Turned-Edge Appliqué
Quilter's World|Spring 2021
You can master beautiful hand appliqué with these easy steps.
Erin Russek

I have loved hand appliqué for almost as long as I have been quilting. Whether it’s a complex album quilt or a simple throw quilt, all my quilts have some form of appliqué. There is just something so magical about stitching by hand.

Over the years, I have tried many different types of appliqué and what works best for me is turned-edge appliqué. In this technique, you use templates and starch to press the seam allowance to the back of the appliqué shape before stitching it to the quilt. This way you are not trying to turn and stitch at the same time and can get smooth, clean edges on your appliqués. This article outlines this simple and effective method.

To get started you will need heat-resistant template plastic, liquid starch, a small stencil brush, a permanent fine-point marker, a water-soluble fabric marker, an emery board, and fabric glue. You will also need an iron, a pressing surface, and basic hand-sewing supplies. For template material, I like Templar from Heirloom Stitches because it is thin, which makes it easy to get a nice turned edge. For starch, I use Mary Ellen's Best Press. Be sure to use craft scissors (not your fabric scissors!) to cut out the plastic templates.

To make reusable templates

Trace the pattern onto the plastic using a permanent marker and then cut it out. Run your finger over the edge of the plastic to make sure it is free of snags and bumps. If you find any, use an emery board to smooth them away.

To make appliqué shapes

Trace the template on the wrong side of the fabric with a water-soluble marker and cut the fabric 1/4 outside the drawn line.

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