Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Needle Turn Applique...Cottontail style

I've had quite a few requests to share how I needle turn here we go!

I like to use a #9 gold eye quilting needle. It's small and sturdy. Anything larger has the chance of pulling the *turn* out when the thread is drawn.
My thread of choice is a rayon/cotton blend. It's thin and is buried nicely in the fabric. Less chance that your stitches will show!

My first indispensable tool is a light box. I use it to trace the individual pieces in my applique on to the rough side of freezer paper.
If you don't have a light box, a sunny door or window with easy access works, too. I have a patio door that I use for larger projects. If you're using a vertical surface, make sure you use painters tape (it doesn't leave residue) to secure your pattern to the window.

Once I have my pieces traced...I don't add a seam allowance...I cut them out of the freezer paper and iron them to the right side of the fabric. Shiny side down toward the fabric.

When I cut out the pattern/fabric piece, I add the 1/4 inch seam allowance. I'm a wing it kinda gal, so I don't fret about an exact measurement. The applique process will correct any inconsistencies.

The next step is where you need to practice a bit and see what is comfortable for you.
You can begin the applique with the freezer paper attached, using the paper edge as your guide where to turn under.
Or, you can trace around the paper with a #3 pencil or chalk pencil. If you choose this method, you can remove the freezer paper to applique.

Personally...I find working with the paper very bulky. Sometimes I'll trace the pattern in pencil if it's a very fussy piece. Most of the time I trust my cuts and just go for it!

To begin the needle turn, bring your thread up from back to front, 1/2 inch behind the applique edge.
I wear my nails short, with the exception of my right pointer (I use it as a thimble for hand quilting) and my left thumb. The thumb nail has two purposes. 1- It holds the fabric flat so drawing the needle through doesn't move thing around. 2- It's a little *finger pressing* tool. I press the nail down on the turned edge...and it stays.

Now let's start to needle turn applique!

I'm right handed so the the next step will have to be reversed for lefties.

With the tip of the needle, tuck the fabric under to the end of the freezer paper or to your pencil marking.

With the thumb nail of your left hand, hold that fold firmly. Bring the needle up through the very tip (1 or 2 threads)of that fold. Draw up the thread.

Still holding the fold with your thumb nail, take a tiny stitch through the backing fabric...two threads behind where the applique thread came through the top of the applique.... and back up through the applique as close to the last stitch as you can.

Continue this process all they way around the applique!
Remember to nip...not cut...inside curves.
When you reach the first stitch, insert the needle straight through all layers of fabric and knot at the back.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Have fun with needle turn applique!