Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Needleturn Applique Part 2 - The Preparation

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement that you wanted to see how I did needleturn applique. I must say that I am certainly no expert at this at all, however I am very passionate about applique (and all things quilting for that matter!!!), so it's just fun to talk about it!! The wonderful Janet at Quiltsalott has been showcasing her needleturn method, check her out she makes incredible applique. That is the thing I love about 'hanging out' with other quilters, we can all learn so much from each other.

My current project - Kim McLean's Flower Pots Quilt

Ok, so to the preparation of my applique. The first thing I start with is tracing the applique shapes onto both the freezer paper and the background fabric.

As I said previously you will need a light box (or window, or open door of oven with a light underneath and glad wrap over the door to cover the baked in grease....think creatively if you don't actually own a lightbox!!!), to trace onto the fabric.

Once you have traced your shapes onto the freezer paper (matt side of paper, not the shiny side) cut them out. I also find if I have a lot of similar shapes that numbering them can help at this stage.

The next step can take some time....choosing the fabrics for each piece of applique!! Once you have chosen the fabric, iron the freezer paper shapes (shiny side down) onto the right side (or top) of the fabric.

Then cut around the fabric shapes leaving around 1/8 inch of fabric around the freezer paper edge. I usually do just over 1/8 inch and I don't measure it, just guesstimate it!!

With a white pencil trace around the edges of the freezer paper, onto the fabric. If you are using a very light fabric, use a lead pencil. Once you have drawn around all the edges, pull the freezer paper off. If you are doing multiple shapes that are the same, ie circles, you can use the freezer paper shape a few times, it will re-iron onto the next fabric.

This next step is probably the MOST IMPORTANT step of all....the finger pressing!!

I finger press along the drawn line of each applique shape. Cotton fabric has a memory, which means that once you have put a crease on the edge of your applique shape, when you come to turn the edge under with your needle it will fall very easily into place for you. It will also make the applique pieces sit beautifully and flatly on your background fabric. It may seem a little tedious to press around the edges of each shape with your fingers, but I found it made a huge difference for me when I began to use this method.

You can see in the pic above how the fabric edge will naturally want to turn under where it has been finger pressed.

Next and last step in the preparation of your applique piece is to pin it to your background fabric, ready to stitch. I line up my shape with the traced shape and pin it into position. These tiny pins are great to work with (although very easy to lose down the back of the lounge!!!), and don't tend to snag your thread very often at all.

All pinned down and ready to go! Needleturn applique does take some time to prepare before you even get to the stitching stage, so I don't like to think of all the work ahead. Instead I imagine I'm on an applique journey, and each stage of the journey is an enjoyable one. I think my favourite part of the journey is cutting out the fabric shapes because this is when you really start to play with the colours that will make up your finished piece. There is nothing better than knowing you have a spare 1/2 hour or so, to sit down with a steaming cuppa by your side, and work on part of your applique journey...you may be suprised at how much you get done.

As for me, I won't be getting any applique done this Thursday because I'm off to the Melbourne quilt and craft fair, yay!!

24 comments:

The Rabbit Factory said...

Enjoy your trip to Melbourne quilt and craft fair...you deserve it! What lovely tutorials you have presented on your blog...thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...

I love how everyone is sharing their methods of applique. What works for one does not work for another. Needle turn was my method of choice, when I did applique. LOVE your fabrics.

Christine said...

Ok I have got me thinking, I do mine very similar and will try and put a post on my blog too, love all this sharing everyone can learn something.

cheers
Christine

jaybird said...

one question-- do you take the paper out before you pin it in place?

Janet said...

I love all this applique passion going around at the moment. I love to learn everything I can about it so I can adapt where necessary and incorporate different methods for different situations. Thanks Cathy.

Carrie P. said...

Thanks for sharing your techniques. I am here via Janet who is also a fabulous appliquer same as you.
Love your work.

Nedra said...

You make the applique look easy. I kept thinking...I could do that! (maybe)
Have fun at the fair.

Janet said...

Your step by step photos are very easy to follow. Thanks for the hints. Although I done quite of lot of applique using various techniques, it is always good to see it from a fresh perspective. Back from moving day, Janet.

SewCalGal said...

Excellent tutorial. Thank you.

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

imquilternity said...

I'm so impressed! Such lovely work with great fabrics and the patience you must have!

jean said...

Cathy

I can't wait to get started you make it sound so easy. I am going to try the finger pressing idea, sounds great.
I too enjoy hanging out with other bloggers. Enjoy your Thursday at the Stitches show. I am sure we will all look forward to seeing your 'booty' :-)

wishes, true and kind said...

I like your prep work philosophy. I can get really impatient to get on with things at time -- like cooking, applique, etc. -- but I do better when I tell myself to enjoy each little step. Then, instead of just doing something to get on to the next part (e.g., chopping vegetables before making a dish), I relax and enjoy the moment (e.g., the colors, textures, ritual). Anyway -- your applique turns out beautifully!

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

Once again...great tutorial, you make it sound simple...LOL...have fun at the Fair..

Rafael's Mum said...

Hope you have a great time at the Fair! I am really happy to learn how to do this! it looks fabulous! Looking forward to seeing the next one!

YankeeQuilter said...

I like the finger pressing idea...just goes to show you can always learn something!

Karen said...

Wonderful tutorial. I'm with you about finger pressing. It sure makes needle-turn easier.

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
comfortstitching said...

Thank you for the how to! I have never tried needleturn applique but I love the way it looks. You're right to not think about the work ahead and just to enjoy the creative moment.......I wish I wasn't so impatient!!!!

Kelly said...

Your timing is perfect! I am planning on doing a little applique on one of the quilts I'm working on at the moment!

paulette said...

Thanks for the lesson! I had no idea about the finger pressing-must try it!!! I have been using an iron and getting burnt fingers!! Have fun at the quilting fair-lucky you!
Paulette

Bunny said...

Great lesson and I do love that applique project you are working on it is beautiful.

Piwacket said...

Thank you for the great lesson! Clover has come out with a new product called The Fabric Folding Pen. It works beautifully for applique pieces and has no residue.

I've done fusible applique but now I feel ready to try your technique. Thanks again!

free indeed said...

WEll, that finger pressing step is a new one to me! This is going to improve my attempts at applique I'm sure! I've been wanting to prep a hand project to work on when I don't want to seal myself up in the sewing room; I want to be with the rest of the family. I'm glad I stumbled across this wonderful tute!

ranette said...

Oh wow...I've been really busy and hadn't checked my favorite blogs lately and I almost missed this part of your wonderful demonstration on applique. Thank goodness I checked on you from work today. I can't wait to have some time to myself to try your methods. Thank you so much for the terrific pictures.