Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A glimpse of applique...

Every time I post pictures of my latest applique block or project, people ask me what method I use to stitch them.  I completely understand the impulse; I'm always curious as well.  Perhaps there's a new technique out there I haven't tried that will be faster and more accurate.  In the search for that elusive method, I've tried all of them - or at least all of those I've heard about - and the Back-Basting Hand Applique method is my preferred one.  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can go here and here to see some of the blocks I've stitched.)

In an effort to assuage your curiosity, I took a few pictures of the steps.  This is not a tutorial, but just a glimpse into how it's done.  If you're interested in learning more, let me know and I could put together a tutorial, or you can always do a search on the internet.

Note: To do this kind of applique, I use two different types of thread and needles.  I use a regular needle and sewing thread (50 wt.) to do the basting.  I use the tiny needle (John James Size 11 Between) and YLI Silk Thread (100 wt) to do the needleturn.  You can see the difference here in sizes.  I also double up the sewing thread so it's even thicker when basting...

2 Types of Needles and Thread
The first step is to trace the reverse of your pattern on the back side of your fabric.  Here's the Baltimore Halloween block traced out before I started any stitching...

The outline of my block traced on the wrong side of the fabric
For Back-Basting Applique, you baste each of your pieces in place first.  The idea is that your basting stitches will act to mark your fabric.  When you remove the stitches, your fabric naturally wants to turn under where the stitches were.  It's sort of like folding a piece of perforated paper.  It's just naturally wants to fold along the perforation. 

The fabric I'm using for the leaf is pinned to the front of my block and I make sure it covers all around the piece I'm appliqueing.  You can just barely see the shadow of the green fabric I'm using around the outside edges of the leaf. 

Fabric pinned in place and ready for basting
Then I baste directly on the drawn line using my double thickness of thread.  The end of this leaf is under another leaf, so I just extend my basting stitches there...

First leaf basted in place
Here's what it looks like from the right side of my block...

Leaf basted in place from the right side
I then cut around the piece leaving my seam allowance.  I also clip into the curves where necessary...

Basted, cut and clipped leaf - ready to applique
Starting from one end, I begin removing a few of the basting stitches and turning under the seam allowance.  It turns under very easily at this point because it's been 'trained' by the basting thread.

Starting to needleturn...
I continue to make my way around the leaf, removing a few basting stitches and sewing down the edge...



Until I finally reach the end...


You'll notice that the very end of the leaf isn't turned under.  That's because it falls underneath another piece and won't be visible when this block is done.  Here's a picture of the back of the leaf.  You can see how closely I was able to follow the drawn line...

Backside of the leaf
That's why I like this method so much.  It does take longer than traditional needleturn, but it's also a lot more accurate for me.

Hopefully this gave you enough of a glimpse to see if you'd ever be interested in trying it.  As in most things, there's more than one way to applique and I know for some, this won't be it.  But for others, who knows...

For a little comedic relief, check out these pictures of David.  I'd swear that belly is growing day by day.


Until later...

Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. 
Psalm 25:5 (NLT)


3 comments:

  1. I did not know this method, so looked it up on the internet and found a great tutorial!

    David is beautiful and a typical cat!

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  2. Well aren't you smart! I never would have thought of that technique. I am glad you showed it! I will have to try it.
    Thanks!
    Carolyn

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