I love the soft sculptured look of traditional needle-turn appliqué and I have over the years managed to master the technique. I still use it for intricate designs, when lots of small overlapping pieces can be a bit tricky for the template technique. However, I now mostly use templates.
Turned-edge appliqué using a template underneath to form the shape produces a very accurate smooth edge, with the same soft look of traditional needle-turn appliqué. It is much faster and easier to hand sew, even beginners get great results straight away. Depending on the appliqué design, you can choose to use the invisible machine sewn technique and achieve a hand sewn look in a fraction of the time.
For my more intricate designs or if you prefer using the traditional needle-turn technique, you can use the templates on top to assist you in cutting out, marking the stitching line and positioning the appliqué pieces onto the traced background design. It’s also very handy with complex designs to be able to write corresponding pattern numbers on the template pieces.
If you have read my previous blog posts you will know the way I use heat-sensitive coated paper templates is slightly different to the usual way. I generally use them underneath with the dull side against the wrong side of the fabric, but for traditional needle-turn appliqué I use them on top, with the coated shiny side against the right side of the fabric. This means you can choose to mix my turned-edge template technique with the traditional needle-turn technique without the worry of asymmetrical design pieces being the wrong way round.
All my packs include general instructions explaining the various techniques. The Design Packs and Pattern Packs also include design notes suggesting which techniques are most suited to that particular design. The templates allow some flexibility in the way you can work with them. Once you are familiar with the various techniques, choose the one that is most suited to the design and the way you prefer to work.