Sunday, May 16, 2010

Easy Applique Techniques to Jaze up Projects

This past month I have been making the bedding for my soon-to-be-born grandson's crib. I went shopping with my daughter and she couldn't find something that was what she had in mind, (elephants), so I told her I would make it for her if she would just pick the colors she wanted. She was thrilled and said she and her new baby would cherish it even more because it was made by grandma. I decided the easiest way to create the look I had in mind would be to use applique.
A few months ago a friend of mine showed me the quilt top she was working on for her new grand-daughter. The colors and design was darling, but unfortunately, she obviously didn't have the basics of applique in her repertoire, causing her quilt to fall short of its darling potential. That inspired me for this month's Mid-Month-Make-something Madness: applique.
I'm not going to give you the instructions on how to make the bumper pads and quilt, etc, but just simple instructions on how to do applique

First thing you do is pick a pattern, trace it on your fabric and cut it out using a good, sharp pair of scissors.

Next is to spray the backside of the fabric with a light coat of spray glue. I usually place the cut out in my garbage can (it's my sewing room garbage can, so it's just full of paper and fabric, not anything rotten). I do this so the sides of the lined can hold the excess spray from the glue.

Next, your apply your glued cutout on the desired spot on your fabric background.

Apply a light coat of spray glue on a scrap piece of fabric and apply it on the back side of the fabric background, opposite the position of your cut out. This serves to reinforce the fabric and ovoid puckering when zig-zagging the cut out in place.

Set your sewing machine's stitch length on about a 1 (small stitch, not quite as tight as a button hole stitch), and set your zig zag on about a 4 (not quite the widest). Stitch using a matching thread to your cutout, as it hides mistakes easier and I think gives a neater, finished look.

Needle placement is essential in good applique. You must have the outside width of the zig zag leave the needle poking down through the fabric at the exact edge of your cutout. This needs to be consistent for a well-finished look. When going around curves you need to move the fabric through the feed dogs like a marching band turning a corner, moving the outside of the curve faster than the inside to make a consist turn 
 of the stitching.
After you have zig zagged around the entire circumference of your cut out, your applique is done. Press it well with a steam iron and you are ready to incorporate it in your project.