Divide and Conquer Applique

Turned-edge appliqué requires a seam allowance wide enough to turn under. The amount of preferred seam allowance may vary depending on the fabric, the skill of the individual, or the shape of the appliqué patch. Nevertheless, there must be at least a few threads to turn under – otherwise, the edge will be raw and run the risk of fraying. So what do you do when the appliqué shape precludes a sufficient seam allowance? Divide and conquer!

I encountered the issue recently, with this appliqué patch. The areas within the red and blue circles were technically wide enough to clip and turn under, but the areas were fragile and the fabric frayed terribly.

Time motif seam allowance

By dividing the patch into three, the protruding areas became separate patches which were much easier to appliqué.

Time motif divided

By using the same fabric for all the shapes, the three individual patches visually merge into one.

Time motif photo

Another example is this motif from the violin block in Instruments of Praise. The two bumps shown in the red circle leave very little seam allowance between them.

Violin motif seam allowanceI divided this patch into two, so that one of the bumps would be stitched as a separate patch.

Violin motif divided

The seam is hardly noticeable.

Violin close up

Next time you are struggling with a challenging appliqué patch, perhaps this strategy will help. Divide and conquer!


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