Saturday, April 26, 2008

Needleturn Applique Stitching Tutorial

Now that you have your pieces all prepped from the Prep Tutorial, you are ready to stitch those beauties down!

First, some things to know :) Remember, this is called needleturn for a reason - you use your needle to turn the fabric under, and we will be focusing on that a lot here.

Secondly, the color of thread you use should match the piece of fabric you are appliquing as closely as possible. If you have nothing that even resembles it, then try to match to the background. But always try to match the applique piece first. In this example I used a slightly different color so you could see the stitches better.

Thirdly, this is how I hold the needle...front view...and what's going on underneath... The middle finger that you see - it has the eye of the needle resting on it - does the hard work of pushing the needle through. You might want to use a thimble - I don't, but I am used to the motion and the skin on there is tough now!

And as always, click on any photo to see a large view. __________________________________

1) Choose a nice straight, or as close to straight as possible place to start. Don't start at a corner or anywhere something interesting is happening. You want a nice boring place to start!

2) Use the tip of your needle to turn under the seam allowance to the line you have drawn. 3) Bring up your needle from the back, up through the background, and just catch the very edge of your applique piece. 4) Put your needle back into the background, exactly next to where you came up. 5) Bring your needle back up approximately 1/8th inch away, up through the background and catching the very edge of the applique again.Have a look at my fingers in this photo - can you see the finger on the eye of the needle doing its job of pushing the needle through? You have now done your basic stitch! Keep going like this until you come to a curve or a point. On a simple curve, or a circle, just keep going, constantly using your needle to turn under, and also to tug the fabric out or push it in if it isn't smooth and even. I usually only take 2 or 3 stitches before I start turning under the fabric ahead of me.

6) Sooner or later you will need to do a sharp concave curve. Usually on a star or a heart. This is the point you stitch to, and then stop...Now start to make your stitches tiny and use a sweeping motion like a window washer on your car to turn under the seam allowance. Because this is hard to explain, I made a little video to help make it easier for you. First, a photo of the beginning of the motion, then the video.

This is how the completed curve will look...I have used a different color thread so the stitches will show up better for you, but if you use one that matches the piece of fabric you are appliquing, these tiny stitches will barely show. Do them as close together as possible, since there is hardly any seam allowance in these spots.

Next comes a point. I find these trickier than the curves, but don't worry, after a few wonky points you will get it!

7) Go to the top of the point until you reach the end of your marked line. Take your stitch, and then do another one in the exact same spot. This will be extremely helpful to you as it sets that point in place for when you flip under the seam allowance. 8) Using the tip of your needle, flip under the point, and run your needle along under to get it nice and smooth. When you take your stitches here, they will help to pull in any bumps.
9) Keep going and before you know it, you will have a whole shape stitched down! Just take it one piece at a time and pretty soon you will have a whole block done, and perhaps you will be as addicted as me! Remember, stitch the shapes on the bottom first and work your way up to the top pieces. In this example, I stitched the pieces in the following order:
1-Stem
2-Star
3-Circle
4-Leaves

29 comments:

anna fogg said...

Joanna, oh my, that star flower...you are a professional blogger it seems!! That is so lovely! Lovely as...I saw the Sew Mama Sew, and I said, hmmm, I bet that girl is going to do her tutorial on there....and that Kaffe pink/red for the leaves, I am going to have to find a piece of that for my next sweet little applique block I have coming up, wink. I really enjoyed that.
~anna in md

Teresa said...

Great tutorial. I noticed you did not clip that concave point. I have always clipped and inevitably end up with a raw edge. I am going to have to give this a try.

Teresa said...

ooops...I went back and looked again, you did clip it in the picture before the video. Hmm..I got to try harder not to have those raw edges

Nancy said...

Your Tute is great. I might try some needleturn today...

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Wow Joanna. Such a great job! I'm going to pass this along to those that email me about applique. Great, fabulous, fantastic pictures. You get my vote to win the contest. Its almost like taking a class. I have had lots of emails from people saying they can't needle turn and your tutorial really is great. I would say its better than a class, because how often do you get to sit right there on the teacher's shoulder with a spy glass? Really really fabulous. Such a valuable tutorial for those trying to learn. I'm going to have all my girls come look at your show how! Thanks. I love to needle turn but I can always do better. Your stitches are even and perfect.

