Tutorial – Needle turn appliqué

I like doing appliqué by needle turn. I prefer the look of it to fused one. However I do use fused appliqué if that look suits the project because it is a quicker and easier to do small details. Yes, needle turn takes more time since it is hand sewing but sometime I prefer that result only needle turn can make.
I have tried several different way to do needle turn and this is the best for me. It is called back basting appliqué and there are few tutorials online if you need more info.
The reasons I ended to use back basting are

  • I don’t have to make templates or make appliqué parts with templates before sewing
  • I don’t have to mark on the right side of fabric which took me forever to erase one time.
  • More time I have a needle in my hand and less preparation and as long as I have needle and thread in my hand I am happy 😉

Here is how.

  1. Mark the appliqué pattern on the wrong side of the base fabric. You can draw free hand, copy the pattern or use templates.marking
  2. Place the fabric for appliqué on the right side and pin. This appliqué fabric can be any size and shape if it is big enough to cover the area you need placing fabric
  3. Flip it over to the wrong side and tack/baste along the marked line. It is easier if you start/finish tacking where the lines are smoother.tacked backtacked
  4. Trim the excess fabric about 1/4″ away from the tacking thread.trimmed
  5. Now the needle turn appliqué sewing. Untack a few stitch and fold the appliqué fabric. You can find the folding line by looking at holes created by tacking or guessing from the bits still tacked. That’s the reason you want to start tacking in smooth parts which easier to find the shape. Stitch with small stitches. Untack one stitch at a time and fold as you go. Use your needle to turn and poke the fabric to shape.sititching
  6. Finished!stitchedstitched back

As you can see above, I didn’t exactly stitched on the marked line all the time. But that is fine as far as the front looks good.
I hope I can explain tips for actual needle turn bit but that is quite complicated without actual action for me. So I have to skip it here but any questions are welcome!





September 5, 2016 9:54 pm

I always wondered how this was accomplished! Thank you for posting. One day I may attempt this part of the craft.

Julie Fukuda
September 6, 2016 7:13 am

I have seen this method done by other friends, though I have never tried it myself. Sometimes I mark the fabric and sometimes I baste the seam under and just pin it in place. Some markers are hard to remove. I like the white Karisma lead pencil best for colored fabric and it comes off as you turn and sew it. The pink or yellow or blue are hard to get out. I use a marker that erases with water for other fabrics. I use those same markers for quilting lines too..

September 6, 2016 10:48 pm

Thank you for the tips! I usually prepare my hand appliqué parts with freezer paper templates, and, yes, it takes a lot of time. I think I’ll try this method on a little project to see how it works for me))