If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.William Morris.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to needle turn on your machine

I had very briefly mentioned a product I use when I do an invisible style machine applique the other day and I am going to go into some detail on how. I do this needle turned look on my sewing machine. I have not invented anything new I was shown this technique by my friend Pam of Sager Creek Quilt Shop. Also if you want to find any of these products you can purchase them there online from her shop.
OK let me get started here, I am taking part of a bee over at Stash Bee and in our hive we were asked to make Sunni a tree block so this is mine

 To help me get the fabric to turn under is this paper by Ricky Tim. It's your pattern, template, you keep it on your fabric when you sew it down and you leave it in when done. When wet or washed it becomes a soft layer of polyester fibers.  

You will also need a few other items. Paper and fabric scissors, pencil for marking, glue stick (acid-free & water-solvable) I like Elmer's school purple. It is smooth, covers evenly and being purple when moist I can see where it is. The easy edge tool is for pressing the fabric to the paper. Bobbin thread is white lingerie thread and the top thread is  nylon and smoked color. I use that on most colors except white and very pale colors, it will show but on all other colors you do not. 

Take a sheet of the paper and trace your design.

My design was just a little larger than the paper so I took a small piece or paper and with the glue stick, glued it on the side (left)

Here's a tip; when I am making more of one shape, instead of tracing and cutting each one out individual, I staple what I need together and then cut just that one time. I was cutting 5 shapes at a time.

To prepare to cut out the applique piece from your fabric I put a little glue (purple smug) on the paper and stick to the fabric. I do not use pins. Plus when it's time to turn under your fabric, the paper stays put on the fabric.

Did the same for the tree

I trim about a little less than a 1/4". On points I will taper down to about 1/8' and will also cut straight across the end point, making it look flat. This is a good picture as an example.

Put on a some glue, make sure to get most of it on your fabric and do not miss a spot. Be generous

When I do a point like on a leaf, I will fold over the end in before I start going around. This help with making the point sharp.

You will be using the  easy edge tool. It has this rubber tip and also a smooth tip but I like on the most part rubber end. The rubber make a very good gripper and the glue does not  seem to effect it's ability to work properly.

Work it smoothly and firmly all the way around the side. When it comes to the end, you fold it over and as you see, being trimmed there is less bulk and folds very nicely.

Looks nice, point sharp. This one is ready. (17 more to go.  :)  

When it comes to curves you do as with many other methods you need to make little snips so the fabric will stretch around the curve. 

I lay when possible my background over the pattern. Being white it is easy to see through but that's not always the case. Depends on the complication of the pattern I will use other methods but this is my favor way. I will use a light box to help with some others.

I use basting glue to attach my pieces to the background. (no pins they distort the fabric and cause wrinkles.) I use a temporary, water-solvable glue, this is Roxanne's. I love the fine point on it but it come loose at times but I just push it back in. It's never done that when using, only when taking the cap off.

All you need are tiny dots to hold it down.

With all the pieces on I'm ready to sew

Now I used a very small blind stitch but you could also use a tiny zig-zag.

Important that you sew as close to the edge as you can. You need to make sure that you are stitching the background and the applique piece. Not just one or the other. I call it taking a bite of each.

This is what it looks like when done.

Makes a very nice alternate to hand needle turned. I know some who make painful looks when you mention hand applique. So now you can have the look without the pain of hand work.

Till next time


  1. Hi Kathleen...thank you for this. I appreciate the time you took. and I love your tree...

  2. Kat,
    This IS a great tutorial! Please share it on my monthly UFO sewing challenge so others can view this and learn from you.


  3. Bravo! FAntastic tutorial and I love the block. Perfect addition. Yes! I am a "Bright" girl.

  4. Interesting method....I've never seen it before but looks easy and I like the look.

  5. Thank you for the tutorial. It's really helpful. I like your tree also.

  6. What a great tutorial. This will definitely come in handy for future projects.

  7. I've never heard of Stable Stuff before and it sounds like it would really be great. I've always done applique using freezer paper and having to take it out is a pain. The fact that Stable Stuff actually turns into batting is a real plus. Does the poly beard through the cotton fabric at all?

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  8. wow, that is gorgeous and looks like an applique I could do!! Thanks for the tutorial

  9. COOL!! Thank you for the detailed tut! Just book marked this page.

  10. Great tute! I am definitely sharing & saving! Thanks for the inbedded pdf generator!
    Whoop Whoop!

  11. Kat, it's a beautiful block and a great tutorial!! You have inspired me to give it a try! Whoop whoop!!

  12. Thank you, thank you. I was so intimidated at the thought of even trying needle turn applique. This makes it look so do-able.

  13. thank you , thank you !! I was given a beautiful applique quilt kit for my birthday, and have been afraid to try it !! Not any more !!

  14. You explained it beautifully! Looks wonderful:)

  15. Thanks - this is awesome! I'm getting ready to do an applique border on a round robin, so I will give this a try.

  16. Thanks so much, I love this...great tutorial!!!

  17. I came across your blog through the Sew It's Finished challenge post (I just got in so need to make my UFO list). Love your tutorial. Thanks for taking the time to take all those pictures - they really are so helpful. Looking forward to seeing your finishes for the year!

  18. This was a great tutorial...I have never used invisible thread on the machine so it was good to see someone do that. I love this method.
    Mama Bear

  19. love your tree and your tute is exceptional. clear, concise and looks very easy to follow. this will be most helpful to me and my applique. raw edge isn't always the best choice!


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