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Applique stitches – which is your favorite?

 

I used to be a blanket stitch fanatic and  for certain things I still am. But in the past couple of years I started to stitch my applique through all 3 layers of the quilt and prefer the look of the satin stitch on the back of the quilt to the blanket stitch. So now I mostly do either free motion zigzag to create the satin stitch or proper satin stitch.

The other reason I like to stitch through all three layers of the quilt when stitching down the applique is because it makes a great stabilizer for the stitches resulting in a nice even and smooth stitching along the edge of the applique.

Because I used glue to secure the circles to the background fabric, the edges of the circles will end up fraying if they’re not stitched down so I need to use a stitch that will cover the edges of the circles.

My other conundrum is what thread to use. Well not really what thread, because I decided to stick with the Sulky Blendables cotton thread I used to quilt the placemat but more what color to use. Do I want the thread to contrast or blend in with the circles?

Also do I want to use 30 weight or 12 weight thread? The 12 weight thread would definitely stand out.

 

Threads blend well with the fabrics
Threads blend well with the fabrics

 

Since I’m not quite sure which stitch to do and what thread color to use I decided to do a few samples of different stitches and thread with the extra circles I have.

Sample 1 Green circle with green variegated blanket stitch – very subtle and blends well with the green fabric. Covers the edge of the fabric perfectly to prevent fraying.

 

Blanket stitch
Blanket stitch

 

Sample 2 Red half circle with red variegated zigzag – the variegated red with some black looks great on the red fabric – like it was made for the fabric. And it stands out enough that you do see the stitches but still blends in.

 

Zigzag stitch
Zigzag stitch

 

Sample 3 Gold circle with gold variegated satin stitch – love the change of colors in the thread but I think the satin stitch is a bit too heavy.

 

Satin stitch
Satin stitch

 

Sample 4 Red half circle with black blanket stitch – I’m not happy with this one as there’s too much contrast and too heavy of a look.

 

Blanket stitch in black
Blanket stitch in black

 

Sample 5 Gold circle with zigzag stitch – I figured I had better see what the zigzag stitch looks like in black and in gold just for good measure. This reinforces that I still don’t like the black as it’s too heavy.

 

Black and gold zigzag stitch
Black and gold zigzag stitch

 

After testing out these different stitches and threads I decided to go with the zigzag stitch and use the red, gold and green threads on their respective fabrics.

I did choose threads that blend in and match the fabric colors. I also went with the 30 weight thread as it will stand out on the edge perfectly whereas the 12 weight thread will be too heavy on the edge.

The stitch length is .5 and the width is 3.6. Perfect for these circles.

 

Rolling snowman circles stitched to background
Rolling snowman circles stitched to background

 

They look great. So applique stitches – which is your favorite?

 

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Glue – an alternative to fusible web

Go to part 4: Festive Tree – quick and easy quilted wallhanging

Jennifer runs Quilts by Jen, a fantastic educational resource for quilters with many great free tutorials ranging from how to choose fabrics, understanding the value of fabrics, pressing, building Bargello runs, pinning, binding, sandwiching, couching, quilting, and much more. Check them out!

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