Tuesday, September 14, 2010

To Trim or Not

To trim or not... that is the question? I am appliquing rather large leaves (approximately 5" x 11") on a large (16") pieced block. This question can also apply to all of Kim's blocks as there are some areas of large applique. Do you trim to within a quarter-inch on the back side of your applique or maybe an inch or do you maybe just snip as I have been doing or even not make any cuts or snips on the back. Up to this point in time, I have never trimmed because I thought it would weaken everything and I am paranoid about my applique coming off although it is so tight I cant even take out all the stitches of my applique.

So what do you do? (alberta)


  1. Alberta,
    I don't cut out the back because I too think it will weaken the quilt. I will machine quilt my quilt so quilting through it is not a problem. I think I might cut them out if I was hand quilting.

  2. I never trim away the back. I'm a hand quilter and when I quilt through the appliques I just do a stab stitch there if I need to.
    If you're appliqueing on a pieced background(if I'm understanding your question) and you trim, you'll be cutting through the stitching that holds the background piecing together. In that case I'd be more concerned of the piecing not holding together as well?
    I think it's just personal preference though?

  3. I agree, I rarely cut the back. I feel it will weaken the quilt.

  4. i agree with the others- i don't trim behind my appliques either. As a long arm machine quilter, i recommend to my piecers/appliquers not to trim. when i load the quilt into the frame for quilting the missing background fabric will allow the quilt to distort, while having the background there helps stabilize the quilt. Since i am quilting by machine, i can quit through all layers without a problem.

  5. Well, I have to say I'm in the non-cutting camp with the others. I just don't have a reason to cut away the quilt background. So, I don't! It is a personal choice though.

    Sometimes a fusible product is used to create the applique shape. Once the shape is stitched, a cut is made in the background and the fusible product is removed.

    So, it depends how you are doing your applique and what your preferences are...?! Interesting question. I'll be interested to read more comments to this post!