Sunday, July 19, 2009

How do you do it? Part 1 - The Tools

This will be the first of a 3 part post on how I do my needleturn applique. There are quite a few ways you can accomplish needleturn applique, the way I show it here is the way I found to be the easiest for me. My main inspiration was an applique book that I picked up from the Piece O' Cake girls called The New Applique Sampler, however it looks as though they have newer resources you can use now.

The first step then, is to assemble your tools. Apart from your pattern, fabric background, and fabrics for the applique, you will also need:

Applique Thread
I love to use Rasant thread. I use it for all my hand applique as well as anything I do on my sewing machine, both piecing and quilting. I have tried other threads in the past but find that nothing matches up to this one. It comes in 1000m rolls which go a very long way. Rasant is a poly cotton mix and doesn't tangle as easily as other threads can when on the needle. I buy it from here and here.

It is so handy to have a lot of bobbins filled with as many colours as you like, these can sit next to you as you stitch and you can easily match your threads to the fabric you are about to sew. I attempt to use the exact thread colour to the fabric I am using. If the fabric is a multicolour then I find the light tan colour is a good one.

Applique Needles, 3/4 inch Pins and Thimble

These Piecemakers applique needles are beautiful to use, very fine and small (size 12) for all those tiny applique stitches you need to make. I buy them from Tennesee Quilts shop in America.

I use these 3/4 inch pins to hold my applique onto the background fabric (instead of tacking it on). I sit my magnetic pin holder next to me to place pins onto quickly as I am stitching around my applique shape.

A thimble is a must have for your middle finger to push the needle into the applique. Make sure you get the right size thimble for your finger, nothing worse than having it fall off every time you move it, or red rings around your finger from wearing it too tight!

Sharp Scissors, Pencils, Freezer Paper and Rubbish Thingy!
Sharp scissors are a very important tool in your applique, they are used for cutting around the fabric shapes, the smaller scissors for cutting into the curves of your applique and for cutting your threads. You will also need some paper scissors for cutting around the freezer paper shapes (never use the good sewing scissors on paper!!!).

White washaway pencils (and a lead pencil for the very light fabrics) are needed to trace around the applique shape before attaching it to your background. Try not to drop them on the floor as this breaks the leads (something I do a lot!!!). An enclosed pencil sharpener is handy to have nearby as you do go through a lot of lead.

Freezer paper is what I use to cut out the applique templates, I will show how it is used in the next post.

I have my Rubbish Thingy sitting beside me at all times for all the tiny thread ends, clipped fabric bits and used freezer paper shapes (see this post if you want to make one).

Light Box
The last tool you will need is a light box for tracing your applique pattern onto your background fabric. This is where I do it a little differently from the Piece O' Cake girls. They use a vinyl overlay (which would be more accurate), however I find tracing the outline onto the fabric then placing the applique pieces over that outline seems to work for me.

Next post...The Preparation!

20 comments:

Christine said...

Love your post, just thougth I should let you know that Rasant is not a poly mix but a poly core wrapped in cotton and my favourite thread as well.
The Piece'O Cake books are fantastic, hope you are having a great weekend.

cheers
Christine

Rashida Khanbhai said...

Thanks for sharing. Its nice to see some local Australian blogs

Nedra said...

It's fun to watch you work.

wishes, true and kind said...

I might have to check out the Rasant thread. I love all the colors! I have always used silk thread in only two colors (light tan for light fabrics and a darker tan for darker fabrics). A little boring, but blends in well, especially since the silk is so fine. But I like trying new ways, and your applique looks flawless.

Janet said...

I'm glad you're doing this Cathy, I'm always curious to know how others tackle applique and yours is wonderful so I'm sure to pick up some tips.

Clevelandgirlie said...

What a GREAT little post here. Super fun to look at and I can't wait until the next one. Your pieces there look deliciously colorful - and your neat and tidy thread box - yummm!
Cathie

Jackie said...

Love to see what tools help others. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing the next installment.

Stephanie said...

I just love all the photos of your supplies and prep work. Can't wait to see the next post. When I did applique I used the vinyl overlay and the only applique project I ever did was by Piece O Cake. Their applique projects are gorgeous.

alobsiger said...

Look at those beautiful applique shapes all ready to go! What a great post, Cathy! Have you ever tried scissors with a serrated blade to cut out applique shapes? I have some small Clover scissors with serrated blades that seem to grip the fabric really nicely when cutting out shapes. The New Applique Sampler Book is such a wonderful resource -- covers all the angles, so to speak.

ranette said...

I think Australia must be full of wonderful appliquer's (is that a word..hmmm) with you and Janet among others.
I'm going to have to check out the Rasant thread, I've never heard of it.
Thank you for taking the time to do these posts. I appreciate it as I'm here to gleen all of the knowledge that I can from the experts :o)

Rafael's Mum said...

I am so excited about this Cathy! You are obviously very good at it and I am just starting out, so I am dying to see the next posts! I can get everything ready and take it on hols in August when I do not have my machine with me! Yay! Thank you !!

Pam said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I have been wanting to learn this technique but my one friend who does it is getting ready to move so this is wonderful timing for me. I am posting about your "lessons" on my blog today! :)

jean said...

Cathy

Thanks so much for doing this, I love your organisation. Can't wait for the next post I will have my tools ready :-)

Ondrea said...

Hi Cathy ,thanks for putting up the needleturn tutorial. I have done some needleturn but tend to get a bit lazy and often use blanket stitch instead. I think you may inspire me. I looove your butterflies by the way. So colourful.

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

I have had a go at needle turn, ....not much success...I am very interested in the freezer paper method....thanks so much this will be just so good...

Karen said...

Great post Cathy! Rasant thread is new to me. It looks nice. Interesting that you use a thimble or that I don't! LOL. My favourite needle to applique with is Jeana Kimball's Straw Needles.

jaybird said...

i've been thinking about diving into needle turn appliqué so this came at the perfect time!!

Dawn said...

Thanks for the information, I love seeing the tools that others use! I love your blog :)

Carrie P. said...

Thanks for sharing. Your rubbish holder is a great idea. Great way to recycle. I use the lid off my spray starch for threads and papers.

62cherry said...

cathy

this is awesome! cheers
http://mixtapezineblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/craft-action.html