Wednesday, May 31, 2017

RIN QAL ~ Tools for Appliqué

If you're participating in the RIN QAL, I hope you're moving along and having fun!

I'm here today with some tips on the tools that may make your appliqué a bit easier. Be sure to check in with Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs for her progress!

When it comes to appliqué, there are all kinds of techniques and tools! The great thing about it is that they all work very well. It just comes down to what methods and tools work best for you! I've been appliquéing since the early 90s and have tried many different techniques. So I encourage you, if you're struggling at all, try a different tool or method. It may make all the difference in the world!

Today I'd like to share my current favorite tools...

1. Needles
My favorite needle is a straw needle in size 10 or 11. These are very fine and long needles that are strong enough to shove the fabric around when you need to.  I took a class many years ago from Jeanna Kimball and started using her needles. I've tried others, but always come back to these. I always use a thimble ~ the cheap, simple ones since I'm always losing them :)

2. Scissors
You'll need 2 pairs of really good, sharp scissors. One to cut all those layers of fabric ~ I found that my biggest pair of Gingher scissors worked great, using just part of the blade closest to the handle for lots of leverage. You'll also need a smaller pair of scissors with a super sharp blade all the way to the tip for cutting into the inner points. I love this Omnigrid pair ~ they cut perfectly right to the tip.

3. Pins
Any nice sharp straight pin is fine for pinning your appliqué pieces to the background, but I do love these appliqué straight pins. They are shorter and thread doesn't get as easily caught up in them when hand stitching.

4. Thread
In appliqué, you want your stitches to disappear as much as possible. A fine, thin thread is really going to help with that. I've used silk thread in the past, but it is slippery and a bit hard to work with. I recently switched to my go-to sewing thread, 50 weight Aurifil and found it worked really nicely. Aurifil recently came out with an 80 weight cotton thread {80 weight is finer than 50 weight} and they sent a few spools to Cheryl and I to try. And just as I expected ~ I love it. It's very fine and easy to work with. I'm definitely going to have to order some more colors. And speaking of color, you always want to match the color of your thread as closely as possible to your appliqué piece. 

I also like to have some Thread Heaven on hand. It's a thread conditioner and really helps if you find your thread tangling. It's like a wax that you simply run your strand over.

There you have it! My favorite supplies! Let me know if you have a favorite or a question in the comments...

Don't forget to share your progress using the hashtag #RinAlong.


  1. Thank you for the tools suggestions. A while ago, I tried that clear monofilament thread, and it did not work well for me, lol. Your suggestions sound much better. Rin is a lot of fun.

  2. I found that my scissors cut through 8 layers at a time much easier than the full 16 and have been much happier since modifying the cutting step slightly. Thanks for the tips on the tools!


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