Did somebody say applique?

March 1, 2011 § 8 Comments

Machine Applique

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very good at applique.  By machine OR by hand.  But for some reason there is an abundance of applique going on at the moment.  Tia, in my Flickr quilting bee, requested Baltimore Album type applique blocks but with a more funky Gothic sort of twist.


Tia sent us the fabric and we had to come up with the inspiration.  At the moment I really love the Tree of Life quilt (on the left) from the book Applique Outside the Lines by Piece O’ Cake and the Folk Art Quilt from Kaffe Fassett’s Museum Quilts book.  It would be really fun to some how combine elements from both of these into a whole quilt. I don’t know what it is about those folk art shapes, but I am imagining all sorts of possibilities.

My workspace

I am really, really slow at hand applique… so I am making these blocks using a machine applique method that Carolyn teaches at the shop where I work.  She is really, really good at this. Me?  I have some practicing to do.  Essentially, what she does is cut out the shapes from freezer paper and iron them onto the back side of the fabric.  Then trim the fabric close leaving maybe 3/16 to 1/8 to turn under.  Paint spray starch around the seam edges and press under with that small iron above. The starch makes the edges nice and crisp and stiff.  Pull out the freezer paper and then glue the shapes to the background fabric with Roxanne’s basting glue.  Use a teeny tiny zig zag stitch all around the shapes to sew them down.

If you live in the area you really need to take a class from her!  If you don’t live around here, her method is sort of similar to Kim Diehl’s applique method described in her books. Yet it’s not. Carolyn has added her own spin on it and her work is beautiful!  Mine?  Please don’t look to closely!

The process

You can see some of the leaf pieces that I’m working on. The freezer paper is ironed onto the wrong side of the fabric and then trimmed down to a small seam allowance.

Block #2

This is my second block for Tia. But I had to resort to fusible web applique on the hands because I just could not get the edges to turn under.  I’m sure Carolyn could have made it work. But I need more practice!

§ 8 Responses to Did somebody say applique?

  • susan says:

    i love what you are doing. lucky tia.i adore piece o cake designs but up to now i have just drooled on all my books…..

  • Robin Wilkinson says:

    Try this for something that is hard to turn like the hands: First transfer the outline onto the back of the fabric and place the fabric face down onto a dryer sheet (dollar store ones work best) and sew all the way around the outline. (yes, all the way.) Trim off the edges to leave a very small 1/16-1/8 extra and clip the curves. Then cut a big slit in the dryer sheet and turn the whole thing inside out. Press and applique. The dryer sheet will pull the seam allowance to the back perfectly.

  • Karen Beigh says:

    I had to chuckle at the shoes hanging from the branch! Whatever gets the job done is your style of applique and I am for that.

  • LoriD says:

    I love the block you made! I’m sure it will be treasured!!
    Your machien applique looks terrific to me!

  • Jeannie says:

    Wonderful applique Anita! I find my hand applique looks nice when I use YLI silk thread. It is so thin that it just disappears and is a dream to use. I love the block you designed. Way to go!

  • tia says:

    Anita, I love your blocks so far! Thank you so much for learning something new, just for me. I am going to try the Laundry sheet method mentioned above for my next block.

  • Blue.Ridge.Girl says:

    I think you machine applique looks great! In January I signed up for an applique class at my LQS thinking it was going to be machine applique (which I really wanted to learn). It turned out to be hand applique. At first I was disappointed. I tried the class and found it to be so hard. It took me a few tries to realize that the instructor taught the class right handed and I am left handed (why it took me so long to realize that I don’t know!) Once I figured that out I have *loved* it! I bought a book from Piece O’ Cake desigins and their tutorials are great! Can’t wait to see how your second block turns out :o)

  • sewpam63 says:

    I am LOVING this, Anita!!! It is FUN and gorgeous, and whimsical-folk-arty kind of NEAT-O!!! Keep it up!!!

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