I was trying to explain back-basting to Lynne at Lily's Quilts
and decided it might be easier to just get started on Esther's Hearts Desire BOM
and take pictures.
After taping together the parts of the pattern, secure it to your window (OK, you can use a light box if you have one) with the "right" side facing the neighbors.
Press a centering seam into the fabric, then tape it to the window over the pattern, also right side to the neighbors. Use a pencil to trace the design on the back side of the fabric.
If you have template plastic and an extra 6 minutes, you could make templates for some of the repeating elements to make sure they are exactly the same shape if that kind of detail bothers you.
The first thing I'm going to applique is the large 6-petaled motif. Place a chunk of the design fabric, bigger than the shape that you want to use on the table, right side down. (You'll be trimming it to shape later) Place the backing fabric over it, also face down. Make sure that the chunk of fabric completely covers the shape. This background is thin enough that you can see the dark fabric through it. Otherwise, I hold it up to the light & make sure that there is enough fabric for the motif with some extra around the edges. Pin in place. For a big piece like this, I used a dozen applique pins but would typically use 2 or 3. After it's pinned, double check position by holding it up to the light.
With thread that contrasts with both the background and the design fabric, baste on the line. This dotted line will be your fold line for the needle turn.
This is a good place for a tip about needles. When I baste, I use a rather thick sewing needle - the kind that comes in a multi-pack from the dollar store. It leaves bigger holes in the fabric when the thread is removed, helping to mark both the fold, and where it should attach to the background.
Once it is basted, flip it over and trim to 1/8" or whatever size seam you want to work with. If your stitching line was a little wobbly (like mine was on this point) you can improve the shape of the piece with careful trimming.
Tracing the whole design, basting and trimming only took me 15 minutes (including pictures). And TA-DA! Not only am I ready to sew, but the piece is exactly the right shape and in exactly the right place. No templates. No freezer paper. No glue. No mystery positioning.
These are my MUST HAVE applique tools. I love the YLI # 100 silk thread. The stitches are nearly invisible. I like Thread Heaven thread conditioner for applique, but will use bees wax in a pinch. My preference is an 11 or 12 applique needle. You really need the silk thread to use a needle that small.
Then it's just basic needle turn technique for the stitching. Fold on the dotted line, making sure it matches up to the dotted line on the background.
Super simple. I love back-basting needle turn applique. Before someone showed me how, I was an applique hater. Now...I'm Applique Addict.
Very interesting, I had never seen this done before. Thanks for the pictures.
Good clear instructions. Move over, I'm coming to use your window.
Great information. Thanks for this post.
Ah will Lynne now be doing some appliqué?
That's basically the same way I did it for my challenge piece, except for the fact that it's from one large fabric piece and I didn't want to loose the flow of the shapes so I drew on the front fabric (washable pen) then basted it down and cut and turn as I go.
Wow Marjorie, that was such a great tutorial - I am going to try this and let you know how I get on - I loved little details like having it face the neighbours! Well written and funny too, thank you - I will be passing the link to this on once I have your permission to post one of your fabulous quilts in the post.
I will have to try this because I find needleturn applique to be frustrating. Do I understand that you are basting it as a means to mark where the applique piece folds and also where the piece should be stitched down? And after you have done the basting, you pull out the basting thread before you start the needleturn and just use the holes from the basting as a guide? Thanks!
Very interesting. I'm glad you did this post because I wondered how you did your applique. It is so different from how I do it. It's good to learn another way.
Thank you for sharing- I think if I try applique this way I will be much more successful. I hope so, anyway, because the list of applique projects I love is getting longer every day!
Back basting is the best method for applique in my opinion. You do waste some fabric, but it sure beats making plastic templates and dealing with starch or glue sticks.
I was thinking of doing this block by hand. It looked simple enough. I just don't how the rest of the blocks will be and find myself overwhelmed.
Thank you for the great tutorial.
Super!!!! I am going to try it....I have always hated applique..except on the machine...lol
Thanks for the great tutorial. I've been using this method out recently though I used my sewing machine to do the basting. not sure if its better, it just seemed faster, I'm a bit impatient at times.
I sure do appreciate the product tips and the tutorial.
Like another commenter, I am curious if you remove the basting as you go. You would have to in order to turn the fabric under. Do you remove a little at a time? Would you mind providing a little more information on this portion? I am trying to like applique because I want some hand work but I find it extremely frustrating.
I might actually try applique again using your method...the prep work is what I have always avoided. Do you remove the stitches "as you go" around the applique?
Great tutorial. I am doing this block too and I am fairly new at applique. My skills are no where yours are. LOL. After you baste the center down how do you turn the fabric, do you take a few basting stitches out at a time?
oops I just reread your tutorial and the basting answer is there duh. Sorry.... ;0
Great tutorial! The back basting technique has always seemed very mysterious to me-- I just didn't get it. But it makes much more sense now. Thank you!
AWESOME! Thank you for the tutorial!
Can't wait to try it!
I'm with you, I love this method and do it 'all the time' - well when I am hand applique-ing anyway. This is a great tutorial.
I enjoyed and actually understood. I have read a few other tutes on this and just for some reason did not quite understand. Thank you for sharing. Going to check out the other sections!
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