Blanket Stitch Applique Tips for Success

Do you use applique techniques in your quilting? Adding applique may seem like a time-consuming extra step, but there are many different techniques, such as fusible applique, that make it go faster. And applique can add that little something extra that takes a quilt from good to great.

Today, guest blogger Lynette Jensen offers applique tips for using the blanket stitch to add “seeds” on her Thimbleberries Watermelon Time table runner design.

watermelon table runner
July’s Thimbleberries Project of the Month, by Lynette Jensen.

Blanket Stitch Applique Tips
By Lynette Jensen

Watermelon Time is the perfect summer time table runner.  It is bright and fresh and makes every summer day seem like a picnic is about to breakout.  The rosy red print used in the melon block reminds one of all color variations and texture of juicy ripe melon.  A wonderful, fresh watermelon salad is included in the “Note from Lynette” included in the kit. The watermelon chunks and leafy green romaine repeat the colors in the runner.  It is definitely summer fare all around.

Even if you aren’t normally attracted to applique, this tiny bit really takes the watermelon design over the top.  It uses fusible web for iron on ease with just a touch of hand stitching that uses pearl cotton or 3 strands of embroidery floss for a nice blanket stitch.  However, the outside edges of the seeds can also be done by machine.

Applique tips:

1. Use matching thread; it seems to make the design stronger.

2. Here is a stitching tip for the hand applique method:  So many times, the blanket stitch done on the edges of an appliqué shape seems to “roll” inward away from the edge.  This can be eliminated by taking a tiny taking stitch in place on the outside edge hiding it in with the blanket stitch.  This basically forms a knot and will not allow the tension created on the thread when going around curves or points, both of which are on the seed shape.

applique watermelon
The applique seeds add a 3-D detail that makes this quilted table runner come to life.

3. The tighter the curve the more tacking stitches are helpful.  Straight edge applique does not require the same amount of tacking stitches because the thread does not naturally pull as it does on a curve or a point.

4. If you have some applique done by hand using the blanket stitch on any of your older projects, you can actually repair the decorative stitching.  Use matching, regular sewing thread.  With a single strand of thread, knot and pull through the layers of the quilted project at the edge of the appliqué piece.  Delicately use the needle and thread to pull the pearl cotton back into place and the edge of the appliqué shape.  Tack in place and move a few stitches over and repeat until the peal cotton blanket stitch is back in place.

We hope you found these applique tips helpful and that you’ll be encouraged to add some applique to your own quilt designs or choose one of our applique quilt kits to try.

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Cate Prato

About Cate Prato

Cate Coulacos Prato loves fabric, thread, and dabbles in all types of fabric art. As Senior Online Editor for Keepsake Quilting, she welcomes your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and discussion on quilts, quilting, fabric shopping, and the quilting community.

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