Applique is a decoration method that has been in existence for a long time. It is a hand embroidery technique. There are several methods of applique that you can use. Needle turn applique is one of the most popular methods.
Being a hand embroidery technique, you can expect needle turn applique to take some time to complete. Unlike when you use an embroidery machine, this applique method requires that you take your time if you want to get the desired results.
What Is Needle Turn Applique?
Needle turn applique is an applique method that involves sewing the edges of an applique shape under itself. You will use the edge of the needle to turn these edges under the shape onto the garment or fabric being appliqued. This technique hides the seam of the applique. This means that you have an intricate design on your fabric or garment whose stitches aren’t visible.
In needle turn applique, you will not use a fusible. This makes it a slow process as you have to rely on your hand sewing skills. You will make your shapes and templates, outline them on the garment and applique.
How To Do Needle Turn Applique?
Step 1. Gather all the tools and materials you will need to carry out needle-turn applique. You will need a long Milliners Needle, large amounts of fabric as you will cut out a lot. You also need fabric shears to cut shapes. You also need pencils to draw shapes on your fabric or garment. You will also need cardboard pieces that you will use for making templates of your applique shapes. And most importantly, you will need a fabric or garment to sew on the applique shapes.
Before you embark on the project, you need some practice. Practice how to make the curves at the edges of the applique shapes.
You also need thread to sew your applique onto the fabric or garment. Make sure that you choose a strong thread. Your thread should be strong enough for your fabric and that of the applique fabric. It should also not tangle as you sew.
Step 2. Make your applique shapes. Do this on cardboard pieces or pieces of paper. Cut out the edges of the shapes so that you have a template for your applique. Then draw these shapes on the garment or fabric that you want to use as the applique. Use your template to make these shapes on the right side of the fabric or garment you want to applique.
Cut the applique shape that you want to fix on your garment. On your template, make sure to leave about ? inch seam allowance for your needle turn.
Step 3. Cut out the shapes from the applique fabric. Then place them onto the garment or fabric that you want to applique. Choose a shape that you can work on comfortably based on your sewing skills.
You can use your applique pins to fix the shape firmly on the fabric before you start stitching it on. Or you can use a basting stitch to fix it on the fabric. Make sure your stitches are away from the edge of the pattern. You will be turning the edges in as you sew the applique onto the fabric or garment.
Cut your shapes so that they have thin edges. Thin edges are easier to turn and sew on. They will also not leave an outline on the applique or the fabric. You need your final product to be as smooth as possible to maintain its appeal.
Step 4. Thread your needle with a thread that matches the fabric so that it blends in well. A Milliners Needle is long enough to help you make the fold on your seam allowance. It is also sharp enough to ensure that you can make a small stitch right after the fold is made.
Make sure you have a sufficient length of thread in your needle that you can use to sew your applique shape onto the fabric without having to rethread.
Use a thread equal to the length of your forearm. This is long enough to sew comfortably. You will not have to untangle the thread after every few stitches.
Step 5. Choose one end of the pattern from which to start making the needle turn applique. Fold the seam allowance of the applique shape with your needle, make a small stitch underneath the fold and make another small stitch from above it. This holds the fold and the applique in place. To fix the applique in place, fold the seam allowance with your needle, make an underneath stitch, then a stitch at the top. Repeat these steps all around the applique shape. You will finish your needle turn applique after these steps around your applique shape.
If you have a lot of shapes to applique to fabric or garment, finish one after another. Make sure to leave enough seam allowance space between the shapes. To make your work easier and efficient, sew your applique in a clockwise direction.
When you get to corners and inside points, you need to make your stitches closer to each other. This ensures that your fabric doesn’t unravel after you have finished your applique.
Step 6. You have finished your needle turn applique. Now, remove any applique pins that are still on the applique. If you had used a basting stitch to hold it in place, remove the stitch. Your needle turn applique project is now complete.
If you are a beginner in needle-turn applique, make sure to use larger applique shapes. These ensure that you can see the folds you are making. It also ensures that you can see the stitches you make clear.
Also, ensure that you practice this applique technique regularly. This will ensure that you become a better sewer. As a beginner, start with small projects that involve one shape only. When you feel you have mastered the applique technique, you can proceed to work on complex projects.
What Is The Best Needle For Needle Turn Applique?
Whether you are a beginner or an expert at needle turn applique, you need to have the best needle. As the name suggests, what you need most to succeed in this applique method is a good needle.
There are many needles that you can use while sewing. However, every project has its most suitable needle. You can choose needles depending on the type of fabric you are working on. You can also choose a needle-based on how long your project is likely to take.
Sharp needles are suitable for light fabrics as they pierce through the fabric easily. Strong and sturdy needles are what you need when you work with hard fabrics.
For needle turn applique, you should choose your needle as carefully as you choose your thread. You need a long and strong needle. A long needle will easily make the fold on the edges of your applique shape as is required for this technique.
You also need your needle to be sharp. This ensures that you can make small stitches on your applique. Blunt needles strain your fabric. The sharper the needle the easier it goes through the fabric you are sewing. Making it easy to make the small stitches you need.
You also need your needle strong. This ensures that it can sew through both the applique and the fabric without breaking.
The best needle type that fits the description of the best needle is the Milliners needle. It is long, strong, and sharp to be the best applique needle.
How To Do A Raw Edge Fusible Applique?
Another common method for applique technique is known as raw edge fusible applique. Unlike the needle-turn applique, this method doesn’t need you to sew by hand.
To make a raw edge fusible applique, you start by having or making a template of the image you need to applique on the fabric. When the template is ready, cut a fusible that is large enough to cover the template.
Then, place the template on the paper side of the fusible and draw your applique shape on it. Then fuse the fusible onto the wrong side of the fabric you want to applique with the paper side facing up.
Spread the fusible properly on the fabric. Then cut along the edges of your applique shape. This leaves you with your fusible on the fabric in the shape of your applique design. Peel the paper side of the fusible from the fabric.
Now, place the adhesive side of the fusible on the fabric you intend to apply the applique on. Make sure that it lies on the fabric as you would want it to. Turn on your iron and set it to high heat settings.
Place an ironing cloth on your applique and press. This activates the adhesive on the fusible and causes your applique to stick permanently on your fabric or garment. Sew around the applique for enhanced permanence.