Reverse applique Celtic knot

My first large-scale Celtic knots were made using a raw-edge fusible technique.

Later, I stitched along the edges of the shapes with straight or zig-zag stitching.

More recently, I worked with a fusible double applique technique.

Now, I’ve tried reverse applique, and I believe it’s gonna be my technique of choice.

First, I enlarged my design to size, and traced it in pencil to the front of my background fabric. I carefully traced the design WITHIN the lines; the width of the lines becomes the space between shapes.

Enlarged design
Enlarged design
Traced design
Traced design

I placed my chosen fabric right side up on my worktable, then positioned the traced design on top of it. I pinned then stitched the two layers together along the traced lines.

Stitched lines
Stitched lines

I pinched and separated the two layers, then snipped and cut away ONLY the top layer close to the stitched lines.

Trimmed away top layer
Trimmed away top layer

I topstitched along the raw edge with a zig-zag stitch. I do this to stabilize the raw edge; I don’t want the cut edge pulling free along the stitching line.

Topstitched edges
Topstitched edges

I trimmed the excess fabric from the back of the piece, close to the zig-zag seam. All the more reason to zig-zag along the stitching line; there’s not much holding this seam together.

Here’s the first knot in orange.

Orange knot
Orange knot

Here’s the second knot in blue. I still need to zig-zag the raw edges and trim the excess fabric from the back.

Orange and Blue Celtic knot
Orange and Blue Celtic knot

What I like about this technique overall is its preciseness. When I cut individual shapes and arranged them to my background, I had to “eyeball” all the positioning and spacing. Invariably, I’d see something “off” after the fact.

Not so with reverse applique. I trace the design on the background; all the shapes are exactly where they need to be. No “eyeballs” necessary!

This gives me an idea I’d love to try: a Celtic knot using a plaid fabric. If I use a single, large piece of fabric, then all my knot shapes should have matching stripes in all directions!!

3 thoughts on “Reverse applique Celtic knot

  1. Thank you. I want to try this in plaid as that will represent a tartan. I am glad that your tutorial is written with pictures. I as prepared to take notes while starting and stopping a video. I prefer this method of instruction, thank you. I will work on this an post a photo.

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