Machine Applique 201, Turned Edge

Today lets talk about turned edge, machine stitched applique. While I love raw edge, sometimes you want a more finished look that replicates a hand turned edge. This is particularly true for fabrics that shred easily, or that might on curved edges like a vase. I tend to do my vases with turned edge even when the rest of the piece is raw edge. It gives more depth and dimension to the vase and you have those lovely, smooth edges to the applique. If I am making a bed quilt that will be washed, I choose a pattern with larger pieces (think Esther Aliu’s Queen’s Garden or Wrapt in Love) and do it machine stitched with a turned edge.

Now let’s look at the carnation/vase block of my recent table runner and see how it is done when working with machine stitching. And YES, it is always okay to mix raw edge and turned edge. this question comes up occasionally and I feel that you should use whatever technique is best suited to the pattern, the fabric and the shape that you are currently working with. I mix techniques in 80% (? Could be more!) of my

Tools/Materials – Your media for turned edge is different than that used for raw edge. Your media must adhere firmly and have a good solid edge suitable for turning your fabric. This is my favorite media for turned edge, machine stitch and was recommended by Esther Aliu in one of her blogs a few years ago. It has a “glue” side and non glue side. We will be using a hit iron (cotton setting with no steam) to adhere the media to the fabeic.

Trace your shape using your light box on the non glue side of the media. Don’t forget to reverse your image before tracing! This media traces easily with an auto lead pencil. Cut your media along the solid line carefully. This edge will form the edge of your applique and a smooth cut helps assure a smooth turn!

Position your media so that you can cut a narrow 1/4” edge of fabric beyond the media edge. This is the fabric that you will be turning. Press with a hot iron/no steam. This media needs a longer and hotter pressing time and time than using raw edge media to adhere well.

I like doing thick or highly curved stems with this method. Note that I am including the top stem base in this applique, instead of doing a separate applique component, this makes for smoother, easier, faster turning and placement of yoru completed appliqur component,

My other tools are Elmers PURPLE disappearing glue sticks and my metal appliqué tool. Don’t be fooled by the clear disappearing glue sticks! They don’t work well with fabric! I bought a packet of them and they now reside in hubby’s workshop.

The metal tool is an Appliquick Rod. You can also use a wooden manicure tool with a diagonal edge, but once I committed to appliqué, I learned that the metal diagonal edge is the just the right angle for turning narrow fabric edges and it cleans up quickly between uses. I was happy to spend the $$ for the Appliquick tool as they work so beautifully. This might be a good stocking stuffer for you or birthday treat. Just casually put the photo where hubby or daughter or son can find it 😉.

Apply your purple glue stick to the fabric edge. Have a nice appliqué mat or non stick paper under your work as it is a bit messy. I use the backs of the Sticky Sulky stabilizer for this task! Clip your inside curves every 1/4″ or 3/8”, depending on the sharpness of the curve. Turn the edge of the media using a tool or your fingers, Go by sections as the glue dries fairly quickly. Glue a section every couple inches, turn, hold down to secure for 5 seconds or so and then move to the next section. The appliquick rod pointed end is good for holding a section down while it dries a bit and no sticky fingers clinging to the fabric.

Note that there a couple sections not turned. The straight edge at the bottom of the photo will go into my side seam. The curved section along the right top of the photo will go under a flower.

A stem component. Opps! There is a wobble in the turn over. If you act quickly, before the glue sets, you cannuse your tool edge to gently pry up the fabric on the back side and reposition it.
Stem successfully repositioned!
Laying out my components against the pattern.
Layout with raw edge flower component, vase accents, and vase rim. The accents are raw edge and the vase rim is turned edge.
Stitching the vase raw edge accents. First a very small blanket stitch in a matching orange thread. And then a deco stitch is overstitched in a variegated metallic thread. Superior Threads is my brand of choice!
Stitching components down. The stems are under the vase top edge. I stitched up to the stem bases and stopped, leaving the tops free to place flower components underneath. The vase was stitched and the raw edge accents applied and stitched.I use a larger blanket stitch for turned edge. For example, instead of a 1.3 x 1.25 stitch that I used on the raw edge blooms below, I used a 1.6 x 1.5 blanket stitch on the vase and a 1.4 x 1.3 blanket stitch on the stems.
Cutting out my raw edge petals.
Auditioning my flower components.
Close up of stitching the flower background. The stem base is free to stitch underneath. the vase rim, also turned edge, has been stitched using a metallic dark gold thread. When I have the raw edge in the perfect spot, and after I have removed the backing, I dab a little purple glue stick on the back to keep it in that position as I move to the ironing board.
Stitching completed! base first, then petals, then the turned edge stem base.

Now it’s time to quilt the runner! I start out by using MonoPoly to out line every appliqué element and stitch in every seam ditch (SID). Always.

Repeating the “seed” element of the pomegranate in the free motion quilting (FMQ). Repeating a shape within your design is always a good FMQ choice! Outlining and McTavishing both work well with appliqué.
Outlining and McTavishing!
More “seeds” next to the pomegranate. The “wallpaper” on the bottom is DMQ with piano keys in a light taupe thread.
FMQ of the carnation/vase block.
Thw backside of the carnation/vase block.
Leaves on the natrow sashing; swirls on the outside borders. The leaves are FMq uaing a coral/sage variegated thread and the swirls using a tonal brown/tan variegated thread.
The completed table runner! Ready for gifting and I loved making it!

If you have further questions, let me know on my blog or on this post and I will usually reply within the day. Mixing raw and turned edge is always okay in my book. Don’t be shy! Use the method that gets the results that you want. Very small components are often better done in raw edge while curvy smooth shapes look great with a turned edge and won’t fray.

And yes, I used an unrelated fabric for the border. I am using stash and didn’t have enough of anything except the grunge background for the binding, but I wanted a contrast binding. I found a tonal beige/brown batik with leaves print and went for it.

Happy appliqué and quilting to all! Lennea

1 Comment

  1. Hi, thankyou for another well informed blog on applique it is helping me a great deal, to make my work more efficient effective and beautiful. I have saved this for future information.
    Thankyou keep them coming
    Sandra xx

    Liked by 1 person

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