edge that has been turned under ahead of time.

Turned Edge by Machine Sample by Julie Cefalu
Turned Edge Applique by Machine Example by Julie Cefalu

Raw Edge Applique:  Involves using some kind of fusible web product to adhere the applique shape onto the background.  To make it more permanent, the applique is then stitched in place using your sewing machine.  You can choose from a variety of stitches to accomplish this including zig zag, blanket, straight or decorative stitch.

Raw Edge Applique Example by Julie Cefalu
Raw Edge Applique Example by Julie Cefalu

You can find Part 2 of this series here.  I will be demonstrating the raw edge applique method using a zig zag stitch and a blanket stitch.

Applique Hearts at The Crafty Quilter

Julie Siggy-1

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  1. 1 must admitted only can sew a straight stitch. I have looked at somg of your art work. Yes that’s what I called it. My mother did all her by hand. I would like to bright up people lives whom have lost hope quilts, inspritional wall hanging and etc. Yes I did sew at one time , but I adopted a very sick premature baby, whom god has blessed to be 26 now. I am intersted in again for brining happiest with art. Yet I need basic , i mean basic for beginners. I am an older lady that serves my rural commuity to enhance others life, this is another way I pray for. Please help. Do you have catlogs for customers.?

  2. Meu nome é Ruth moro em Manaus/Amazonas/Brasil e só agora conheci a virada de agulha e estou apaixonada e procurando na net, achei seu blog que gostei muito…..Já faço aplique com ponto caseado e quero muito aprender a técnica de virada de agulha…..

  3. I love quick fuse applique (raw edge applique) and use both hand or machine stitching to secure the shapes in place. I combine this method with patchwork or use it on its own in my mug rug patterns. I love your turned-under work. It is very neat and pretty. I will follow this series with interest.

  4. I love your Blog. I have done a lot of raw edge machine appliqué.
    Have not taken a class on this. So, I will be anxious to learn more from your blog.

  5. A tad confused here. I thought “raw edge appliqué” was where you stitched by machine just “inside” the edge of your appliqué.

    Machine stitched applique could be any kind of stitch covering the “edge” of the appliqué.

    I guess maybe it’s just different terminology for different people.

    1. HI Cindy. I think it is just a matter of terminology “user style”. I consider raw edge applique as any form that starts out with a raw edge. I know what you’re referring to and when you stitch inside the edge, you definitely are leaving a raw edge behind! Thanks for pointing that out.

  6. Some day I going to make something using applique. Everytime I see something you have made, I move this up on my list of things I want to do next. Just love it.

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