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applique frustration

applique frustration

Old 07-04-2012, 11:01 AM
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Default applique frustration

I started what I thought was going to be a quick quilt. I bought a pattern that has alternating blocks of nine patch and appliqued bumble bees. I love that black, white and yelloe together. I tried to applique the parts of the bees and ended up with some fraying around the edges. So on to plan B. I tried to turn under the edges, that did not look so hot either as some pieces are small like the eyes, antennae etc. Try plan C. I made the body and wings using the iron on interfacing. ( right sides together, sew and slit open facing and turn right side out. Ok for the bigger pieces , smaller pieces have too much bulk. Then I tried to machine applique assembled bees onto background. Now the bees are too bulky making the background squares too small to match up with the 9 patch squares. Aughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I have made what looks like confetti out of my black fabric, the white background hs pieces that are too small and the yellow has been put together and taken apart so many times it is looking frayed and dingy. So can anyone help with applique? How can I have edges that don't fray and not have too much bulk ? Thanks for any suggestions you can give me, these silly bees have taken me almost 3 weeks and all I have to show is rejected scraps.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:34 AM
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How about a combination of the techniques? Applique the larger parts and embroider the smaller ones. There's no rule, that says you have to use only one method.

I would use Heat & Bond Lite, for the applique. Draw design onto the H&B paper, cut out, then iron onto fabric. Cut fabric around the shape, leaving 1/4" - 3/8", for turning. Clip curves well. Remove paper and with just the TIP of your iron, gently nudge the fabric edges over, onto the H&B, making as smooth a turn, as possible. Be careful to not go past the fabric, when pressing. After the edges are turned, press shape into place, on block. I like to use a blanket stitch around the edge but use whatever looks/feels best. Just make sure you get the very edge, somewhere in your stitching.

Then you can embroider the eyes, antennae, etc.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:49 AM
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I use steam a seam lt. and fuse the pieces on and then button hole stitch around the appliques. You can embroider the eyes and atennae on with black embroidery floss. I always use steam a seam lt. for all my applique. Good luck.
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Old 07-04-2012, 11:54 AM
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you could do raw-edge applique with paper backed fusable- you draw your peices on the paper- press to the wrong side of the fabrics- cut out- fuse onto the blocks then stitch around the edges.
you do need to cut your blocks (for the appliques) a little larger than they are called for- the trim them to size after the applique is stitched down- regardless of technique you choose- applique- just like embroidery draws up your fabric a little bit- if your blocks are to be 6 1/2" cut them 7 1/2" then after appliques are sewn down trim the blocks to the 6 1/2" size you need (or what ever size they should be)
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Old 07-04-2012, 12:44 PM
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My favorite method for turned-under machine applique is freezer paper applique, which is explained in detail with photos in any of Harriet Hargrave's editions of "Mastering Invisible Machine Applique". Here is a link to the latest edition on Amazon:
This book (or any of its older editions) is well worth the money if you want to learn which applique techniques work for you! This method works well for both large and small pieces of applique.

If you want to use a fusible for applique, my recommendation is Misty Fuse because it does not add stiffness. The same parchment paper I use for cookie baking works great for keeping this fusible off my ironing board and iron. This method works well for small details, with satin stitching to secure the edges.

One thing I do is eliminate the need for stabilizer by heavily starching the background fabric for machine applique. My method for yardage is to mix a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, "paint" this on the yardage using a large wall-painting brush, toss in dryer, then iron with steam. All of this before cutting out the background pieces. (It's a good idea to always cut background pieces an inch larger than necessary, then cut to size after you applique. However, I have not found this necessary when I use the starch background fabric.

Last edited by Prism99; 07-04-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:51 PM
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I watched the demonstrator for Amidon Quiltworks demo her technique for Baltimore Applique designs. She does incrediblely intricate designs with hundreds of tiny pieces. Basic technique is to make a copy on freezer paper (this is the hardest part since it has to be going in the correct direction and I can never remember how to cut it out. Cut around the freezer paper with a 1/4 or slightly less allowance depending on the size of the piece. Carefully dab starch all around on the seam allowance and iron the allowance against the edge of the freezer paper to the back. Go slow and use a small iron or one of those long pointy ones from Joanns. Since it is ironed and starched, you can take out the paper and the seam will stay in place. Then use Roxanne's Baste it (temp glue) to glue the pieces together. lay out and either hand sew or machine sew with invisible thread.

I tried this technique and it works and I love it. She does have a DVD.

I had far more trouble figuring out how to do the freezer paper than I did the fabric. I suggest doing one letter of the alphabet to make sure you are doing it correctly. If you do a B or E, you can tell immediately when you look at the fabric with the design ironed on if it faces the right direction.

Last edited by sweetana3; 07-04-2012 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 07-04-2012, 03:16 PM
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I just did my First applique quilt, i use under Wonder by pellon. Draw it Cut it Out then fuse to fabric. Fussy Cut it then Peel Off THe paper And fuse in Place, i zig zagged around it. Using thin paper as stabalizer
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Old 07-04-2012, 09:02 PM
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First off what type of applique are you doing, turned edge, freezer paper, interfacing, raw edge, fusible web. Some methods are more prone to fraying. Also what type of stitching are you doing around applique, satin, blanket, blind hem. The best thing to do with applique is always make the background block larger than the finished block to allow for the shrinkage because you can always trim to size but you can't make a block bigger. If you want less fraying than you need to do turned edge. There are many methods like freezer paper method, starch template method, fusible interfacing method. With fusible web you are going to get fraying unless you use a satin stitch, any other stitch when washed will have some fraying around the raw edges. I haven't done too much applique, but I agree it can be frustrating especially when learning it and I am still a newbie in it. I still have my best friend wedding present unfinished because I got frustrated but hop to pick it up soon and finish. If you do choose to do the interfacing method test it out first because my finished pieces somehow ran smaller than the actual finished size and I had to scrap all the pieces I made because they were to small. Lost hours of time.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:50 AM
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I am teaching myself Needle Turn Applique and have been searching the internet for blog information and tutorial videos. I read your post earlier today and thought, wow everyone has given her fantastic advice. I came across this video lesson by Sharon Schambers and thought this might really help. It is long, but she covers a section on really small pieces and how she does them...it looks easy and very helpful. So, even though I have not had the opportunity to watch the whole video....I hope that it helps.

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Old 07-05-2012, 03:35 PM
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I've never seen that method before. What is that foundation made of and what happens to it when you leave it in there, say on a larger piece? When it is washed?
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