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Finishing Fusible Applique with Tulle and Couched Cord

Here we are – the final day of our step-by-step guide to fusible applique! So far, we have learned how to quickly create a daisy block in three easy steps – trace, cut, press – and how to finish the raw edges with an invisible zigzag stitch, a blanket stitch, and a satin stitch. Our fourth and final edge-finishing technique works best when you can’t – or don’t want to – stitch over the edge of the applique. It involves covering the applique with tulle and, if desired, a couched cord.

Tulle

Tulle is an open-weave, light-weight netting commonly used for veils. Because tulle is available in a variety of colors, it’s possible to add a layer over your applique without significantly altering its appearance. I chose a light yellow tulle close in color to my background fabric for this version of the daisy block.

Pin a layer of tulle over your applique block. Stitch around the edges of the applique using fine matching thread or invisible thread.

Tulle stitched around edges of applique
Tulle stitched around edges of applique

 

 

 

No stitches go into the applique fabric with this edge-finishing technique, making it a good choice for shapes that are delicate or fragile. Additional stitching to hold the tulle in place would most likely occur as part of the machine quilting process.

I covered the narrow wrought-iron applique shapes in my quilt Compact Four Corner Flourish with a layer of gold tulle.

Compact Four Corner Flourish
Compact Four Corner Flourish

 

 

Machine quilting in-the-ditch around the appliqué and all over the background holds the tulle in place.

Detail of quilting over tulle
Detail of quilting over tulle

 

 

 

Tulle with Couched Cord

Another option is to cover the applique with tulle, but not the background fabric.

Pin a layer of tulle over your applique block. Stitch around the edges of the applique using fine matching thread or invisible thread. Cut away the excess tulle close to the stitching.

Cut away excess tulle close to the stitching
Cut away excess tulle close to the stitching

 

 

 

Now we have raw edges again – the applique edges and the tulle edges. An attractive way to cover these edges is with a couched cord.

I chose a variegated size 5 perle cotton to cover the edges of the daisy petals.

DMC size 5 variegated perle cotton
DMC size 5 variegated perle cotton

 

 

 

Insert fine matching thread or invisible thread in the needle, set your machine to a small zigzag stitch, and install a couching presser foot if you have one. The foot has a guide that positions the cord under the stitching. Zigzag stitch the cord around the edges of the applique.

 

Zigzag stitch with a couching foot
Zigzag stitch with a couching foot

 

 

 

Use a self-threading needle to bring the cord to the back of the work, knot, and bury under a row of stitching.

Alternatively, you could wind the cord onto a bobbin and stitch around the applique edges from the back. This is known as bobbin work.

Either way, the result is an elegant edge finish!

Crazy Daisy with Tulle and Couched Cord Edge Finish
Crazy Daisy with Tulle and Couched Cord Edge Finish

 

 

 

Finishing fusible applique with tulle and couched cord is a great option when working with confetti – small snippets of fabric – or other loose fibers. I chose this edge finishing technique to contain all the small pieces in my butterfly quilt.

Butterfly with Tulle and Couched Cord Edge Finish
Butterfly with Tulle and Couched Cord Edge Finish

 

 

 

We hope you enjoyed our step-by-step guide to fusible applique – trace, cut, press – along with the four edge-finishing techniques using an invisible zigzag stitch, a blanket stitch, a satin stitch, and tulle and couched cord. Do you have any other methods for finishing your fusible applique? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or on any of our social sharing sites – and press on!

Kathy is a multiple international-award winning quilter specializing in appliqué techniques in a “contemporary traditional” style. She lectures and teaches all over the country at guilds, shops and quilt shows and is a CQA/ACC Certified Quilt Judge. Her work has been featured in magazines, and her designs are available as individual patterns as well as in her book “Sewflakes: Papercut Appliqué Quilts”.

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