Reverse Appliqué with No Brakez Class Plan

by Jan Mullen

Notes to Instructors & Shop Owners
Each class I teach in Reverse Appliqué with No Brakez by Jan Mullen has a strong link to the next. The show-and-tell I start with varies little - I show samples and talking about variations of the processes involved before moving on to cover the work of the day.

My show-and-tell is extensive - too long for some, too short for others - it depends on how quickly their ideas flow. You won't have the number of samples I have but you will have the book to work them through. Point out variations throughout the chapters.

I suggest that you have at least two samples for your class - one finished and either a set of step-outs or a sample showing the work in progress.

Quick In-Store Class
I used the kits listed below to get students into "reverse" mode at Spring Quilt Market in Portland. The secret layer was to be pieced, the appliqué itself hand-stitched with floss and a large running stitch. After a quick explanation of the freedom of my methods and a show of samples, students eagerly started cutting and stitching to produce works that diverged from my sample and satisfied them. Straight away they were thinking for themselves.

Supplying a kit takes away the fabric choice quandary. Giving them binding fabric immediately gives them a reason to finish the blocks. For you, the shop owner, this type of small project not only informs and educates your customers but would also make a great display. Perhaps borrow your customers' samples or have all your staff stitch one, then string them festively across the store!

* The kit contains the major ingredients for a 10" reverse appliqué block. The secret layer can be pieced in a variety of ways - strips, scrap, squares, etc. The secret layer and top layer could also be reversed with the top pieced! The appliqué could also be done by machine if that is your preference, in which case I suggest giving them a choice of utility and decorative threads.

STARTER KIT FOR REVERSE APPLIQUÉ

  • Top layer - 10" square
  • Secret layer - 4 fabrics, each 10" x 5"
  • Batting - 10" square
  • Backing - 11" square
  • Binding - 2" x 50"
  • Floss - 1 yard, and a needle!

All-Day Class
In this class I have both experienced stitchers/quilters and raw beginners, all encouraged to work their own way:

  • to appliqué by hand or machine
  • to launch into major projects or just to play
  • to extend themselves trying a new technique or learning within their comfort zone
  • to use their own designs, often stylized/simplified with my help or to use my templates that move them quickly on to the process (Specimen Daisy is the most popular)

I have taught Reverse Appliqué this way for years. Basically it becomes a one-on-one class, demanding of the teacher but amazingly rewarding. The order of the day goes something like this:

  1. Show as many samples as possible, talking them through the layers and possibilities that make up Reverse Appliqué. Touch on each of the main chapters to cover the basic technique - the secret layer, the top layer, and the appliqué itself - and you will have their brains whizzing.

    Many of my samples are small and mounted on foam-core board for easy presentation. I also make sure I have an unfinished piece that shows the layers and various stages of preparing and starting a "running stitch" hand appliqué.

    I only touch on some of the many techniques possible so they don't become too overloaded. Technical questions relating to individual designs are best dealt with as they occur.

  2. I spend time individually on design, which can be a major stumbling block for some. It is advisable initially that they keep their design simple. Some choose a design that is too complicated or has too much detail. I show them how to stylize designs, round edges, remove extraneous detail, and accentuate important details. Realism isn't always the best option.

    *When working by hand and turning raw edges under, reverse appliqué is excellent for executing curves, so encourage these rather than lots of points.

    *If students are happy working with a machine and fusible web, then intricacy and a plethora of points don't matter!

  3. I work the room constantly, looking for ways to make processes easier, simplify images, help with color and fabric editing, problem solving, and discussing alternate ways to achieve their designs.

Project Class: Getting Started
3 hours or 1 full day
"Specimen Daisy" (page 53) and "K is for Kitty" (page 56) are the best projects for this. They are ideal methods to introduce students to both the concept of reverse appliqué and interesting yet simple ways to achieve difference. Supplying a kit, perhaps in a few different colorways, would be a good option.

Offer a hand appliqué class covering:

  • making the secret layer
  • tracing/marking the design
  • cutting and pinning
  • reverse appliqué by hand (choice of threads and stitches perhaps)
  • quilting by hand or machine
  • making and applying a floating border

Or teach appliqué by machine (buttonhole stitch is a good initial choice) covering:

  • making the secret layer
  • tracing/marking the design onto fusible web
  • cutting out the fusible web
  • reverse appliqué by machine (choice of threads and stitches perhaps)
  • quilting by machine (perhaps freehand like mine)
  • making and applying a floating border

Project Class: Baltimore Quilt
3 hours or 1 full day
"From Baltimore to Freo" can be taught as one simple block, a set of three or four which may be finished in a day, or the whole nine blocks. We've made great cushions and placemats out of single blocks!

You'll need to cover:

  • making the secret layer
  • drawing the design freehand onto fusible web
  • cutting out the design
  • reverse appliqué by machine (choice of threads and stitches perhaps)
  • quilting by machine (perhaps freehand like mine)
  • making and applying a floating border

Project Class: Functional Flannel
1 full day
"Warm Spotz" (page 61) is the most functional project in this book. Despite being a large quilt it is easily made. With its graphic simplicity it would appeal to young homemakers in decorating mode. With its cuddle factor it would also appeal to youngsters. Although I appliquéd "Warm Spotz" by hand, it could be made even sturdier if stitched on the machine.

You'll need to cover:

  • making the secret layer
  • making the top layer
  • cutting out the design
  • reverse appliqué by hand or machine (choice of threads or stitches perhaps)

Project Class: Kids' Art
1 full day
Everyone will be working from a different design source. Each should bring a child's drawing to work from. You will need to talk about copyright as well as ways to keep the integrity of the design intact.

I suggest that you teach it as a machine class so that the design can be traced onto fusible.

You'll need to cover:

  • simplifying the design
  • making the secret layer
  • tracing the design onto fusible web (mirror image, etc.)
  • cutting out the design
  • reverse appliqué by machine (choice of threads, stitches, couching perhaps)
  • quilting by machine (perhaps freehand like mine)

Project Class: Twinkle, Twinkle
3 hours or 1 full day
This class is of the "artier" variety and combines contemporary crazy piecing, free machine stitching, hand stitching, and using unusual fabrics and decorator threads. Use my simple design and theme as a starting point but it could be taken a lot further either in design or embellishment.

You'll need to cover:

  • working with or changing the design
  • making the secret layer
  • tracing the design onto fusible web (mirror image, etc.)
  • cutting out the design
  • reverse appliqué by machine and hand (choice of threads and stitches perhaps)
  • quilting/decorating by machine and hand

STARGAZEY QUILTS
9-100 Stirling Highway, North Fremantle,
Western Australia, 6158
ph +61 8 9433 3129; fax +61 8 9433 3109
http://www.stargazey.com

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