Monday, July 13, 2009

Applique, stems and leaves

I love the Clover bias maker for stems and starch a piece of fabric before I cut the bias strips. You can also see that I use a wave blade in an old rotary cutter to cut the backgrounds to size to prevent any unravelling while working with the block. The long tweezers are invaluable for placing the applique pieces in position under my vinyl overlay. Here's my pattern on the light table with the background fabric over the top. I like to place my stems by putting small dots of basting glue on the background an then placing the stem over the top. If leaf points have to go under the stems, I'll sew those in first then the stem.
Onto leaves and coping with the outer points. These two leaves have to meet in the middle. When a leaf point needs to meet a stem or be placed pretty precisely like these, I will start close to the bottom of the leaf on the right and get that bottom side and point stitched first that way I know it will be placed just where I want it.
Where the two leaves meet in the middle, I sometimes put a connecting stitch back into the first leaf I sewed, at the point.
In this photo you can see where I started stitching as I have just explained. I like to take two stitches to secure the point before I turn it under. Note where the pin is located, putting it there until those two stitches are in means the point won't float off to the left. Remove it as soon as the point is secured.
There's only so much fabric that can fit under that point and I do try to make it as flat as I can.
I fold the leaf back and trim out as much of the excess as I can. If you click on the photo, you can see it better. I am cutting off a little triangle of fabric at an angle.
I never needle turn this point, there's only so many times you get to do this before you get into trouble with fraying so out comes a dampened toothpick. ( put it in your mouth)
Look at where I hold it, I'm going to grab that seam allowance in the middle and sweep it away and under from the point in one movement, I then finger press it in place with the thumb of my left hand.
The second movement with the toothpick is to push the seam allowance into the leaf but not try to push it up into the point. Like I said, there's only so much fabric that will fit under there.
Don't worry about the rest of the leaf at this point. Give alittle tug on the thread to pull out the point and take a couple of stitches down the side and carry on stitching the leaf. The tooth pick is a great tool for turning under the fabric.
The other alternative to the toothpick that I sometimes use, because I still have them in my hand, is the point of the scissors. Its amazing how much control these will give you.
In these photos, see how much seam allowance I have, it's very small, only 1/8" - 3/16" A seam allowance of 1/4" is too hard in my opinion to turn under without getting into trouble with peaks and bulk.
If you are the sort of person who likes to learn visually, , try this DVD from Piece o' Cake. It is very detailed with close up shots and covers just about everything you'll need to know. There is also a book that accompanies it.
I'll show a little reverse applique and small curves next time we meet. Until then, take care.

33 comments:

Andi said...

Such precision!!
I simply don't have the patience.
Andi :-)

Kaaren said...

Thank you so much, Janet.

Excellent instructions and visuals. Every little bit helps and I know this will.

Martina said...

Thanks for sharing. This is a great help.

Sue said...

Your tutorials are excellent. I am fairly new to applique so this is so wonderful! I do have Piece of Cakes video and have learned quite a bit from them!

I do love Clover's bias stem makers!

Thank you for sharing!

Fiesta said...

Janet excellent tutorial since I am presently working with leaves.
I keep an empty pill bottle by my work table full of water for the toothpick dipping.

Cathi said...

I think you just saved my sanity!! I have held off starting the next applique 'cause I didn't like how my points turned out on the last one. I'm ready to give it a try again thanks to you!!

Stephanie said...

Years ago when I did applique` I was taught the toothpick trick. I had a fantastic teacher with tons of great tricks but alas...I do not like to do applique. Your always have such great tips for those who need help and your work is perfection. You and Carrie at A Passion for Applique are two of the very best applique blogs. :o)

Carol said...

Another fantastic tutorial! Thank you Janet!

ranette said...

Thank you Janet...great pictures and excellent instructions!

Nedra said...

Great tutorial! I have that DVD and it seems a little overwhelming at times. I like how your visuals break things down.

Dolores said...

Do you clip curves at all or is it not necessary because your seam allowance is so small?

Lurline said...

Oh, Janet, I do hope lots of girls are taking in your wonderful tutorials! I'll give another shout soon! Today I thought ' I really want to start an applique piece - maybe a block of Aunt Millie's Garden!
Hugs - Lurline♥

wishes, true and kind said...

Great tutorial! Very clearly written and illustrated. And thanks for the DVD and book recommendation.

Darlene said...

Thank you so much, Janet - wonderful tutorial and tips.

Janet said...

Wonderful tutorial. Can't wait for my Mary Mannakee to arrive!

Juliann said...

I have viewed that video and it is very helpful. I also appreciate your photos posted here. I have wondered about the bias maker in the past. And I love the idea of cutting the block with a wave cutter to keep the fabric from fraying on the edge.

Crispy said...

Another great posting Janet. I too have that video, I like playing it while I'm doing needle turn. I think that we should swamp Clover with e-mails requesting that the develope a 1/8" bias maker, I know I would buy one in a heartbeat.

Crispy

Kate the Quilter said...

Thank you so much. The information and pics has helped me to decide to do applique in the border of my Dresden plate quilt.
I haven't done much applique, but with your helpful instructions I feel I can give it a try!!

Kate

Karen said...

I'm a big fan of the toothpick. Some people find pins all over the house, I find toothpicks. I must try the connecting stitch tip. That's a good one.

Zully said...

Thanks for the excellent tutorial. This is a great help.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Great tutorial!

Janet said...

Thanks for a great lesson on turning points! I need to go give this a try.

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Great detailed information Janet - thank you.

Dixie said...

Thanks so much for your applique tips. I learn something new each time I look at them. They are just wonderful. Your quilt is going to be just beautiful.

Julia said...

Great tutorial!

Those little pointa are so difficult at times. you make it look so much easier and I shalll try it your way..great help!
Julia ♥

Maree said...

Thanks so much for another Great Tutorial...I sometimes have a problem with the points & the Tip with the Toothpick is a Great One...
cheers

Screen Door said...

Thanks for sharing-- I can't wait to try this!

Carrie P. said...

More great tips. You are so helpful to all us that love applique and to those that are learning. I am spreading the word about your blog.

EJ180 said...

Great photos and instructions for us new appliquers. Your so wonderful to share your knowledge. Thank you so much!

Vivian said...

Superb tutorial. You make it look so easy. Hopefully I'll gather the courage to try it. I enjoyed reading about using the toothpick, and so many comments are flattering to toothpicks as well. No one can accuse quilters of not being inventive and resourceful!

Jantine said...

Thanks for your instructions and pictures on both posts. I do them quite the same, but keep having trouble with inner points!!! They do fray, no matter what I do. Will try the fray check again!

Judy said...

I think the trick of grabbing that other leaf with a tiny stitch is one of the best tips! I started doing that a while ago and it always keeps them tight together!

You are reminding me that I really need to start an applique project soon!

moramargaritaster said...

Great Tutorial.Thanks