People get stumped when it’s time to outline applique designs – and the more complicated the block, the more likely I am to get questions about how to approach that outline stitching.
Where to start?
There’s no right or wrong way – as long as you outline each piece, you’re good. But I do like to have all my lines connect (just like they would in a drawing) and I have a system that I use.
This system works for any block, using any pattern – but I’ll go over the specifics using this quilt block as an example. I loaded it up big. If you click on it you should get a larger version of the image so you can really zoom in on the details.
Here’s the order I used to outline applique pieces. . .
Start with all the pieces on top – that is, not overlapped by any other pieces:
Stitch all the way around each piece, then work your way out from those pieces:
- dress top
- dress bottom
As long as you always start with the pieces on top, you’ll always have lines to connect to. The best example of that in this block is the outlining of the face. The sides of the face tuck under the hair, and the sides of the neck tuck under the dress. So make sure the hair and the dress are stitched before you do the face and you’ll always have lines to connect to.
This post shows my favorite sewing machine feet – include the clear applique foot I use to get good visibility. That’s essential if you want to neatly outline applique pieces.
If you like that sample block that I used in this post – it’s part of the Paper Dolls quilt pattern. You get pages and pages of templates for different hair and outfits. It’s so much fun to mix and match them into your own designs!
Here are links to all my posts about outline stitching.
- How to Topstitch and Edgestitch
- How Durable Is Straight Stitching?
- In What Order Do I Stitch?
- Stitching Eyes and Mouths – with lots of help for stitching tight curves
- Tips for Scribbly Outlining
- Playing with Thread Weight
Finished with this topic?