Thursday, December 1, 2011

Speedy Handwork

Fused applique finished with hand embroidered stem stitch
Speedy Handwork? I know it sounds like a new oxymoron; such as Jumbo Shrimp or Genuine Imitation. Actually, its a method I use to give the handwork touch to fused applique projects.  I happened to mention during a yahoo group exchange that I finish the edge of fused applique with a hand stem stitch.  Since then I have received several email asking me to show how I do this.  You ask, I answer.

I prefer the stem stitch to the blanket stitch because 1) it's much faster and 2) you can vary the length to accommodate a tip or inner corner without it being noticeable. 

I begin with a fused applique project.  I then select embroidery thread; variegated colors are my favorite.  I tend to stick with DMC floss because it's good quality, inexpensive, and readily available.  Typically, I use two strands of floss.  Sometimes I use 3 strands if I want to make sure the edge is completely covered. 

Referring to the diagram in the link, stem stitch., stitch A comes up through the background and fused fabric.  Stitch B goes down into the background only and then comes up at point C through the background and fused fabric. 

I'm using this technique to finish one of my UFO's, Baltimore Row.  I could finish the project on the sewing machine using a blanket stitch or satin stitch, but with all these tiny pieces, I just can't imagine dealing with all the color changes and re-threading.

Until next time...

Best stitches,
Mercy in Miami


  1. Hi Mercy. That technique looks great. Can you tell me if the edges are raw or turned under.

  2. Hi Teresa,
    Thanks! I really like how it turns out too. And it goes so FAST. The edges are raw. They were fused with medium to lightweight fusible.

    Best Stitches!
    Mercy A. Savage

  3. I think that looks nice. Next time I do some fusible applique I must try it. Thank you!

  4. Beautiful work, Mercy. I really like the effect of the variable color threads. Really like how it turns out.

  5. Very nice, Mercy! You always come up with interesting techniques and take great pictures to demonstrate.

  6. Thank you everyone for the very nice response! Another reader emailed me regarding this post and had the wonderful idea to use this technique to mock up a block in order to tryout new color schemes.
    Best stitches,