tools of the trade : needle-turn appliqué.


applique tools_2_carolyn friedlander


I like to slow down and enjoy each project that I’m working on, especially when it comes to some good handwork. That’s the goal anyway and a big part of my slow sewing studio. But like everything else, it’s great to have the right tools for the project. So I thought I’d put together a list of the things I like to use when I’m doing needle-turn appliqué. Of course, I know there are plenty of other good brands and products out there, these are just what I’ve found to work well for me.


+ fabric for project

+ thread for project (such as Aurifil Cotton 50 wt.)

+ appliqué needles (such as Clover Gold Eye Appliqué No. 10)

+ appliqué pins (such as Clover Appliqué Size 12)

+ large fabric scissors (such as Karen Kay Buckley 7 1/2″ Perfect Scissors)

+ small fabric scissors (such as Karen Kay Buckley 4″ Perfect Scissors)

+ removable marking tool (such as Pilot Fixion pen or chalk marker)

+ seam gauge (such as Dritz Measuring Gauge)

+ iron (not pictured)

+ heavy paper (like cardstock) or template plastic (for copying template)


optional supplies : thimble, needle threader, thread conditioner (such as thread heaven)


What are your favorites?





, , ,

12 Responses to tools of the trade : needle-turn appliqué.

  1. Debbie-Esch House Quilts June 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I cannot hand sew without my Roxanne thimble. I love it so much 🙂

    I’ve used YLI #100 silk thread for my hand applique for years, but I bet the Aurifil #50 is great too.

    • carolynfriedlander June 13, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

      Good call on the silk thread! I’ll have to give that a try sometime. I just started using the clover “protect and grip” thimble for big stitch and like it too.

  2. Casey June 13, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    Great idea for a post! I do mainly fusible applique, but I find that when hand-sewing down the edges, an embroidery hoop is very useful for keeping the fabric smooth. I really like the spring-tension hoops that Darice crafts makes. I also love my Clover needle threader for threading needles with smaller holes!

  3. Linda H. June 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Hey there, Carolyn! I’ve done lots of hand appliqué, and though it isn’t my favorite thing to do quilting-wise, I’ve accomplished it successfully. The appliqué method I prefer is back-basted. So, you’d need to put another thread spool in your picture – something like quilting thread for the basting step. Also, my very favorite hand appliqué needles are Jeanna Kimball straw needles. I like a size #11 or #10. I’m looking forward to learning more about your slow sewing studio.

    • carolynfriedlander June 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

      Thanks Linda! Great suggestions from you too. I’ll be doing more posts with my new appliqué patts soon. 🙂

  4. Katie June 18, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I’ve done needle turn for years and love it. You have no idea how happy it makes me to see a big name modern designer promoting needle turn applique! I have long tried to encourage people to embrace the process of a slow project. So many people seem to rush from project to project, I wonder how they can possibly enjoy what they’re doing.

    Like one of the commenters above, I can’t live without my Roxanne thimble! I also use YLI silk thread because years ago when I was taught applique (by a member of the quilt police, I’m sure) that was the “right” thread to use. Old habits die hard. I use either Jenna Kimball needles, Roxanne or John James.

    • carolynfriedlander June 18, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

      Thanks, Katie for the kind comment and great recommendations! You are just fabulous.

  5. Shirley Gilmore June 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    You should try Invisafil 100 wt. thread. It comes in many colors and is very fine and very strong. When you stitch an applique piece with it the stitches almost completely disappear. I highly recommend it.

  6. Miss.Genevieve November 2, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    I cannot do any hand work without a little wooden thread holder my mother gave me. I grew up seeing her use it with her hand applique and it has a lot of meaning to me.


  1. Tools of the Trade: Needle-Turn Appliqué (Updated). - carolyn friedlander - June 3, 2015

    […] update on my needle-turn appliqué tools since my first post almost two years ago. Actually, if you look back you’ll notice that not much has changed. I still like many of the same […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Site by Spunmonkey.