Last week I decided that I was going to be a bit more consistent and have regular days for regular topics. I decided that Thursday was going to be the day for all things embroidery and needlework. So this post was originally intended for Thursday...2 days ago. I'm off to a great start aren't? Just so you know in the future...Thursday will be the regular day for you to check in if you are after embroidery info. It will be the day that The Girls Own Stitching club patterns will be shared too.
So let's begin. Today we'll be talking about applique. Since a lot of my patterns involve applique, I thought that I would give a tutorial on how to applique and show you it's really not that scary.
There are several different techniques when you applique. In the past I've shown how to applique using a product called vliesofix, so today I'll be demonstrating how to needleturn applique- with glue basting to be even more specific. Needleturn applique is a hand sewing technique in which the needle is used as a tool to turn the seam allowance under the applique piece before stitching the piece to the background fabric- hence where the technique gets its name from. For today's tutorial I'll be showing you how to applique a hexi.
Step 1: Trace the design using a fine point permanent marker onto the paper side of the freezer paper (that's the dull side). A good idea is to write on each piece what they are, or number them. This way when it's comes to assembling the pieces you won't get confused.
Step 2: Trace all the design pieces/or template pattern onto the freezer paper.
Step 3: Cut out freezer paper template along the line, using the paper scissors. I also have a snap-lock plastic bag handy, and store all the pieces for the block in the plastic bag. I then write on the plastic bag the block design they are for.
You now need to iron the freezer paper templates onto your chosen fabric for each design (not your background fabric).
Step 4: Working on the right side of the fabric. Place the freezer paper template waxed (shiny) side down onto the right side of the fabric. If the fabric design is important to your overall finished look to your block, please take the extra time to position the freezer paper template accordingly.
Step 5: Press templates into place using a warm, dry iron.
Step 6: Draw around the freezer paper template using the fine tip permanent marker.
Step 7: Cut out applique piece using the fabric scissors. Leave a seam allowance of about 1/4" to 1/8". Do this for all of your pieces.
Step 8: Lay out your applique pieces for your design. Work out where each piece needs to go. Place a few small dots of the basting glue onto the back of the template. Keep the freezer paper still on the piece at this stage. The glue should be placed in the centre and not near the edges as you will need to be able to fold under the seam allowance. You are using the glue to baste your applique piece into place. If you didn't want to use glue, you could sew a few basting stitches and also pin it into place.
Step 9: Place your piece into position and remove the freezer paper.
Step 10: Thread a needle and holding the fabric between your thumb and forefinger and using your needle as a tool, fold under the seam allowance. Make sure you fold under the entire seam allowance so you can't see the black seam allowance line. You can do this as you slip stitch, or you can do sections at a time.
You will now need to attach the applique piece to your background fabric using slip stitch.
Need a little refresher on how to slipstitch? Slip stitch is a stitch used when you want to "hide" your stitches. It's an excellent stitch for finishing and sewing "invisible" stitches as the thread is hidden inside the fold.
It was a little difficult to show you exactly how to slip stitch as I needed to stitch and take the photos at the same time. I'm using my left hand, but I've assembled a few photos so you can see exactly how to slip stitch.
- Bring your needle from the background fabric to the front, catching a few thread of the applique piece at the fold. Then go right back down into the fold of the applique piece.
- Slide your needle about 1/4" along the "tunnel" created by the fold, so the thread is hidden.
- Pull your needle out of the top of the folded edge.
- Insert the needle again directly across from where you just came up out of the fabric. Pick up a few threads from the background fabric, then go right back down into the fold of the hem to make the next stitch.
- Slip the needle through the fold of the applique piece again another 1/4" or so and come up. Repeat this the length of the opening.
What happens when you come to a corner? Say on a hexi, or the inside of a heart where the 2 curves meet?
When you applique and you come to a corner, there is a special method used to get a nice, clean, sharp corner.
- Using your sharp scissors, clip the corner, just through the black seam allowance line.
- Continue to applique slip stitch to within 1/8" to 1/4" of the corner. Take your last stitch into the background only.
- Needleturn under the other side of the corner. There will now be an overhang of fabric at the point of the corner.
- Trim the overhanging fabric at the point.
- Turn the point under to where the last stitch was taken, grab the point with the needle and finish the stitch.
- Grab the point with the needle and finish the stitch. Take one whole stitch on the point.
- Continue stitching along the other side.
To finish your applique piece, slip stitch right to the end, take one whole stitch through to the back of the background fabric. Sew a few stitches into the back to secure your thread and then snip your thread.
Almost there....but not quite. You need to press yor applique piece and there is a certain way you need to do it. Place you block face down, onto a padded ironing board (put a towel underneath if you need to). Use a hot iron on the back of your block. Turn over and admire your finished block.
I'll be looking out for all of your applique sewing now. It's really not that hard. If you have any tips or handy hints on how to needleturn applique that you would like to share, you are welcome to leave them in the comment section.
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