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Monday, 29 November 2010 05:00

Janome Experts Share Their Secrets: Applique Work By Jane Spolar

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53-experts-applique-jane-spolarLearn their unique tips and tricks... then try them out for yourself!

Jane Spolar, who designs quilts for Quilt Poetry and fabric for Northcott, sews all of her amazing quilts using the Janome Horizon 7700QCP sewing and quilting machine. We asked her to share a few of her favorite appliqué stitches with us.

Jane writes:
One of my very first loves was hand embroidery. My mother taught me how to embroider when I was just seven years old. So it was natural for me to embroider by hand around my appliqué shapes when I began quilting.  When I started to use a sewing machine to accomplish my quilting projects, the next natural step was to experiment with machine stitching my appliqué. I was hooked! I absolutely love to use decorative machine stitches around my appliqué.

With all the lovely thread available to us, we can make fusible appliqué quite gorgeous with the help of our sewing machines.

My first tip is to experiment with the stitches and try them out with different lengths and widths. I like to keep track of my favorites by stitching them out on muslin then labeling them so they are always handy next to my machine. Remember to always use a stabilizer for neat stitching.

I find some stitches work very easily around shapes, and some are a bit more challenging. However, the challenging stitches can still be used on pieces that don’t require tight pivots.

I like to get to know the cadence of a stitch because it helps me to understand where to attempt to change the course as it’s stitching out. Listen to the sound of the stitch and watch how the needle enters and leaves the fabric. This will help you know how best to make directional changes. For instance, where to stop the needle and pivot with a feather stitch. It must be done in the center of the stitch, not on one of the 'legs.'

53-experts-applique-jane-spolar-stitchesSome of my favorite, easily usable stitches are these:

Triple stitch

This is a utility stitch that can be found on all machines. It is commonly known as a stretch stitch. This stitch looks great when stitched about 1/16" inside the appliqué shape. It keeps the shape in place and shows off your thread and stitching well. I sometimes use it just outside the shape too, to help define the edge.

Railroad stitch

OK, I don’t know what this is really called, but it’s like a two sided blanket stitch. This stitch is beautiful around circles. It takes a little time to stitch carefully, but is well worth the effort.

Shading stitch

Use some variegated thread and stitch on the sides of a gently curved stem for lovely effect.

Remember to experiment. If you take some time to become friends with all aspects of your machine, you’ll find you have a wealth of stitches at your fingertips just waiting to embellish your next appliqué project!

To view more of Jane’s amazing work, visit her website, Quilt Poetry.

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