Oh yes I did write that title just to grab you but, sorry, I don't have any real pearls or wisdom at all. I'm hoping I'll acquire some of both a little further down the road, but right now I'm simply going to share with you how I applique. It's easy peasy. Yesterday I made this appliqued and embroidered fabric tag for a friend's baby...
It all begins with a rough sketch. Chicken scratch, really. (I carry little notebooks with me everywhere.)
Then, I draw a template for each shape. I use a thick paper like cardstock to make my templates. I save them all and keep them in an organizer so later on when I need an apple, or I want to make another boat... all I have to do is trace it... which is great because it takes me a while to draw the shape of a thing to my liking. Like the sails on this boat... love 'em.
When you make templates for your shapes, remember to mark on the face of them~ a smiley face, a heart, a name~ anything, just so you'll know how to trace it later on. I've ended up with a shape facing the wrong way a hundred times. The deal is this: Your best friend in applique is Wonder Under paper backed fusible web. I like it best because the result is not too stiff and it works. But you must remember, always always trace your template onto the paper side of the Wonder Under and make sure you are tracing the template face down. That means you should not be able to see those little hearts and smiley faces you made, otherwise your shape will end up backwards. So! Trace it face down. Then cut it from the sheet of Wonder Under (leaving just a small border around the pencil marks. You want to cut into fabric and paper for a really clean edge) and iron it onto the wrong side of your fabric. (When ironing I count to ten real fast a couple of times, lifting the iron between counts so I don't scorch the fabric). When finished, that little piece of fabric will be hot. Wave it in the air and cut out your shape with very sharp scissors.
You'll end up with a paper-backed fabric shape, and next you need to peel off the paper. Don't fiddle with it using your fingers because that can distort the shape and edges. Using a needle, score the paper near the edge of your shape. The paper will tear easily, without disturbing the fabric, then you can put your needle under the paper and lift it off. Arrange all your shapes onto the base fabric and do this on your ironing board so when you get it just right, you can plop the iron on top and set it all in place. Again, iron in 10 second intervals.
It will look so nice and clean, but Wonder Under is not strong enough to hold the applique in place without stitches. So now you'll stitch. Using whatever thread color looks good, I stitch about a millimeter from the edge of the applique. If you stitch too far in, you'll get lots more fray later on. And stitch around the shape however many times you like. I did twice for the sails and once for the boat.
If you want to go the extra step to make your applique look as if the stitching has no beginning and no end, try this. Begin stitching the shape where there is a bit of a straight line. Then, when it is possible, pull your threads to the back of the fabric and hold them aside.
Holding onto those bottom two tails, stitch all the way around the shape, ending exactly where you began. Cut the end threads leaving the tails at least 3" long. You'll end up with the three threads coming through to the underside of your fabric, and one on top. Just tug on the threads until you feel the top thread coming through and use a needle to grab it. Pull the top thread through to the back and tie a knot with all 4 threads.
When you're done stitching, you're done with the applique...
Then you can finish your project. I finished mine, see...
And when you've finished yours, lets jump up and down for joy! Don't worry we won't break the bed, it's in my imaginary studio. whee!
(image from the paris apartment)
P.S. Just in case you were wondering about the durability of my applique here is a pic of Olivia's placemat that has been used daily and washed several times...
and here is a pic of Nicholas' placemat that was made over a year ago and is used daily...
they look a bit sad, but the applique is holding up, wash after wash.
Whew, that was a long post and now I'm so hungry. Meet me in the kitchen for tea and cakes? We'll talk about any tips you might have for better applique, or go ahead and ask if you have any more questions. I'll do my best to answer... xo amy
(image from room-galleries.myhomeideas.com)