Monday, January 28, 2013

Appliqué finishes - or not!

Hi everyone:

I've had a busy few weeks with some extra events at my local library branch. I was invited to participate in two evenings of quilty and crafty fun to display my quilts and was fortunate enough to meet and chat with local quilters, knitters and rug hookers. While the weather on the first evening kept many people away, the second evening was well attended. Several quilters had questions concerning my quilts and patterns and one new quilter was wondering how to finish the edges of fusible web appliqué pieces. Well, there are several ways to do this, and I thought that my blog readers might also be interested in the techniques I use to finish my appliqué pieces. 
Vintage Hearts tutorial available on Youtube
Before deciding the type of stitch I'll use to finish my appliqué pieces, I determine the use of the project. Keep in mind that I use fusible web appliqué in my projects, so I'm discussing appropriate stitches to finish the edges of this type of appliqué only. 

Basically my projects fall into two categories: quilts, wall hangings or table runners that will be washed - or ones that won't. Starting with this premise makes choosing the appropriate edge finish quite easy - and who doesn't like easy?

If the piece is an art quilt or wall hanging that won't be washed, I have much more freedom in my finishing choices. I can use a narrow, short zigzag stitch in a coordinated or even contrasting colour (if I'm feeling really wild!). 
Short, narrow zigzag used to finish edges of flower in Blossoming
Coordinating thread used to match fabrics
Another choice might be a machine or hand blanket stitch - in traditional black or in a  thread to match the fabric colour.

Hand blanket stitch on edges of appliqué
Contrasting thread used
I could choose to do a hand running stitch just inside the edges of the appliqué pieces or even a machine straight stitch, again just inside the appliqué edge. Keep in mind that if these finishes are used, they will keep the appliqué on the piece, however, the appliqué edges may fray if the piece is handled. 

Alternatively, I might choose to not finish the edges at all. 

I know, really rebellious, but I have been known to do this if I am in a hurry. I have wall hangings that are several years old and the appliqué pieces were not stitched down, only fused, and they haven't fallen off yet (I am keeping my fingers crossed). As you can see, there are many choices if your finished piece is not going to be washed and will have minimal handling.
If, on the other hand, this is a table runner or quilt that will be washed repeatedly, then you want to ensure that your appliqué pieces are firmly stitched down - and this means one type of stitch only, at least in my mind. Yes, the lovely, elegant, satin stitch. 

The satin stitch is really just a narrow and very short zigzag stitch, but satin stitch sounds much more dignified than zigzag stitch. With the satin stitch, the raw edges of the fusible web appliqué are completely covered and the appliqué won't be fraying or falling off the quilt at all. I also feel that the satin stitch is appropriate when an polished, formal look is desired. 
Satin stitch used in Snowflakes a' Fallin'
Contrasting thread used
These are the finishing choices that I typically use for my appliqué pieces. I'm sure that there are many other ones that would also be appropriate and would love to hear about your favourite finishing technique. 

Now off to finish the edges on a new fusible web appliqué project - or not!

1 comment:

Lee D said...

great tips! yes get that new appilque project finished. rooting for you to get it done.