Blog | Pacific Rim Quilt Company Tips: Applique in a Valley

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Tips: Applique in a Valley

One common shape that sometimes presents a challenge to appliquers is the valley (aka: reverse point, or inside corner). We thought it would help if you could see these areas with x-ray vision, of sorts. Nancy stitched these samples using silk organza (quite a different challenge!) so you could see what the turn-under allowance looks like.

Where to clip? Valleys
Using our Tulip Vases pattern, let's look to see where to clip the fabric. In this sample, to the right, three inside corners are highlighted:
  1. A wide V (right angle or wider)
  2. A narrow V (a sharper, more acute angle)
  3. A slit
In order to achieve the shape of the applique you want, it is necessary to clip the applique fabric in 1 and 2, but not 3. A slit (3) requires no additional clipping, as nothing is to be gained by making the slit longer. We design our patterns assuming no additional clipping at the end of a slit.
How deep should I clipHow deep should the clip be?
Because we do not mark the turn-under line on our applique fabric, we use pins to show us exactly how deep to snip. Place pins, temporarily, on the turn-under line (3/16 inch from the cut edge), with the tips of the pins crossing, to see exactly how deep to clip. Make your clip, then remove the pins.
Notice that the clip on the right, the narrower V, requires a longer clip than the one on the left, a right angle. A single clip in each corner, that's all.
How much fabric do I turn underHow much fabric is turned under?
No matter the angle, a single clip into the corner allows for good shaping. You can see from the sheer fabric samples, that there is no fabric turned under right at the valley floor.
Samples 2 and 3: After making the clip, you turn under your normal allowance until you near the valley floor. The closer you get to the valley floor, the less fabric you have to turn under forming the V.
Sharp VHow is the valley stitched?
As the amount of fabric turned under gradually decreases, your stitches need to be closer and closer together, at the same time they reach a little further onto the applique fabric. It is this stitching that securely holds all the cut fiber ends in place. Because there is virtually no fabric turned under right at the valley floor, it is important to cluster several stitches right there to make sure none of the fibers poke stitchThese stitches take a little deeper bite onto the applique fabric to catch a few threads of the applique fabric, securing the valley, and making sure it will stand the test of time. We refer to this as a satin fan stitch. As you head out of the valley floor, continue with several closely-spaced stitches until you are stitching with a normal turn under.

No clipNow, take two pieces of fabric, cut a few valleys and stitch them for practice. We think seeing what is happening with the turn-under, following our methods, and a little practice will increase your confidence, making you proud of your reverse points.

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