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Video 15: Mock Hand-Appliqué Basics

Learn the basics of mock hand-appliqué.

Mock hand-applique gives the appearance of hand applique, but gives you the ease of doing it by machine. Let's talk about what makes doing mock hand-applique successful. First of all, you can choose to do it using monofilament thread and a blind-hem stitch, so that the stitching is nearly impossible to see. It also allows you to keep some of the raised appearance, a little bit more dimension than you would get with fusible applique or another method. The other alternative for mock hand-applique if your machine doesn't have a blind-hem or variable overlock stitch is to use a very narrow, tiny, tiny zigzag stitch. Here, instead of monofilament thread, the quiltmaker chose thread to match the applique shapes, not the background, but the applique shapes themselves. And by choosing a very good thread match, again, it's difficult to tell where the stitching is. And it gives that hand-applique appearance. So, let's talk about a few tips for making mock hand-applique with monofilament thread. The blind-hem stitch is one you might not use often on your machine, but it has this sort of pattern to it. It takes a couple of stitches, a zigzag, a couple more straight stitches, a bite into the fabric, and again, two more straight stitches. Now if you're setting up your machine using a blind-hem stitch, you will want to make sure that these zigzag stitches are no more than 1/8" inch apart. So you're setting a very, very narrow, tiny stitch using the blind-hem. If you're using monofilament thread, you want to use a 60-weight cotton bobbin thread. So you'd only use monofilament thread in the needle. And monofilament is invisible. It comes in a clear or smoke sort of grayish tone if you're working with dark fabrics. It can sometimes have less of a shiny appearance. But the blind-hem stitch, if you're using this, the straight stitches go right along the outside edge of your applique. The bite goes into your applique and back out. And you want those straight stitches to be so near the edge of your applique, but you don't want to bite into the fold because the folded edge is really what gives it that raised appearance. So you don't want to flatten it down with stitches. Instead, you want those straight stitches to take two stitches right along the edge without going into the fold and then the bite to come into the applique to hold it in place, back out to the edge, and all the way around the edge. Now, if you're using the method with the zigzag stitch, then you might want to use a 50- or 60-weight thread, which is a little bit lighter weight. The thread isn't going to be as dense. And it's such a tiny zigzag stitch that you really want the thread to kind of meld into your applique shape. You don't want it to be too heavy or too obvious. Again, you might want to use a 70/10 needle. And when you're doing a lot of applique it makes sense to change your needle often, because you want that point to be very, very sharp and easily go around all of the curves. Take your time, sew slowly, and give mock hand-applique a try. I think you'll enjoy it.