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.
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!!