Updated: Apr 11, 2020
When basting fabric to the papers you often end up with tails of fabric that stick out.
These tails need to be tucked in and not cut off when appliqueing your shape to the background.
Use a thread colour that matches your applique piece not your background fabric
Use a a very fine needle, size 10 to 12. There is a lot of advice about needles, use what is most comfortable for you. I prefer a Bohin size 12 Applique needle short.
As I am not doing a traditional applique, my edges are already turned under, I do not need a long needle.
However if you have a long applique needle then use what you have.
Use a light weight thread. The higher the number on the thread weight the finer the thread is.
I am a fan of the Bottom Line 60wt thread. I use this for English Paper Piecing and for applique so I then do not need to acquire additional thread.
Aurifil also have a nice 80wt thread that is also good for applique.
Appliqueing Shapes with Tails to the Background Fabric
Start appliqueing by bringing your needle through the folded edge of your shape
Take a stitch into the background fabric directly in line with where you came up into the fold
Take the needle into the fold about an 1/8th of an inch along. It is better to make more, shorter spaced stitches. This ensures the longevity of your applique as there is nothing for the applique to catch on. If you space your stitches too far apart it is possible for fingers, toes etc to catch on the applique when using your quilt and damaging your applique.
Continue along until you to get to the tip of the star where the tail is. Take a stitch at the point to secure it in place.
Use the needle to gently push the tail under the applique.
Use your fingernail to hold it in place.
If you have trouble using the needle then a wooden bamboo skewer is also helpful. It is longer and stronger than your needle.
When it is all tucked away continue your applique stitch along the edge.
If you find your points bumpy you can trim excess fabric away before you tuck your tails, just ensure you have at least a 1/4 inch tail.