Baltimore Album Block of the Month Club
The club will run for 15 months, both being available for download on the 8th of each month.
There are 13 blocks and the border.
Background, 4 yards of a neutral
A) Flowers, berries: dark red, med red, light red, (a mottled batik with all 3 would work great, it give good color variance) 2-1/2 yards total
B) Stems, leaves: dark green, med green, light green (same here) 2-1/2 yards total
C) Accents: dark gold, light gold (same here) 1-1/2 yard total
D) Brown, fat quarter
E) Med blue, fat quarter
F) Med violet, fat quarter
Hand Applique Basics
1 Small scissors (I like baby cuticle scissors or small curved end embroidery scissors.)
2 Light box (optional) for tracing
3 Thread to match fabric, I very often use DMC embroidery floss to appliqué, the color choice is greater, it is 100% cotton, and easier to store.
4 Template plastic, freezer paper, depending on your choice of piecing method. (I use template plastic, it’s more stable and doesn’t distort after tracing.
5 Box flat wooden toothpicks
6 Applique needles, I use 12 sharps
7 Wonder wash away ¼” double sided tape
8 Spray starch
9 Marking tools, I use a fine pencil, and a fine line water erase pen
10 Applique pressing sheet, if you are going to fuse the appliqué
11 Double sided fusible sheets
Instructions for Hand appliqué: Read through before beginning, there are a lot of tips I included.
1 Trace each motif the actual size of the finished motif. The seam allowance will be added when the motif is cut from fabric.
2 Place the template on the right side of the fabric.
3 Trace around the template, leaving a thin line. (you don’t want it to show)
4 Cut out the motif 1/8” beyond the pencil line.
5 Tip: try to place the templates with the grain of the fabric; there will be less fraying than if on the bias.
6 Tip: I do not cut out a motif until I am ready to sew it, that way pieces do not get lost or fray.
Preparing Background Fabric
1 Cut the background fabric generously larger than the finished size. Applique distorts the square slightly, we will square it up after it is finished.
2 Tip: For the center square I cut a 20” square, which will finish up to 17”.
3 Fold the background square in half, twice, to determine the center. Do the same with the master pattern.
4 Layer the master pattern and background fabric together, lining up the fold line and center point.
5 Lightly trace the design with the fine line wash away pen to create a placement guide.
6 Tip: If you do not have a light box, tape the master pattern to the window and the fabric over it. Then you will be able to see the lines. I use duct tape to hold the pattern securely. Good old duck tape!
1 Position the appliqué motif onto the background over the marked position.
2 Tip: Remember to start with the pieces that are furthest back, those items which are tucked behind something. For instance, the leaves are behind the stems, the flower bud is behind the calyx, mimic the way the plant grows.
3 Hold the background fabric in your non-sewing hand; use the side of the needle to turn under the 1/8” seam allowance to the drawn line.
4 Tip: Never use the point of the needle, it will fray the fabric and then you are out of luck, it’s almost impossible to fix a frayed edge. Instead, use a flat wooden toothpick to help guide the fabric under. The toothpick has enough tension to grab the fabric without fraying it
5 Tip: Use a sweeping motion, and ease the fabric into place, trying not to have any tucks.
6 Hold the turned under edge securely between your left hand thumb and a corresponding finger underneath. Finger press it necessary to get a smooth edge.
7 Guide the needle through the background fabric from underneath, catching the very edge of the appliqué motif.
8 The needle is now on the top of the fabric, take a small stitch directly behind where you came up, under the motif and bring the needle back to the top, traveling approximately 1/16” while under the fabric.
9 Pull the thread through the fabric and give it a little tug, this will set the stitch and help turn under the edge securely.
Outside Points: As on a leaf, should be sharp. This can be accomplished by how you turn the corner.
1 Stitch all the way to the point, stopping just before. I take an additional very tiny securing stitch, coming up at the very tip of the point.
2 Turn the background square so the other side of the leaf is now facing you, and with the side of the needle, tuck under the seam allowance, actually bringing the needle to the previously sewn edge. This will give a flat, sharp point
3 Now take a very tiny stitch to secure the tip, and continue down the side.
Inside Points: This can also apply to curves as in the flowers of our design.
