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Versus: Turned Edge Appliqué – OR – Fuse and Run

Gee's Blog, Alterations and Upcycling, Versus Series
2015
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When you want to add a lovely bit of appliqué to your project, do you turn the edges or iron on that fusible web and call it a day?
My mantelpiece was looking a little tired last Christmas, so I figured it was time to treat my family to new stockings. After a spare-room-covering rummage through my festive supplies and a bit of sketching time, I settled on individual appliqué animals all round.
And that’s when the dilemma struck. Should I go all-out traditional with a turned edge, with the whole heirloom thing in mind? Or perhaps I’d be better off giving my winter animals a bit of fusible web and some decoration-only stitching.
Fusible Web and Decoration Stitching Only
To Turn or Not to Turn?
Turning the edges of your appliqué, you’ll cut an allowance around the outside of your template then turn those edges underneath, sealing in the raw edges. It’s a bit fiddly, so what’s the turned edge got going for it?
– Tradition, for starters. Give your project that classic appliqué look.
– Make it squishy. The final result’s kind of like a pitta bread, so you can stuff it with a little wadding.
– Compliments patchwork and quilting nicely. If your appliqué’s going onto a patchwork cushion, turned edges will fit right in.
– Hidden edges. The raw edges are tucked away safe and secure once they’re in place.
But on the downside:
– Feeling dexterous? You’ve got to be nimble of finger to keep those edges under control while you work.
– Your options are limited. Something practical like slipstitch or Paris stitch is great, but you can’t exactly go off-piste.
Flirting with fusible web
Flirting with Fusible Web
Now, I’ve got to confess, my ironing board only ever comes out when I’m making something. But even an iron-dodger like myself can get fusible web under control, and you’ll probably want to press any creases out of your fabric before starting anyway.
So, just keep that board up a while longer for these perks:
– Save time. Even my trusty hand-me-down needlework guide sings fusible web’s time-saving praises.
– Fraying begone! Those raw edges won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
– Gives your patch structure. It’ll sit nice and firmly, shouldn’t warp as you work and I find it easier to get smaller details to come out as intended.
– Helps colours to stand out. My polar bear wants his off-white fabric to stand out on a red background.
– Pick a stich, any stitch. It’s all about decoration, so go with whatever looks great
No decision’s straightforward, though, so keep in mind:
– Machine stitching the edges? Go right ahead! But if your zigzag stitches tend to get a little wobbly, take that into consideration.
– It’s undeniably flat. And that might be what you’re after, but if not, it’s back to the turned edges for you.
Turned Edges
The Winner?
The allure of fusible web won me over, letting me add a nice, contrasting running stitch to my polar bear appliqué.
I stash-busted on this project but if you want to make something similar, all you need is:
– Your choice of fabric and another for the lining, appliqué patch and cuff.
– A bit of wadding, enough for both sides.
– Vilene Bondaweb or similar.
– Cute ribbon for the loop and any embellishments.
– Plus, thread and all the usual pins and needles.
So that’s my decision this time round, perhaps it’ll change next time! But what’s your go-to choice?

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Jane grew up in a craft-loving household, and since then has worked with some wonderful designers and makers. Today you'll find her writing about craft and culture (when she's not got a needle and thread or a crochet hook in her hand). She loves nothing more than curling up in front of a film with a project to work on and a hot chocolate to sip.

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