What Is Sew and Turn Applique?Sew and turn is a term used to describe a process that allows you to prepare shapes for applique while avoiding the fuss of folding under their edges.
You'll cut two patches for each piece (not necessarily two pieces of fabric for each), align right sides, sew together on the seam line, turn the unit inside-out and then applique it to your quilt.
The Two Layers of a Turn & Sew UnitThe top layer of the unit is cut from the fabric you want to be visible in the design.
The bottom layer can be cut from fabric (bulkier, but that might be a good choice if you want a more dimensional look). A less bulky alternative is nonwoven interfacing.
Make the Turn & Sew Applique Units
- Make a rigid template for each motif in your design.
- Position a template right side down on the reverse side of the front fabric -- the fabric that will be visible in the quilt. Trace around its edges (if you're making multiples of the same unit, trace a group of shapes, leaving about 1/2" between them).
- Position the material chosen for the bottom layer underneath a single traced shape or group of shapes, right sides together (interfacing doesn't have a right side). Secure with pins.
- Machine sew a straight stitch along the marked lines, extending the stitches just slightly past the spot where you started sewing. Repeat for remaining shapes if working with a group.
- Cut out each 2-layer unit, leaving about 3/16" seam allowance past the seam line (or halfway between multiple units).
- Clip into inside corners and trim fabric from points to reduce bulk (you'll need to experiment a bit with this step).
- Using scissors with sharp tips (or a sharp seam ripper), carefully make a slit in the back side of the unit. Turn the unit right side out and use a pointed (but dull) tool to push into and smooth the seam allowance (try the pointy cover that comes with some ballpoint pens, or push gently with a hera marker or similar tool.
- Turn wrong side out again if you find that seam allowances are too bulky. Trim and turn again.
- Press the unit lightly. It's ready to use in an applique project.