Applique Before or During Quilting?

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Just thought that I'd answer a great applique question that Barbara asked the other day.

I am practicing the applique technique by making placemats; I have my background fabric and my lining fabric (that will wrap the background fabric to bind the edges) and my padding cut and ready to go. I will be using a quilting stitch through all three of these layers, but I need to know if I should applique my design on the background fabric PRIOR to doing the quilting design through the three layers? If I do add the applique design before I quilt the entire placemat, do I then simply stitch around the applique design knowing that this design will show on the back?

So let's look at a few things……  it depends! haha that is always how it turns out isn't it?

You can use the quilt as you go method and just have your applique pieces glued, or pinned in place. Then when you have all of your layers together you can sew around the outside edges and applique them down— and this will also be quilting it for you.

On the back of the project you will see the stitching of the applique + the rest of the quilting. 

This method would be a great one to do if you are in a hurry.  It kills two birds with one stone.  I see a few issues that you might run into.  Depending on how you want to sew the applique down.  Obviously you are doing it by machine…. so what is your bobbin thread color going to be?  If I am sewing it with raw edge applique- i am using black thread on the bottom so i don't get little white dots on the top because of the bobbin thread being white.

Also– are you doing a satin stitch around the outside edge?  This looks a little heavy on the back with the thread and again– what color is your bobbin thread?

The other option would be to machine applique the pieces, and then make your quilt sandwich and quilt it.

This allows you to choose your bobbin thread for the applique, + you can match your top thread with the applique piece.  This also allows you to do a button hole stitch.a tiny zig-zag, some fancy shmasy stitch on your sewing machine, or stitch with totally black thread.

So really the choice is up to you.  What kind of look are you going for with the stitching?  What is it's purpose?  How quick do you need it done? lol

Hope this helps!  If you have any applique suggestions for Barbara— leave a comment here and let us know!  I am always up for learning a new technique.

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