I was not happy with the raw edges of raw edge applique. I liked the finished edges of turn under applique. However, once I really got into quilting, hand work was too slow. I wanted to do more projects faster. The satin stitch finish demonstrated in Jane Sassaman's book did the trick. The edge was finished and I was able to use beautiful threads. I probably like buying thread just as much if not more than fabric. :) Unlike raw edge applique, this applique technique is done prior to quilting as shown in this above flower. This quilt has not yet been quilted, just appliqued.
As I became comfortable with thread colors, I learned to use the thread to manipulate the way my applique looked. In this flower, I used a varigated thread with a small zigzag to outline the outer petals and used a light colored thread with a larger zigzag stitch to draw the eye to the interior of the flower.
This rooster has satin stitched edges for the most part as well. The stitching adds an additional dimension to the piece.
On the rooster's foot, the satin stitch is very small. However, the thinness of the leg caused me to choose a triple stitch to finish the edge, rather than a satin stitch. The black thread is my quilting stitch giving it two functions: 1) quilting; and, 2) additional dimension and color.
Until recently, my satin stitch was done with the feed dogs up with an open-toe foot. These flowers, however, were done with the feed dogs down and with a free-motion foot: a free-motion zigzag stitch. I know you have seen me mention before as it is currently my FAVORITE stitch. The stitching is not as perfect as with feed dogs up but I enjoy doing it oh so much better.
Let me know what you're favorite applique method is, even if something I haven't mentioned. I always like to learn new techniques.