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In an ideal world, just like your applique stitch, the outlining stitching should be invisible. It's hard to get right up against the applique---sometimes the applique has several layers with some bulk to it and stitching up against it is difficult. And be careful because your hopping foot (half on the applique and half on the background) will beat up the applique a bit, sometimes leaving shadows or crush marks. Use the thinnest matching thread you can find, or invisible. You all know I'm a big fan of invisible thread.  ;)


 Go slow with a template in your hand to steady the stitching. I have a small arc template that fits my hand and I use the side that matches the curve--inside curve or outside curve--when going around curves. And a straight one for stems and flatter curves


Background fills should be in a matching thread color unless your goal is to do elaborate micro-fills, which can be stitched with metallics or you can go one shade darker if you dare.


I've also stitched the background fill first before the outlining, to push any fullness under the applique. Start out a ways and work your way in to the applique. Then if you're using the same thread, stitch around the applique. This ends up looking great. Don't be afraid to stitch on the applique as well. You'll be able to tell which elements need some stitching. 


Have fun and learn a lot---and you'll be ready for that show quilt!

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Thank you, Linda!  I am using invisible thread and a template to help guide the hopping foot.  I did not consider that the foot would beat up the applique and I probably have a bad combination with batiks along with 80/20 on the bottom and polydown on top of it to give the applique loft after the background is stitched.  So far the fabric does not show wear.  I would not go so far as to call this fun, but at least I am not hating it!   :P

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I've also seen in "show" quilts where the outline stitch is 1/4" away from the edge of the applique and it gives it a totally different appearance.  Like everything else, the more you do it the easier it gets.  The only one I've found that I didn't care for was stitching right next to wool applique that had blanket stitches with thick thread.  I look forward to seeing your "practice" piece!

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Question for Linda. Where did you get that small of an arc ruler?



Hi Bonnie. Dennis makes a set of curved crosshatching arcs. Here's a link to a photo. The smallest one on the right is what I use for outlining applique. It's about 4 inches long and easy to hold. I use them all the time for marking spines and big CCs.

The set is $39 which includes shipping in the US except Alaska & Hawaii. Email Den if you're interested.  dennisrech@comcast.net    He's working on your crosshatching rulers today.  :)



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