Basic Turned Edge Machine Applique

Posted by Rona Herman on

Turned Edge Applique #1: The Supplies List

The first thing that goes into any project is, of course, gathering your supplies. And, if you’re like me, we have NO shortage of supplies. So, before moving on to Glue Method and Freezer Paper Method for Machine Applique, I thought I’d share with you my personal favorite’s when working on turned edge applique.

When I think about all the places I could have learned Needle Turn Applique, Ireland was not the first place that comes to mind. But, that’s exactly what happened!

In 2017, master quilter Mark Sherman debuted his ‘Book of Kells’ quilt at Trinity College in Dublin. I was lucky enough to be on the tour with several of my fellow quilting enthusiasts. As you can see, the quilt is an absolute masterpiece!

Master Quilter Mark Sherman and I on our way to Ireland with Craft Tours
Book of Kells quilt photo taken in the library at Trinity College, Ireland
Mark Sherman’s ‘Book of Kells’ quilt taken with our Craft Tours group at Trinity College, Ireland

While on our whirlwind tour of the Green Isle we took part in a series of master classes where we used turned edge applique to make an amazing Celtic cross. Using fabric painting, gold leaf and gorgeous batiks, this piece only further inspired my love of applique. So much so, that I couldn’t wait to get home and make more projects!

Applique'd Celtic cross mini quilt

As much as I love working with raw edge applique, surprisingly, I found the concentration and detail required for turned edge to be incredibly relaxing. With a little practice and patience, you’ll be creating your own collection of amazing works of art in no time! As I tell my students, “Be the tortoise. Slow and steady will win the race.”

Turned Edge Supplies List

Applique Template –

To get those beautiful designs the first thing we need is a template. These can be made from heavy paper such as cardstock or cardboard. I prefer to make templates out of plastic.

Plastic templates are great for a couple of reasons. First, they can be reused over and over with little to no wear. Also, you can see through them if you want fussy cut your fabric.

Template plastic is fairly common in most craft stores and online. Simply trace your image onto the plastic sheet then cut out the image. Easy peasy. If you’re lucky, sometimes you’ll find some fun templates in magazines!

Marking Pens –

A lot of quilters will tell you to u se only fabric safe pens when tracing your templates. The reason is to prevent any unwanted ink from bleeding into the fabric. With my process for turned edge applique you can pretty much use any pen on hand. In fact, I use a sharpie. We won’t have to worry about in bleeding because we’ll be cutting away all of the ink before adhering to our fabric.

Various pens I use when working on applique

An Awl –

If you’re staring at your screen right now wondering ‘what in the world is an awl’, you’re not alone. An awls is merely a pointed tool that is generally used in leather and woodworking. However, some clever quilter some time back figured out a way to make them our won. We’ll get more into how to use them later on.

Craft Iron –

Technically, you can use any hot iron for applique. However, I would highly recommend using a smaller craft size iron because you’ll be working with very small edges. Sometimes those larger irons can be a bit obtrusive when working with such small pieces. “Obtrusive” – word of the day.

Stabilizer –

For our project we’ll be using one-sided fusible stabilizer. These can be found at most fabric stores or online. I like to use a thinner (Sheerweight) stabilizer to prevent my applique from becoming too bulky.

If you want another way to reduce the bulk, Mark Sherman also has a great stabilizer made specifically for applique. Made of starch and fiber, it’s easy to use and washes out! Visit his online store HERE. And, be sure to check out his gallery of quilts while you’re there!

Mark Sherman's applique stabilizer

Spray Starch –

Again, technically any spray starch will do. However, I like to use Best Press because it comes in many scents and makes your whole sewing room smell nice. Plus, you can get some adorable spray misters to go with them. They are all the rage at Quilt shows these days!

Which method of Turned Edge applique will you start with? The Glue Method or the Freezer Paper Method? I know… try them both!

As always, Hoppy Quilting!

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