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How to Make a Turned Edge Applique Using Interfacing

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I love applique because it’s so versatile and I end up using it in a lot of my work. It just gives more freedom to do crazy designs that you wouldn’t be able to accomplish just with piecing. Want a dancing elephant? Slap that baby down and applique it. Done!

Dancing elephant with water spraying from nose
See the whole elephant quilt here.

Today I want to share my favorite method for applique. It’s pretty easy to do and it will hold through heavy use – my priority since I often make quilts for kids.

Supplies needed:

  • Design you want to applique
  • Lightweight interfacing
  • Fabric for applique
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  1. Trace your pattern on the interfacing. This is a planet for my son’s space quilt so it’s a pretty simple shape, but you can use this technique for more complicated shapes. Trace pattern onto interfacing
  2. Loosely cut the shape out of the interfacing. We’re not looking for precision, just trying to make it easier to work with. Just make sure you leave at least 1/4” allowance.
  3. Pin to the RIGHT side of the fabric and so you can see your drawn lines.Interfacing pinned to the right side of fabric
  4. Straight stitch along the line using a smaller stitch size. I used a 1.5 stitch length.Interfacing stitched onto the fabrid
  5. Cut the seam allowance to approximately 1/8”.Edges of fabric were trimmed to a 1/8 inch seam allowance
  6. Snip slits in the seam allowance, being very careful not to cut into the stitching. This will keep the fabric from bunching too much once we flip it. Make more frequent snips in areas with sharper curves.Slits were snipped into the seam allowance
  7. Carefully cut a hole in the interfacing and flip the shape inside out. The hole only needs to be big enough to pull the fabric through. It can help to use a dull tool to push the edges all the way out.Hole cut into only the interfacingFlipping the applique inside out by pushing the fabric through the hole in the interfacing Using a pencil to push the applique edges out
  8. Press flat with an iron.Pressing the applique flat with an iron
  9. Optional – cut out the interfacing leaving about 1/4” allowance. You don’t need to remove the interfacing – only if you want to reduce bulk. (I didn’t for this one.)
  10. Ready to sew! You can now stitch using any applique stitch. Some common ones are the blind hem, zigzag, satin, or blanket stitch.

    Finished applique sewn onto quilt. Click here to see the whole quilt.
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