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Thread: I'm entering unchartered territory

  1. #1
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    I've never appliqued, really. I sorta have, but I used floss around the shapes (that's what the pattern called for) and now, I want to learn how to hand applique without seeing the stitches. I don't know if I'm making any sense.

    Anyway, with fabric on sale at Joann's, I bought some green fabric for stem and leaves (two complimenting shades) and two shades of complimenting pink fabric (for flowers). I hope I don't fail at this miserably. And, if I do, at least I know I didn't pay "quilt shop" prices for the fabric. I think I can find some tutorials online, but if you know of any simple-to-follow tutorials and templates, I welcome your suggestions. The project that I would like to work on is a square to place over my coffee table. Perhaps something that is 36 x 36.

    This is also my opportunity to learn how to hand-quilt. I $uck at this (excuse my language). I'm hoping to join the local quilt guild after we land in Florida this summer. I hope someone there can mentor me; or I can find a local quilt shop that will hold classes on this.

    Anyway, I'm excited and scared at the same time. I welcome your suggestions and tips. For example, why is it important to cut your fabric at a 45-degree angle to the selvage? By doing this, can you really manipulate the fabric to move in a circle or curve?

    Thanks again!

  2. #2
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    Wow!!!!!! Thanks, Loretta!

  3. #3
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    Wish I could give you advice but applique really scares me. Let me know how you do.

  4. #4
    Super Member quiltwoman's Avatar
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    Hi Ethel. Don't get discouraged before you start. My tip/hint is get the right tools. I find longer, thinner needles (like millners) are more flexible and allow smaller stitches. Finer thread (silk) is a beauty to work with and probably the MOST important tool of all, thimbles. I use 2 different sized old brass ones with thimble pads on other fingers. I also prefer a small pair of scissors. There's nothing more frustrating than working so hard only to cut your background.

    Good luck and hang in there. You can do it! :wink: :wink:

  5. #5
    sajackson's Avatar
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    I use the freezer paper and glue method. I trace the pattern on freezer paper then iron it to the back side (now I do the front side - I eliminated the removal step) I cut the fabric 1/4 or slightly larger around the pattern. Iron the "seam" fabric to the back of the piece. Then using a glue stick you can "glue" your seam to the freezer paper.

    Your applique piece is ready to sew down.

    I'd be happy to help you with any questions...I LOVE to help others HUGS

  6. #6
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    GOOD LUCK! I can't wait to see what you make

  7. #7
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    Thank you for all of your suggestions and encouragement. I went to Barnes and Noble, this morning, and found a great book on applique. I didn't buy it, but I read on some of the 'basics.' One of the lessons I read about was how to make 'stems' out of fabric cut on the bias. It doesn't look all that hard to hand-applique, to be honest. It's the machine applique that intimidates me. But, without practice, I'll never be able to master any technique, right?

    I have the freezer paper, my fabric, the washable glue. I'll need to get some bias bars, I think...but I'll only invest in those if I'm really struggling to make a nice, even stem.

    I'll also need to invest in millners needles (I've never heard of those) and some silk thread and thimbles. I think I may have some of the finger pads. I'll have to check. I'm so excited!!! I can't wait to try my hand at this. This will keep me busy, this summer.

  8. #8
    sajackson's Avatar
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    NO NO NO not the bars! there is a little tool I use from clover...I LOVE it!

    http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.j...PRODID=prd2791

    If it comes in the width you want I'd recommend these! I use one for stems and it so much easier than the bars.

    ONE other suggestion I think I cut the strips 3/4" I spray starched them first - let them dry - then iron them so they are stiff. When putting them through the "maker" the stiffer material was easier to work with.

    HUGS

  9. #9
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sajackson
    NO NO NO not the bars! there is a little tool I use from clover...I LOVE it!

    http://www.joann.com/joann/catalog.j...PRODID=prd2791

    If it comes in the width you want I'd recommend these! I use one for stems and it so much easier than the bars.

    ONE other suggestion I think I cut the strips 3/4" I spray starched them first - let them dry - then iron them so they are stiff. When putting them through the "maker" the stiffer material was easier to work with.

    HUGS
    OOohhhh! And, they're on sale!! What width do you cut the fabric? Do you cut it 3 x the finished width? Twice? (say, if I wanted 1/2" wide strips, what width do I cut my strips before running them through the bias-strip maker?

  10. #10
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    I'm piggybacking on this so I can learn also! Thanks for all the good info! :lol:

  11. #11
    sajackson's Avatar
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    I think the one I have is 1/4" width. The material goes into the tool, the tool folds over the "seam" allowance as you pull the tool across your strip of fabric...it's totally easy!

