Applique & Hand Piecing Quilt Tips


Thread & Needle Tips, Tricks & Tidbit for Hand Stitching

Thread & Needle Tips, Tricks & Tidbit for Hand Stitching




When trying to press the seam allowance on appliqué pieces, I use an "orange stick" (the kind you use to push your cuticles back).  I prefer the ones you find at beauty supply houses because they are longer, but the short ones work just as well. Simply place the rounded end at the pressing line & press your fabric. These sticks are pliable, easy to work with and do not burn because they are wood.  They are especially good when working on tiny pieces.....Submitted by Kathy




An easy way to press the wrinkles out of silk ribbon, is to run it across the steaming spout of a boiling kettle.




The recommended length of thread, to use for hand stitching is 18" - approximately from the tip of your fingers to your elbow.
That length, for two good reasons:
~ It allows you to pull the thread through the fabric, in one pull.
~ Plus it keeps the thread stronger, without wearing it too thin, as it looses fibres each time it's pulled through.

Recommended length of thread for hand stitching.




When hand sewing or quilting, I like to pre-thread a bunch of needles so I don't have to stop stitching to re-thread...........submitted by Tina




Plastic lids from margarine tubs and coffee cans make good sturdy templates. Using cereal boxes works, too!...... submitted by Rosalee




Thread has a direction.
When hand stitching – to avoid spontaneous knots – thread your needle from the loose end, coming off the spool and knot the end you cut.
Also use 18” length or less, to avoid the deterioration that can happen, when pulling longer lengths.




For needle-turn appliqué I like to use a wooden toothpick to turn the seam allowance, as I find the wood grabs the fabric better than the needle....Submitted by Kelly




Useful Information: The eye of a hand sewing needle is larger on one side than the other. If you have trouble threading your needle, try turning it around..............Submitted by Peggy




When stitching a design to a background fabric use a thread colour that matches the applique piece, not your background fabric.............submitted by Heidi




Print the templates from printable pdf patterns onto cardstock for nice instant templates........submitted by MaryAnne




Organizing your templates is easy if you get yourself an inexpensive photo album with clear pages inside. It will keep all the templates in their proper order, flat and ready to use........submitted by Cathleen




To remove wrinkles from ribbon, gently run it over the steam of a kettle or through a curling iron.......submitted by Rita




I had a small lipstick case with a mirror for my purse. I replaced the mirror with a magnetic strip and now use it as a thread & needle case for my take-along sewng..........submitted by Terri




A bobbin of thread within a dental floss container makes a handy travel thread holder using the 'cutter' to cut your thread.......submitted by Sylvia




I've made up a portable work table that I can easily take with me and use for some of my hand sewing quilt projects.
In a clipboard I stack (bottom-up): Cutting Mat (reused/cut to fit from larger damaged mat), a sheet of fine sandpaper and then a rectangle of cotton batting (scrap piece, or a sheet of felt would also work) as a mini design board.
And to top it off I clip my pattern and fabric patches (in an envelope). I then tuck the edge of an eye glass case that I keep a small rotary cutter and ruler, mechanical pencil, needle, thread & small scissors in. This 'station' gives me all the surfaces needed to work on my blocks, anywhere.........submitted by Theresa




A Needle-turn appliqué pattern placement technique I recommend is using the thinnest non-woven interfacing you can find. Trace the
block onto the non-woven fabric. Baste it to the top of your background block. Put the appliqué piece under the pattern to place it. After you have placed the piece, you roll up interfacing and pin it at the top of the block. To place the next piece, unpin the pattern and roll down, placing the next piece, roll up and pin again and repeat until the block is finished.......submitted by Karol




When travelling I cut a 3" square of batting to take with me. I put the snips of thread that I cut off on this piece of batting. They stick to it really well even if the batting is knocked onto the floor.......submitted by Elizabeth




When fusing adhesive to my fabric I use an empty heated glue gun. You will be surprised at the result.......submitted by Nancy




I pin a small square of thin batting on the arm of my recliner when I watch TV while hand sewing or quilting. I use it to collect threads. Sounds simple; works great.......submitted by Jeanne




Most radiology departments in hospitals and clinics end up with clear film. I use this film for templates for my quilt patterns. I use a ultra fine sharpie marker to draw or trace the lines on the xray film. It works great!......submitted by Betsy




Pre-shrink your freezer paper with an iron on your ironing board, before you draw your patterns onto it for more accurate templates......submitted by Barbara




When you have bits of threads left over, from the end of bobbins or spools, wind them around a scrap of cardboard to keep for basting your appliqué shapes......submitted by Rose




Print the template onto an 8½" x 11" sheet of sticky back label paper. Cover it with clear contact paper. Peel off the label backing and stick onto that heavy plastic blister pack that inkjet cartridges come in, or something similar. Cut out with kitchen scissors. My edges are usually nice and smooth, but you could use an emery board to take off any rough spots. If you need to mark any matching dots, or seam allowance points on your template, you can take a push pin and put it right through the plastic at the point and rotate it around a little to make the hole large enough to fit a marking pencil in. It works great!.........submitted by Donna




When preparing my patches for take along sewing, I take one stitch, through a stack of patches, that go together for a block. I leave long thread tails, to wrap for security.......submitted by Penny




To remove the fusible interfacing from the bottom of your iron, dampened a washcloth, sprinkle baking soda on it so all the baking soda is moist and rubbed your iron on it. Wipe the iron with a clean, damp cloth before using again, making sure no baking soda is left in the steam vents. This works perfectly! This is inexpensive & environmentally friendly......submitted by Ashley




Thread your needle from the thread end, and not the end cut off the spool. This prevents your thread from "knotting", as you sew. Thread has a direction.





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