How to hand appliqué inside points (1 extra stitch)

How to hand applique inside points

Quilt and pillow from Beautiful BloomsHave you tried your hand at hand appliqué?

Hand appliqué can be a simple, relaxing way to sew. And if you’ve tried it, you’ve probably mastered the basics.

Straight lines? No sweat. Big curves? Can do.

But it’s the finer details—like sharp points and tight curves—that can give otherwise amazing appliqué motifs an amateur look. In fact, one of the trickiest areas to appliqué are inside points, which are often needle-teased to the point of fraying. It can be a stubborn spot to stitch!

Has the dreaded fraying happened to you? Be frazzled no more. Appliqué enthusiast Susan Taylor Propst knows all about those little bumps in the appliqué road, and her appliqué techniques can easily smooth them out.

Learn Susan’s method for stitching inside points below—just one extra stitch!—and you’ll be soaring past those points with ease.

(Appliqué newcomer? Check out this post).

Beautiful BloomsHow to hand appliqué inside points

by Susan Taylor Propst, author of Beautiful Blooms

1. Stitch until you are close to the inside point, and then clip straight into the point, all the way up to the stitching line.

2. Gently use the length of the needle to turn under the seam allowance on the side that you’re stitching. Try to disturb the point as little as possible to keep the fabric from fraying.

3. Carefully appliqué up to the point. This is where a very fine needle comes in handy, because it’s less likely to split the fabric and cause fraying.

4. Take an additional stitch at the point, taking a slightly deeper bite into the appliqué fabric if necessary (no more than one thread’s width).

How to hand applique inside points

5. Gently turn under the fabric on the other side of the point and continue to appliqué.

STICKY TIP: A bit of fabric glue can keep fabric from fraying. Use a pin or needle to apply a small amount to problem areas, such as very sharp inside points. If you apply too much, the fabric becomes stiff and more difficult to fold. Allow glue to dry before attempting to appliqué the piece. Glue can change the appearance of fabric, so apply it only within the seam allowances.

With the expert tips for appliquéing points, curves, and more in Beautiful Blooms, you’ll be enjoying some slow sewing like Susan in no time. Take a look at a few of the projects you can appliqué:

Projects from Beautiful Blooms
Quilts and pillows from
Beautiful Blooms

You can also take a leisurely stroll though Susan’s gorgeous garden “sequels” to Beautiful Blooms

Another Season of Beautiful Blooms:

Projects from Another Season of Beautiful Blooms

See 8 more quilt-and-pillow pairs in Another Season of Beautiful Blooms >

And Nature’s Beauty in Appliqué.

Projects from Nature's Beauty in Applique

See the stunning framed “Swan Wall Hanging” in Nature’s Beauty in Appliqué >

What’s your favorite way to appliqué: by hand, by machine, or by fusing—or does it depend on the project? Tell us in the comments!

21 Comments (leave a comment)

  • It definitely depends on the project. I love all the methods you suggested.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on March 2, 2015
  • By hand! I’m no good at fusing! Everyone talks about how easy it is but it eludes me and never looks as good as my hand work. Of course, I’m the only gardener I know who has trouble with zuchini, too!

    —Beth Strand on March 2, 2015
  • Applique, any kind, with the exception of reverse applique. It never turns out the way I want. Haven’t figured out what I’m doing I don’t like, but there has to be another way.

    —Whiskers on March 2, 2015
  • I do applique all three ways, but I like the look of hand applique the best since the applique tends to be a little "puffier" when I’m done ( I’m not sure if that’s the right way for it to look, but that’s the way mine turn out!)

    —Roberta Kennedy on March 2, 2015
  • I am learning to do needle turn applique with the current BOM I am working on and thinking I took on too much but am really beginning to like it as things are coming together and getting easier. Your information on inside points could not have been more timely for me as that has become my newest challenge. Thank you. I previously would have said machine applique was my favorite but I love the look of needle turn so I think it is going to be my favorite when I become more comfortable with it.

    —Judy on March 2, 2015
  • I am mostly a dressmaker. This problem comes up on v-neck shirts too. I face the corner. I would do the same on an appliqué.

    I appliquéd a small wall hanging with hearts. It looked fine, until it needed to be washed. I had to fix those points. I actually restitched the whole thing.

    —Mama2eight on March 2, 2015
  • The method of applique I use depends on the project.

    —Nancy on March 2, 2015
  • Favorite? That is a hard one. I like all three, by hand is my favorite.

    —Linda Christianson on March 2, 2015
  • It all depends on the project. Definitely! And by the way Beth, I have trouble with Zucchini, too.

    —Mary Ann on March 2, 2015
  • The method I use generally depends on the project although if the project calls for hand applique I do what I can to "convert" it to fuse or machine because hand stitching aggravates my hand arthritis issues.

    —Jane on March 2, 2015
  • I like all three methods so it really depends on the type of project that I am working on. I also love working with wool for applique and there is no needle turn edges in that method and it gives the project a very textured look.

    —connie b on March 2, 2015
  • I love doing back basting applique because it has the easiest preparation.

    —Jeannette on March 3, 2015
  • I can see where the inside corners would present a problem to hand quilters and think this book would be of great value to me. I love all her flowers. They are gorgeous!

    —Rosebud on March 3, 2015
  • Hand applique with the needle turn method.

    —Lorraine Robertson on March 4, 2015
  • I enjoy a small amount of applique. I have never made a large quilt with applique.

    —Denise Toomey on March 5, 2015
  • I love machine appliqué. I love the challenge.

    —Michele Fetter on March 5, 2015
  • I love hand applique and now that I just retired I’ll have time to devote to those special projects where fusing the applique just doesn’t fit the quilt. Anything I hand quilt, I applique by hand. Does it make me a Traditionalist?

    —Mary Smith on March 6, 2015
  • My favorite way to applique is by hand.

    —Jeannette Bessler on March 6, 2015
  • Hand applique by needle turn is my all time favorite. At present I am doing the American Album State Block Series. The book sounds like it would be a great reference for learning more about applique. Hand applique is a very beautiful art.

    —Cheri Williams on March 6, 2015
  • The first quilt I ever made was a king size hand appliquéd Wild Flower Quilt. I don’t recall how many blocks it has but let’s say "a bunch!" My mother & aunt chose a block that would be easier than others so I would not become discouraged. It took me 1 1/2 years to complete the blocks, & a friend hand quilted it. Gorgeous.

    I love hand appliqué & am at this moment working on a raw edged appliqué of the rolling fields, wooded farm where I grew up.

    —Barbara Macey on March 7, 2015
  • Thank you for a great explanation. I was looking online for a similar idea and really appreciate it
    Embroidery Digitizing Services

    —Aimee Aimee on October 16, 2017

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