    I believe there are directions but if you want 1/4" I think I cut the strips into 3/4" width. That gives you the two 1/4" seams and the 1/4" bias strip.

    To start it I cut the end on an angle - for me it was easier to slip the material into the tool. Like I said before Spray Starch the strip and let it dry THEN iron it. (letting it dry before ironing will stop the scortch on your iron) Slip the angled end into the tool - gently pull the fabric and let the sides of the curl over the strip of fabric... As you pull it out of the tool run your iron over it. You'll pull the tool over the strip as you run the iron behind the tool on the fabric. Make sure your strip of fabric is laying straight on the ironing board and when pulling the tool across pull it straight! Watch your seam allowances...if one side become less and the other side more...slide your tool BACK up and iron that section straight and try again.

    (I think the bars are much would result in many more burned finger tips )

    ON SALE!!! maybe I need to buy a couple more! HUGS and good luck!

  12. #12
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    I love to applique! I don't use the invisible stitches though. I prefer to show my small stitches around the edges. I dunno..I like the country feel of it. I use fusible pellon for the backing, iron it on, then just make small stitches around the applique.

  13. #13
    sajackson's Avatar
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    Dragon...Do you have raw edges ?? or do you somehow turn them under?

  14. #14
    k3n
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    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
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    I do hand appliqué with freezer paper and baste the fabric onto the paper. If they're really tiny pieces I baste them to the background as well - pins distort too much; I agree about the Clover thingy for bias - I used to use bars but have since got these and they're much better. Also you get a flatter finish because there's no seam on the back.

    K x

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sajackson
    Dragon...Do you have raw edges ?? or do you somehow turn them under?
    I put the applique on the quilt top before I do the back.

  16. #16
    sajackson's Avatar
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    I'm sorry - I meant around the piece you are appliqueing. Or do you do a satin stitch? or Buttonhole stitch?

  17. #17
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Ethel, here is my current applique project. http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/20510.page

    I use steam=a-seam2 to fuse the fabric and then do the embroidery stitch around the piece. This sample is done by hand, but another quilt (wish I had taken a picture) is done all by machine using a blanket stitch.

    @sajackson
    thanks for the tip about starching the strip for use in the bias-puller. I was never able to use it and struggle with the bars.

  18. #18
    sajackson's Avatar
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    oh Martina...What did you struggle with? I need to find mine and do some pictures of the way I made it sing! the starch helps so much ... Let me find mine bias maker and I'll show you...

    PS I saw your heart & hand project...very cute!

  19. #19
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sajackson
    What did you struggle with?
    All I can say is wonky and frayed..... I'll try it again WITH starch.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sajackson
    Dragon...Do you have raw edges ?? or do you somehow turn them under?
    Oh sorry..I didn't read this carefully the first time. lol

    No, no raw edges. I cut the fusible pellon to the pattern. Then I cut out from the fabric making it a little bigger so I can fold the edges over and iron.

  21. #21
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I didn't notice if Sharon Schamber's videos were on the tutorial list. In case they were not:
    http://sharonschambernetwork.com/free_area/free.html

    She has both needle-turn and raw edge on the site.

  22. #22
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    Thank you all for all the wonderful information!!

  23. #23
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    The thinner the bias strips, the easier it is to shape them into curves. A 1/4-inch wide stem can be shaped into tighter curves than a 1/2-inch wide stem.

    I like the Clover tool also for bias strips.

    When you sew down a curving stem, sew the inside part of the stem first. Because it is cut on the bias, the outside will stretch to fit the curve. If you sew the outside curve first, you can end up with little ripples on the inside curve. In other words, you can make a bias strip stretch into position but you can't make it shrink!

  24. #24
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    Love all of these tips!!! I am even more excited to get started on this!

  25. #25
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Oh, and I also starch fabric heavily before cutting into bias strips to pull through the Clover tool.

    Here's my method for starching. I place the fabric on my kitchen island and prepare a 1:2 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water. I use a large painting brush (the kind you use to paint a house wall) to saturate the fabric with the starch solution. I throw the saturated fabric into the dryer and afterwards iron it with steam. This makes it about as stiff as a thin piece of cardboard! Makes the fabric very easy to cut accurately into bias strips and makes it easy to thread fabric through the Clover tool. The folds stay crisp as you work too.

    Sta-Flo can be purchased in just about any store's laundry section (grocery, Walmart, Target).

    Bias strips are easy to pre-shape, especially if you are working on tight curves. You can draw the curving stem shape on a piece of paper, pin the bias strip to the paper right into the ironing board, and use a steam iron to coax and fix the bias strip into the shape you want. This makes it even easier to hand stitch the strip to your foundation fabric.

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