Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Applique Technique

I received an email from a reader today regarding some of my applique techniques.  Those of you that have been following my blog for a while have seen some examples but one I haven't shown is one I'm using a lot on the "Creative Journey" quilt.

As you can see I've been working on it again.  It's amazing how much I can get done during 4 hours of "24" (although a lot less than Jack does!).  Anyway, I've been working away adding another flower.  This one is fussy-cut, and I chose it because I could see a lot of embellishment opportunities with it.  I also knew that I could add, (or disguise), colors that would make the flower work, (or not),with the rest of the quilt.

In this case I've already done a bright turquoise chain stitch, and couched the inner design of the petals. Now I want to change the center.  I like it but I want to add more dimension so I needed to find a different fabric for it. 
I chose this fabric because I liked the pink dots with the orange background, I also saw some potential with the triangles in the center.

To do this I had to fussy-cut the center piece.  I measured the center of the printed flower and then cut a piece to fit.  Now, I actually couldn't get this piece to fit perfectly because the original center was an oval, not a circle.  However, I'm not too concerned about it, I think it will make it look interesting and add more depth.
I marked the center with a pencil then backstitched using a matching thread with two strands of embroidery floss.  In this case I want to add some depth to the piece so the two strands will give it more lift once it's stitched on.  If I wanted it to lie flat I could use the same technique but with only one strand of a fine thread. You want to keep your backstitches at most 1/8 of an inch, I try to get 10 per inch if I can.  Once you've stitched over the marked line, you can leave your threaded needle attached.  If I doubled my thread instead of inserting two strands into the eye, I will cut one of the threads close to the stitches and save the threaded needle to do my final applique.  It's also a great way to baste it in place if you need to.

Once you've done the stitching, press the piece both front and back until it's flat, steam if you have to.  Next you need to use a little fray check, or in my case clear nail polish.  I carefully apply the polish close to the stitches.  You don't need to use it further out as those edges won't likely fray as you're stitching.  Trim the piece to about 1/4 inch then clip and notch close to the thread.

This shows what the back of your applique will look like.  Turn it to the front and carefully finger press the notched edges under at the thread line.  If you feel you need to you can take a couple of basting stitches in the center of the applique to hold it in place.

Hold the piece in your nonstitching hand.  Tuck your knot under one of the stitches and then come up through the next stitch.  Then stitch down into your quilt over the stitch.  You can either tuck the stitches under the applique, or show them at the edge.  I do both depending on how I want it to look.

Continue stitching until you're finished.  It takes a little practice but is a great way to hand applique things like flowers, which have inner and outer curves.

Try it and let me know how it goes.  I intend to get this finished tonight while my son watches "American Idol."  He loves the audition shows but they just make me feel sad for all those delusional people who really think they can sing, and then they're awful.  Seems exploitive to me but I guess they volunteer for it.

Oh well, off to make dinner, I hope this technique works for you. 

If you ever have any questions you can contact me at susan@gillygaloofus.com.  I check it regularly so I should get back to you pretty quickly.

Oh, and thanks Becky for asking if I have a book, I wish!

Happy Stitching!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel