Friday, March 25, 2022

Back Basting Applique Basic Tutorial

I love applique.  The techniques I use vary from project to project, but I have a lot of tricks in my applique tool box.  For all the teachers and other quilters who have shared their methods and ideas, I thank you.  Just like there is no one way to quilt a top, there isn't a "right" way to applique.  Back basting is a method I first learned from Jo Morton and from there, I continued to learn more about this technique from other quilters.   One of my favorites is Jeana Kimball.  Go HERE to watch a video of her doing this type of applique.  Follow her on IG @jeanakimball

Here is my motif drawn out on the back side of the fabric.  Remember, if your pattern has an orientation, ie a teapot, you MUST FLIP/REVERSE YOUR IMAGE, just like when you draw out your designs for fusible applique.  A light box is very helpful for this step.

After tracing the pattern to the back of the foundation fabric, I  basted a full piece of the red print to the top, both pieces are Right Sides Up. **This particular block is using only one print** This holds the top fabric in place while I do the basting along my drawn lines from the back of the foundation fabric.

Here is the "back basting".  You are basting right on the drawn lines from the back of the background piece, hence the name.  Make your stitches on the front a bit bigger than on the back.  You will be pulling out these stitches as you do your needle turn applique.


Here you can see the top of my piece.  Those loops of thread and tails are there for me to grab on to when I start stitching.  I will pull the thread away from where I am doing the needle turn, releasing 3-4 basting stitches at a time.  The basting acts like pins, holding everything in place until it is stitched down.


Basted and trimmed Sarah's Revival block, ready for me to start doing the needle turn applique.  My perfect block to grab when heading out on a trip.  No pins, just my needle, a bobbin of thread and my little scissors to cut the threads.  The longer this piece "sits" like this, the easier it will turn under when I start to applique.  The basting will also give you a line on the background to see where your pattern is.

**Some Details**

Using a thicker weight thread to do your basting gives more definition to the final stitching line.  It's a great opportunity to use up some of those old threads that might be in your sewing basket. 


These duckbill scissors help to keep you from cutting your base fabric.  Be very careful when trimming your shapes.  Don't worry about getting 3/8" seam allowance, you can always trim back a few threads of the fabric once you start doing the needle turn.

Fully trimmed piece, all prepped and ready to stitch.

 I have basted down the bottom part of the flowers while doing the applique.  They will be covered with the stem section.  For this block the large center stem is covering the base of all the leaves and it hugs the center  flower bud, so it will be the last piece I back baste, and I won't add it until all the under pieces are appliqued.

Blogger was not my friend while setting up this post, but I hope you have enough info to get started on a project using this method.  And check out Jeana, she's a master at this method.

Keep stitching,