We’ve chosen needle turn applique as our skill to learn this quarter.

Our featured pattern is Park by Carolyn Friedlander.

I first saw Carolyn’s work at one of my Modern Quilt Guild meetings. I was I immediately in love. All of Carolyn’s works has a serene and lovely feel them. To be honest, the only hand work I’ve done up until this point was hand sewing binding, which I don’t particularly enjoy.

Appliqué just seemed so labour intensive and daunting. After seeing Carolyn’s patterns, I wanted to try needle turn appliqué but was just too intimidated to give it a go.

How wrong I was!

Needle turn appliqué is not hard at all, and nothing to be intimidated by!

In fact, I fount it very soothing and zen-like. One of the things I love about it the most is how portable it is! I was slow stitching on my commute and the plane when I have had to travel for work.

Carolyn’s book is called Savor Each Stitch – now I know what she was talking about. Some people run, some people do yoga, some stitch as their outlet and way to wind down. I know that sewing at my machine is soothing, and now I’ve found something I can take anywhere to help me meditate! Thank you, Carolyn!

I hope you find this pattern as equally fun and meditative as I did, and as a bonus, you get something beautiful at the end!

Our blossoming #culictacrew received enough fabric to make the pillow sham in the pattern and also received appliqué needles and Wonderfil Specialty Thread’s 100 wt. Invisafil thread for the appliqué. This thread is wonderful to stitch with – it virtually disappears, which is pretty handy for this appliqué newbie!

Let’s get to some appliqué!

First, Carolyn has you make a template of the appliqué, I just used regular paper and traced it on the window.


Then, she has you fold up the background and appliqué fabrics like you would if you were making a paper snowflake. I haven’t made a paper snowflake since childhood – this version is way more fun!


After cutting out the appliqué, then fold in both pieces of fabric, which helps you center the appliqué.


Once the appliqué is pinned down, I measured 1/4″ all the way around with a chalk pencil, then baste stitched along the chalk line. The basting, number one: keeps the appliqué in place without pins, and number two: helps guide your seam allowance turn under, giving you a much more consistent 1/8″ seam allowance. Basting probably does more than that, but I am too new to know what else it does!


Once done with all the prep work, it’s time to do some slow stitching!

Fold under the raw edge of the fabric 1/8″ to meet the basting stitches, then grab the tiniest bit of appliqué fabric in your stitch.


At the 90* angles, stop stitching before you get to the basting stitches, fold the fabric under all the way to the corner and then fold under again on the perpendicular side. Photos below to help with a visual. I’m a visual learner, so finding the right words for things like this is hard for me!




On all the curved sections, barely clip it to help it turn under smoothly. We’re talking like 1/16″ of an inch. Apparently, I didn’t take a photo of this step, sorry!

My inside corners need some practice, not going to lie. The inside corners need the tiniest of clips also. Then you fold both sides of the corner under. Using your needle and making a small swiping motion with it, will help turn the fabric under. Use several extra stitches in the very corner to help keep it secure.



Once the appliqué is all sewed down, you can now take the basting stitches out and give it a good press. And admire it!


I certainly need some practice, especially on my corners, but I am still happy with it – and the technique is something I will for sure keep using! I’m hooked!

I’ll do a second post on finishing the pillow sham in the next week or two, depending on life!

We hope you enjoy building this skill and #savoreachstitch!