Sunday, January 10, 2021


It's been a number of years now since I retired from traveling the world on the quilting highway.  I don't miss the airline travel!  I do miss the energy I got from the workshop experience, sharing newly discovered techniques developed from projects made for my quilting cruises/tours, books, & competition quilts and garments.

This comment came from a follower in regard to a recent blog post.  AND that brought out the 'instructor' still in me:  

"Stunning!! I have to know what scissors you use to do all that fussy cutting of the cranes. The edges are perfect."

I'm happy to share my approach to raw edge applique.  But first I have to confess.......I used to turn my nose up at this technique.  I judged a lot of quilt shows in the day and often saw unintended frayed edges, sloppy applique, and distorted backgrounds. But I also saw beautifully executed pieces that elevated this art form.  I personally still favor handwork, but now through practice and trial and error, developed numerous methods to achieve the high quality standards I'm a bit obsessive about. Most importantly, it's given me an additional design path. Okay....enough of this intro....

#1.  Nope, no special brand of scissors.....I use quality small sharp to the point embroidery scissors.

#2.  Misting lightly with spray starch or fabric sizer and pressing before cutting is very helpful to help tame those cut edges.  This is especially true on more loosely woven fabrics which may require a bit more than a misting.  I don't find it necessary for most batiks.  SIDE NOTE:  Since my work focuses on art quilts that aren't washed, I don't over-do this process as there is a concern that starch attracks insects....whether true or not I'm not sure but I've never seen.

#3.  I'm old school and still recommend Pellon's Wonder Under.  I buy it by the bolt, and find it very dependable and economically priced.

#4.  Once the motif is fused in place, coat the edges with June Tailor's Fray Block.  See details HERE. I learned this trick from applique expert Linda Cantrell.  The ONLY time this product has ever stained my fabrics was when I used silk dupioni.  It never hurts to test first though.  Batiks may not require this step, but if in doubt take the time to do it.

#5.  I always test stitch on scraps before committing to the stitch style,  width, length, & thread type. Do I want the applique to be as invisible as possible or to add to the design?  This is also where I discover whether extra 
stabilizing is necessary.  Very often just a piece of tissue paper beneath my project is enough to eliminate puckering.

Believe me, I still consider myself sort of new to this technique, but because I'm extremely fussy in regard to construction, all these steps are necessary to give me the results I'm proud of.

Perhaps you will find these methods helpful as well.


Robbie said...

This is a blog post to bookmark for future use!!! I have used Fray Check but not always happy with it and never for my applique! But I will now...if I ever get back to quilting! HA Thanks again, Mary for sharing your expertise with us!!!

The Inside Stori said...

IMPORTANT - Just to be clear Robbie.....I use Fray BLOCK.....not Fray Check......

Kathy said...

Glad you clarified--Fray Block and not Fray Check. I have tried using Fray Check a couple of times and hated everything about it. I will remember--if I ever change my style or need to tame those edge threads. Thanks for all the tips!

The Inside Stori said...

I think so many of us are familiar with Fray Check, it’s understandable the difference wasn’t immediately recognized. FRAY BLOCK friends!!!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Awesome, thank you for the tutorial!

Sherrie Spangler said...

Thanks for those tips!