This is my quilt I called "12 Tribes" - a BOM pattern designed by Erin Russek. I used a technique that Kelli from Dont Look Now blog described in this applique quilt. Her work is always so absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and so I had to learn how to do it.
It is a free-motion, raw edge fusible applique. It is still to this DAY my favorite method to do applique. However, I do things very differently these days. I don't know how Kelli does it . . I don't know if she doesn't wash her quilts or what. . but after I washed this quilt 20 times, the applique pieces started coming apart at the edges.
the way she did it made it looks so "neat and tidy" . she would stitch a straight-line right at the edge of each applique piece. and she did her stitching with a free-motion/quilting/darning foot, which makes it VERY easy and fast!
Can you see in these photos? here is a section where the pieces are coming apart. Now, I HAVE washed this quilt ALOT. . and maybe it's because I used a very lightweight fusible product. I know that Steam-A-Seam is usually a little bit stronger.
After I discovered the issues with this quilt, I changed my raw-edge applique WAYS. There are many different options, and I use different ones depending on the particular project. Some good methods are:
Using a buttonhole stitch, zigzag stitch, or satin stitch with a regular sewing machine foot. ( a clear foot works best.)
But what I usually do is use the #5 setting on my Janome and use my darning foot. The #5 is a narrow zig-zag. So basically you need to catch at LEAST an 1/8" of the fabric with your thread. And the great thing about using the darning foot is that you don't have to keep turning your machine constantly. Which is great for big quilts like this ;c)
So, moral of the story, if you don't want to have to redo your whole quilt, than make sure you secure your applique pieces at FIRST. and I wouldn't even CARE really, if I were still just using it and washing it. BUT, I decided to hang this quilt up and "retire" it from use. . so I wanted to make sure to fix all the problems first. ;c)