Applique is my friend {mostly}

I have always really enjoyed applique. I love the process of piecing, but I also love being able to sit and quietly sew – and applique is the thing I love doing in those quiet moments.

I don’t have the first of my big applique quilts, a Blackbird Designs one by the name of Tulip Farm, that I did at the (now closed) local patchwork shop when I lived in Wodonga. I may redo this one at some point, I really loved it. But that beginning in large scale applique quilts was enough, and also sparked a love of Blackbird Designs quilts (I have a number of the books, and am trying to work my way through them in addition to my own applique designs).

The way that I do applique was the way that I was taught at that time, although there were a couple of different approaches which we were looking at way back then. One of the more recent “finishes” (it isn’t finished, I don’t know how I want to finish it) is my Mosaic Flower Garden quilt which I did in a class just after I moved to Canberra (the first time) – you can see some of the progress I blogged about it here. Looking back it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually shown the (almost) finished quilt… well here it is…

FlowergardenOne day, when I have decided if the applique borders will go on or not, or if it will be finished off with a border fabric, I will blog about it more. It was an interesting quilt to make, and one which I have seen a number of times and they all look different.

When I applique (like in this quilt above), I use freezer paper to create the templates, iron them onto the right side of the fabric, and then trace around them with a permanent fine-tipped marker (one of the ones from scrap-booking places is best, something with a bit of glitter in it to make it easier to see is even better).

Mosaic Flower Garden Block 8I prefer this method, but as I am a journey to try out different things, I have been working a different way with my latest epic adventure.

LiftingThis time around (see above), I am using the freezer paper as a template, and then gluing down the edges to just sew around (making sure that you do it in the right order). When I am done, I cut the back of the applique and lift out the freezer paper (see below).

BackThis approach is annoying me in three main ways:

  1. The seam allowances are lifting, with the glue not holding. Keeping in mind that this is the same glue I am using for the hexagons, and I am not really having the same issues with that. This wouldn’t be an issue, but the size of the blocks mean that they are being handled quite a bit, and I need them to stay put.
  2. It makes the block hard to manipulate and move about, the stiffness of the paper means that it doesn’t bend terribly well.
  3. I don’t like the messiness of the back once the papers have been cut out and lifted. Yes, I like the back of my work to be neat and tidy as well.

It should also be noted that over the past few years I have switched to silk thread for my applique. I just really like the way that it sinks into the background, perhaps I will try out different options in the future – but I do like what I have been doing. And also because I generally use similar colours with what I am doing, I have the ones I need (although I have recently had to search out orange).

SilkSo that is where I am up to. Applique is my friend for the most part – and I am almost finished the first of the nine blocks in the Blackbird Designs, When the Cold Wind Blows quilt (which I have titled Winter is Coming).



3 thoughts on “Applique is my friend {mostly}

  1. So interesting how everyone has a different approach, and what one dislikes can work so well for another stitcher, lol. I have tried everything from fusible, to back-basting, to needle turn, to freezer paper! My current love is wash away fusible and Sewline glue pen with the Apliquick tools. Some would find it too fiddly but I find it much easier and more precise than other methods I’ve tried. Whatever keeps us stitching, it’s all good!

    • I have seen the wash away fusible, but never really needed to try it badly enough to buy it (if that makes sense). I also find that the size of needle I use makes a bit of a difference as well. I am using John James 12 needles just now and am liking the finish I am getting.

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