1 Using the small embroidery scissors, clip through the seam allowance to within 2 threads of the drawn line.
2 Tip: Do not cut to the line, as it is harder to turn under and may fray. I find that if I clip to just before the line, I get a clean turn.
3 Stitch to one stitch before the point, turn under the seam allowance using our toothpick trick, starting about ¼” up the other side.
4 Tip: I again take an extra very tiny securing tip at the exact point, and then continue up the other side.
1 Trace the design onto the paper side of the fusible web. The finished appliqué motif will be a mirror image of what you are tracing.
2 Tip: Number and letters must be traced in reverse.
3 Cut loosely around the traced designs using paper scissors. 4 Do not cut exactly on the lines drawn at this point.
5 Fuse each piece to the WRONG side of the fabric. The paper side should be up and the web side against the fabric.
6 Tip: If you use the double sided fusible, it makes it easier, there is a sticky feel to the web which helps. Read the package and follow the directions.
7 Fuse the pieces to the fabric
8 Cut out the motifs along the drawn line.
9 Tip: If you use the appliqué ironing sheet, you can place it directly over the pattern and not have to trace it to the background fabric, saving a step. Now just lay the pieces on the fabric, arranging them where they belong.
10 Fuse the pieces in place and you are ready to decide how to sew.
11 Use a blanket stitch, a small zigzag, or a straight stitch close to the edge.
12 Thread choice: use matching, black, or invisible thread.
Center Medallion, Block One
1 Cut the background fabric, 20” square and follow the above directions as to tracing.
2 Do the leaves first
3 Stems are next
4 Flower centers are easier to appliqué before appliqué the flower to the background, less fabric to sew through.
5 I use the hole reinforcement circles to help keep my circles even. If you do not have them, use a self sticking address label, trace the circle on it and use that, it works just a well.
6 Place the circle on the wrong side of the fabric, clip to just before the circle, not to it, as again it will be hard not to fray.
7 Be sure to cut out the motif seam allowance very shallow, 1/16” if best, because circles are harder to turn.
8 Bring the needle up from behind as before, catching the very edge, and taking very tiny stitch, and using the toothpick, tuck the edge under, usually ¼” at a time.
9 I don’t worry about removing the paper circle, it doesn’t impact the feel of the fabric and when washed will eventually dissolve.
10 I use the wonder ¼” double sided tape to secure the motifs to the background. This way there are no pins to get hung up on and the tape washes out.
11 Cut a piece of the tape according to the motif size, I usually try to stay about ½”, place it on the wrong side of the fabric toward the center of the motif. You don’t want to have to needle through it; it is very sticky and holds up the thread. It will hold the motif very securely.
12 Stems, you can either use the appliqué pattern pieces, or as I prefer, I use bias strips.
13 Berries sew as the flower centers. Try stuffing them with a small piece of batting, it gives the piece dimension.
14 Urn: Sew the band to the urn first, and then the urn to the background.
15 Block will be trimmed up to 17-½”.
Making bias strips:
1 Cut 1” strips from your leaf fabric, I used the darkest of the green.
2 There are 2 widths of stems, follow the pattern.
3 To make the smaller width, I folded the strip in half, pressed, and when I appliquéd it to the background, I simply tucked in the seam allowance to meet the pattern line.
4 To make the wider strip, I used a ¼ bias tape maker and pressed the fabric.
5 Tip: I make a bunch at one time, and then roll it around a paper towel tube, securing it with pins, this way I always have it and it doesn’t unfold.
6 Tip: When sewing bias stems sew the shortest inner curve first and then sew the outside curve. It will lay flatter and look better.
Notes: I do not cut away the background fabric from behind the appliqué. It weakens the quilt. If machine quilting, the extra thickness is not usually a problem. If hand quilting, more care will be needed to keep you stitches even, usually using the stab method.
I hope you enjoy the process, and please feel free to email me with any questions, or PM me on the board and send a photo of what you are doing.
Peg Distasi Quilt Designer
Silver Spruce Quilt Gallery
Center Medallion Square, 1st block
Pattern for download, tape the pattern together where indicated.
scan of my block so far