How to Applique: Six Ways to Choose From

What does the terms “sewing appliques” mean to you? Do you think of hand applique? Machine applique? The applique stitch?

raw edge applique lafazio
An example of raw-edge applique by Jane LaFazio.

There are many types of applique, from the traditional by-hand techniques to the fused or raw-edge applique methods preferred by contemporary quilt artists. Each one can be used to add embellishment and artistry to a variety of projects, from applique quilts to small decorative items.

Here is a rundown of different applique applications to choose from:

Raw-edge applique: Perfect for small projects like fabric collage, raw-edge applique is what it sounds like–stitching pieces of fabric onto another piece of fabric by hand or machine without turning or finishing the edges.

Fused applique: A form of raw-edge applique, fusible is ironed onto fabric, the fabric is cut into shapes and fused onto the base fabric, and machine stitching on top holds it all together. Perfect for an entire art quilt or adding small motifs.

Reverse applique: Instead of stitching cut pieces of fabric onto a base fabric, you layer fabrics together, stitch motifs on top, and then cut away sections of the fabric to reveal the fabric below. Lots of fun!

Machine applique: Usually done with a satin stitch, machine applique stitches thread over the raw edges giving the appliqued pieces a smooth finish that will stay put.

Felt applique: Felt gives you the best of both worlds: a clean edge that doesn’t have to be turned or finished because it doesn’t unravel. Typically applied by hand with the blanket stitch, but machine stitching works, too.

Hand applique: Just what it sounds like–you use needle, thread and a blind stitch to attach the fabric cutouts to the base fabric, creating a “seamless” design.

For more in-depth lessons, sign up for Artistry in Applique, an online course taught by the education team from Sulky on CraftU.

You’ll discover many applique techniques and fresh ways to use them in your fiber art.

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Appliqué, Online Quilting Courses & Events, Quilting Daily Blog

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