This September, we're turning the spotlight on appliqué! One of the things I love the most about appliqué is the vast variety in styles that can be created with this simple technique, from modern abstract shapes to highly detailed quilts that look like still life paintings. Today we'll share some tips and tricks from our favorite appliqué books (and a few products!). Plus, we're offering 25% off all the featured titles until Saturday! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the 25% off promo code.
Eyes, Beaks, and Legs: The birds’ eyes can be embroidered or painted. Linda used #16 perle cotton for embroidering the eyes and black and white permanent markers for painting them. The beaks were appliquéd and the legs embroidered.
I drew the patterns as the appliqué appears, not showing hidden layers. If the pieces appear layered, don’t cut away the area behind the top pieces. When you stack the shapes, the layering will add depth to your finished appliqué.
Don’t stop the audition process with the blocks. Put the setting triangles and borders on the wall, as well as the fabric for the English paper pieced flowers. All of the parts of the quilt work together, and it is important to get it right before you begin sewing.
TIP: To trace circles and ovals easily, pay a visit to your local arts and crafts store to buy circle and oval templates. All my circles and ovals are standard template sizes and easily matched. It’s easier to draw perfect circles from a template than to trace them freehand.
Note: If you use a thicker thread, such as a 40- or 30-weight thread, it will be more visible around the appliqués and will be more of a feature than the fabric pieces. And in the thicker stitching it can be difficult to hide errors (not that we make those!).
JENNIFER’S NOTE: I started by using a special fabric appliqué glue stick, went through $30 worth of refills, and said, “To heck with that!” So I am recommending an inexpensive school glue stick. It is a little bulkier to handle, but this isn’t fussy work.
Before you start stitching on your project, sew a small test piece to give you some practice and allow you to get the feel of the stitch. If you are not happy with the result, try changing the length or width. Test it out and keep changing the settings until you find a suitable stitch setting.
Tip: It’s a good idea to stabilize your background fabric before adding appliqués. Cut the background fabric about 1 ̋ larger than indicated and spray with starch, saturating the fabric so that when pressed dry, it is as stiff as paper. Fuse and stitch around the appliqué pieces; then cut the background block to the size in the project directions.
Even Better! When your blocks are on your design wall, you can see how they fit together in the quilt. But after you take them off the wall, it can be hard to remember which block goes where. If each block is identical, this isn’t a problem. But if the blocks are not identical, you need an easy way to get them back into place in the quilt.
This is what we do: When the blocks are on the design wall in their final position, we number the background in the upper right corner. This number replaces the X as a registration mark. You can then see at a glance how the block is oriented and its position in the quilt. You can put more information at the edge of your background block if you like: the name of the pattern, the date, or whatever is important to you.
To finger-press, hold the appliqué piece right side up. Using your thumb and index finger, turn the turn-under allowance to the back of the appliqué so that the drawn line is just barely turned under.
Use your fingers to “press” a crease into the fabric along the inside of the drawn line. Good-quality 100% cotton will hold a finger press very well. Do not wet your fingers or use starch or scrape your fingernail along the crease. Just pinch it with your fingertips. Finger-press every edge that will be sewn down.
You can get 25% off all these amazing books with the promo code APP25. Promotion ends 10/2 at 11:59 PM PST.