A is for Applique

For our ancestors an applique quilt represented wealth because of all the fabric used. They are not traditionally patchwork. At least not small patches.Not only were scraps not used in making the blocks, but these quilts had extra fabric on them!

Applique represents a wealth of time. Actually, appliquers don’t have any more time than other quilters. They just enjoy applique and are willing to spend their time stitching them. Of course, there are several methods of applique, some more time intensive than others

Maybe it’s a wealth of love that the quilter was willing to take the extra time to stitch down the applique pattern. An entire quilt can be made using applique blocks.

There are several methods of applying fabric to fabric to create an applique.

There is the needle turn, which almost makes the design look as if it’s floating on the background. This needle-turn Sunbonnet Sue was made over thirty years ago. Thank goodness my sewing skills have improved!

Sunbonnet Sue 2 - needle turn

The quilt with these little girls has long since bit the dust. However, since it was made for my daughter (she loved it to pieces) and the “dresses” are all feed sack fabric from her grandma, I saved the “girls” to be reused in another quilt at some point.

When I use applique now, I prefer to use a zig-zag stitch. It can hide a raw edge and makes using applique go much faster. When making quilts for six grandkids, fast is sometimes important. Another advantage of zig-zag applique is the sturdiness, which makes it the perfect method of children’s quilts.

Overall SamAnother hand sewing method is to do the blanket stitch by hand. It’s a pretty look, but much too labor intensive for me. Not to mention I wouldn’t keep my stitches even, and it looks best with even stitches. Heather Nelson, a young lady in our quilt guild used thirties reproduction fabric for her girls. Don’t you agree, her even stitches makes the applique?

Heather's Sunbonnet Sue

There are other methods of applique, do you use one of them? While I do my appliques by machine, I love the look of the hand work. How about you, do you use one method and enjoy the look of another?

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8 thoughts on “A is for Applique

  1. Joanne Penney

    These are gorgeous. Unfortunately I can’t sew to save my life (and have a school report from the 80s to prove it) but one day I’d love to find a quilt with appliqued cats all over it =^.^= I may never come out from under it then!

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    You are really good at quilting. They definitely look so beautiful. 🙂 All the best for rest of the days.

    Reply
    1. Nita Post author

      Suzie, I’m usually a “my the seat of my pants” kind of girl, but for my blog if I don’t have some sort of structure it falls to the bottom of the list. Which is why it goes days and weeks without a post. I’m hoping this challenge together with the Ultimate Blog Challenge will limit the non posting days. I liked your Being Series, good idea.

      Reply
  3. Jen (@jens_busy)

    I love the Sunbonnet Sues! I agree with you about the blanket stitch – I did some on some felt food I made for my little one’s Christmas gift. It really is a challenge to keep your stitches even on the whole piece! I have to confess, aside from a quilt block I helped make in my 6th grade class, quilting is not something I’ve tried. I really admire the skill that quilters of past generations had, to do an entire quilt by hand! Thanks for visiting my blog for the UBC!

    Reply
    1. Nita Post author

      I know, keeping those stitches even. Makes me shudder just to think of it.I bet your little one loved the felt food you made. Glad you liked the blog. Maybe someday you’ll try a quilt. Thanks for stopping.

      Reply

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