Marie said...

Excellent tutorial Joanna! Very well done! You make it look so easy. I am impressed, truly!

upstateLisa said...

Joanna, great photos! did you have help with them? I will have to go over them again slowly to get the finer points. Great star flower!!!thanks!

purple and paisley said...

awesome tute, joanna! i mean, wow...it's great...thank you so much!

sewstylish said...

Oh Wow. Thanks for such a great tutorial. I can't wait to try it out. Now I just need to find an applique project I like.

julie said...

Joanna, thank you! thank you!... your tute is just great. I have tried and failed miserably with this type of applique. You made so much sense of it all that I will now tackle it again and this time succeed. Thank you for putting it all down in easy to understand simple talk. The video helped so much to actually be able to visualise the whole proceedure.
Thanks again.
Julie

Grammy Mac said...

Wonderful tutorial and just in time for a project that I'm working on.

Thanks,
Karen

Molly said...

Thanks for the awesome tutorial. I have never done needle turn applique, but I know I will want to try it soon!

Anonymous said...

I did my first appliqué project yesterday using your tutorials. I'd been wanting to try it for a year or so but hadn't found a good website. I think it turned out ok. Thank you so much. My 2 year old loves her new butterfly shirt :)

Michelle said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I am so excited to try this now!

Jennifer Paganelli said...

love the tutorial...the end result is amazing..

Anonymous said...

Thank you for solving a mystery for me. Just starting out quilting but did embroidery including the blanket stitch type applique. That was the only applique I had ever seen before. My Mum Nan and Aunties all did beautiful work with this original applique method.
How does needlepoint applique stand up to wear and tear i.e. I am assuming hand wash only.

Karen said...

Great tutorial, I have never done any needle turn before, but my project just called for it. I am struggling a bit as I am left handed and I get a bit confused with the direction I am going but I will persevere. Thanks Karen Black

My 1st Bambina! said...

Thanks sooo much for such a great tutorial !!!
I'm just venturing into Applique world and I was so
happy to find your tutorial !!!

Simone said...

Joanna,

Thanks so much for this tutorial. Anna was right. It was extremely helpful.

Anna Fogg said...

Imagine, still posting on an entry so old...but that's because you're so good! You're just the best. And that blue wool, where'd you get that? Did you felt it yourself?

Wanda said...

This tutorial was very helpful for my first needleturn applique! thank you very much

Cathy Champion said...

I guess I cheat but I machine sew (using small stitches) about 1/8 inch just inside the edge of the applique piece before I cut it out (you can also do it by hand; just pull the stitches a little tight). I find that these stitches “gather” the fabric just enough so that when I hand stitch the applique the fabric almost magically turns under.

Raewyn said...

thank you for this tutorial and the video. I love to needleturn and since reading this for the first time last week, have adopted some of your techniques...especially the 'window washer' way which is a perfect image and does help to get those corners nice and smooth. I do find the concave corners pretty scary as I am paranoid about not having enough tucked under which will later fray!! Thank you for this again. Happy stitching!!

Jean said...

Thank you so much for the great lessons on needle turn. The glue instead of pins is a great idea. So enjoyed your blog.

Rachel said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I've been trying to figure out how to do this, but yours has been the first tutorial with pictures that are close up enough to help. Thanks for making it clear!

Sandy said...

Just read your Tutorial and I am so happy someone thought to post one on needleturn: I am making a Dresden Plate quilt using the guilt as you go method and need to applique the blks to the bking. I knew I could sew it on the machine but really wanted to do it by hand : Thanks for the demo: Sandy

susiloci said...

Un tutorial maravilloso, que bien explicado está. Muchas gracias.

Quilterbell said...

Fantastic tutorial!, thanks for sharing!

Shirley said...

Most fantastic needle-turn tutorial I've seen. You make it look so easy. And the video helps tremendously. It makes me want to try this. I've tried before without success.