When I first tried it, I didn't like hand applique very much.
Needle turn. All that basting. My blocks had puckers and distortions. And never laid flat. Never.
Maybe I wasn't ready for hand applique. It's so mysterious.
So I tried machine applique. That's okay, but . . . sometimes you want something that doesn't require a sewing machine.
Then I found the 'starch method' to do hand applique. Loved it. Pieces were nice and flat. BUT, there's quite a lot of prep work with freezer paper and liquid starch. Then you have to rinse the block so the starch doesn't attract critters from three adjoining counties.
I recently found my 'new' favorite applique method. It's not really 'new' - but it's new to me! It's described in Vintage Journey by Jo Morton. Jo references Jeana Kimball who calls it the "template-free" method of hand applique.
I won't go into too many specifics here, get the book for all the dirty details.
Basically, start on the back of the base fabric with an outline of the applique. With heavy thread and a bigger needle, secure the applique piece to the front with a running stitch along the drawn outlines. I used YLI cotton hand quilting thread (one of my favorites!), a size 7 sharp, and I kept my stitches really small. Now, I'm not so keen on basting, but I do love running stitches!
With the applique secured, let the block set a while. Later, work on the front with a smaller needle and your favorite matching applique thread (I like YLI Soft Touch). Pull out the running stitches, a little at a time, and turn under the allowance. You'll find that the heavy needle and thread have created enough perforation in the fabric to allow the fabric to turn under neatly.
This applique stuff isn't so mysterious, after all!