appliue after machine quilting?
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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.

5 thoughts on “Applique Before or During Quilting?

  1. Marsha

    Interesting question, and one I didn’t think about when doing my latest applique. I’m participating in a Row Robin and needle-turn appliqued one piece onto the machined pieced row. I didn’t consider what will happen when the owner puts the rows all together and quilts it. I would, if it were mine, plan to quilt around the appliqued piece(s), leaving the needle-turn applique intact.

    I’m not sure there is a “right” or “wrong” to this question. Perhaps it’s whatever makes you, the quilter, happy.

  2. Miche'le

    I always applique before quilting and outline the applique when quilting. The reason is that if I quilt and then applique the underneath of the applique wont be smooth and will in time leave an imprint on the upper fabric. By outlining the applique piece it makes it ‘pop’ out giving it dimension.
    I hope this helps

  3. posse boss

    that is definitly one of the benifits of applique first, then quilt. that extra little poof makes it stand out perfectly.

  4. alice

    I totally agree with Michelle, is the way I always did.
    I am from Brazil and I follow you ladies and I think your
    work is amazing and would like to thank you for being so kind
    and sharing with us, all the best Alice

  5. Lois

    Thanks for sharing what you do. Tractors here I come but not before I practise with different colours on some offcuts! Thankfully my wee grandson won’t be too critical.

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