Two Tools, Two Basic Stitches for all my Fabric Applique and Collage

I  channeled the thieving magpie when I stitched this complicated collage pillow cover.  Just listed in my ETSY shop, Kiki’s Rewind Designs,  it consists of a dozen or more pieces of borrowed embroidery which I appliqued and quilted to an old skirt panel.   Vintage buttons and gold thread complete this folk art bird’s nest.


At the other end of the spectrum,  here’s  a very simple collage pillow that uses only two fabrics.

collage2One piece is difficult,  the other, straightforward but both use the same tools and techniques.

Let’s start with the tools:

  1. Quilter’s temporary adhesive spray.  I never sew without this stuff.  It keeps parts and pieces from shifting while you sew which is essential for collage work.   And it won’t gum your needle.spray
  2. A walking foot.  Another tool that prevents shifting when you sew–my old Pfaff has a built-in walking foot.   But don’t be discouraged if you don’t have one.  You can easily buy a walking foot that bolts to your machine.

Now that we’ve solved the shifting problem, let’s talk about stitches.  Only two are required.

After cutting and sticking all my parts in place,  I sew them down with a straight stitch in rows.  The regular presser foot is my seam guide.  I move the needle position for maximum space.   (Beginner tip:  This is a great way to practice your straight stitching. You can stop every 3 to 5 lines and measure then correct your up or down hill slant.)

collage32) Next I use my zig-zag stitch to cover all the raw edges.   I find it’s a lot easier to set your stitch width a little looser, then go around the shape twice.

Once you get the basics down, you can begin to add embellishments.  I used topstitch thread (and needle) to add the blue outline to these butterflies.   Do practice on a scrap before you stitch on the real thing.


Applique is great fun and VERY CREATIVE.   I hope this will encourage you to give it a try!


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