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Tuesday, January 09, 2018

My Applique Routine



Hello there! With the kick off of the Gnome for the Holidays block of the month, I have gotten a lot of questions about how I put something like this together. This is by no means intended to be a lesson or how to. Just sharing the method behind the madness here!

Oh before I begin to babble, this is the 2018 BoM from FatCat Patterns. You can find the downloads here
http://www.fatcatpatterns.com/bom2.html
Blocks are free for the month they are posted.
You can follow along with the Facebook group and chat about your progress.
I do not send out personal emails, or download updates. You will have to visit the site yourself once a month.





I start off just like you, having to print out the pattern pages. Which I quickly separate by block. Each blocks pages get folded in half making a neat little packet. Then I begin tracing the patches onto my Heat Bond Lite. This is normally done on a TV tray in the evenings. As I trace I make any needed notations on the patches. Trim them to size, then slide them between the pages of their block.
The packets as I call them, are then stacked up in an empty box or basket to keep everything safe from pets. Or me tripping over them. Traced templates are not safe until they are securely ironed to their fabrics, lol. If the pattern has a LOT of patches per block I use gallon zip bags to store the pages and traced patches in.

Here in the apartment, I have this lovely island for the next bit. Although for years I have made do with using my ironing board for this. Each packet gets the fabrics that will be used stuffed into it :) I tend to pull from my stash and use scraps for almost everything. Once the fabrics are all chosen, everything gets stacked back into the box. Another evening with the TV tray and the ironing mat will have all the patches fused to their fabrics. Scraps and odds and ends are put into another zip baggy in case I lose a patch and have to make another. Sometimes I find I just plain forgot to trace something!
 Now the hard part for me. Cutting all the patches out! I like to use Ginger 8" Featherweight Shears. They are the best I have found for my arthritis. Still, I end up taking many breaks and a few Aleve.
The part I enjoy the most is assembling the patches onto the base blocks. I pre-assemble as many patches as possible using a Teflon baking sheet. Especially the little stuff! So why the pressing sheet? Well, if you make a mistake it is easy to fix. Just let it cool then peel it back apart. Want to make sure you overlapped the edges enough? Flip it over and look. I am a huge fan of Teflon sheets. You can buy these at the local quilt shop, Joann's and even most grocery stores. Mine is from Aldi and cost 5 dollars. man, I really do miss Aldi. Maybe one day they will come to Colorado.




Now with this block as an example. The gnome was pre-assembled. The blocks with letters were pre-assembled. And the entire Christmas tree with lights was pre-assembled. I folded my base block into quarters and ironed a good crease into it. Then I was able to use the placement guides (page 3 in the instruction package) to tell where each patch would sit. Sometimes your patches are not exactly as expected. Our hands shake while cutting or tracing (at least mine do). So some of the placement settings are personal judgment, making it look good to Your eye. If you look closely you can see that I cut a wee bit too much off of the blue block for letter L.

The stitching takes me awhile also. On this project, I am using my Brother 400 and a mock buttonhole stitch. Changing thread color to match the bright fabrics. Sewing slowly. Lots of pivoting. Minor swearing when the bobbin runs out. You would think by now somebody would have made a sewing machine with an economy-sized bobbin! At least the Brother is polite enough to warn me that it is running low.
 I do my stitching assembly row style. Start with block one, sew everything red, move on to the next block and do the same. Get to the end of the stack of blocks, flip them over and start another thread color.
 After that, it is pressing, squaring up. Then sew the top together. :) I am not quite there yet so that picture will have to wait.

 Here are some pictures of my blocks before stitching.









18 comments:

Cindy Quilts said...

I agree with you about the bobbin! I am thinking spool sized would be nice!
Thank you for sharing your patterns with us.
Cindy K in Illinois

Lobstermama64 said...

I love how much thought you have put into your explanation of how to make this super delightful quilt.

Lucy Daniel said...

I’m real new to appliqué. I’ve done one small project. Your written tutorial is extremely helpful. Thank you!

Marsha said...

Thanks for the great info! I am so looking forward to this one, it is adorable. Thank you so much for sharing your creative talent with us! Can't wait for the first block to be released.

Susan Gray said...

Thank you so much, this gives us all a place to start and tips to work with. I truly appreciate all you do for me and all of us in general. Thanks.

Susie Hoover said...

Very fun quilt. Will be looking for the finished top. Great tips on organization. We can all use that!

Janie Kemp said...

Thank you for this very helpful post!

Tatenup said...

Love it. Thank you for the pattern, and tips. For some reason this year while looking at Pinterest become obsessed with these guys and have pinned all sorts of them to make

Mary Ann said...

A lot of our processes are the same. I find a lot of the tedious but easy parts seem to take no time at all in front of the TV in the evening. Just need something better than leaning over the TV tray table. Oy my back :o Love the idea of folding the pattern to make a mini folder to hold it all together. I think that is better than my layering method-parts, pattern, parts, pattern, parts, pattern..... Thanks for taking the time to share.

lynn bourgeois said...

Thanks for explaining your journey as you create these wonderful quilts. My appliqué endeavours are not great to look at, but mileage will eventually help.

works4me said...

Thank you for such a fun BOM and a great explanation of your process. Eyeballing my applique placement seems to work for me. Once in a while I lose a piece and I typically find it attached to a kitty rear-end. :) I made the first block yesterday.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/46696371@N07/40054577172/in/dateposted-public/

Dee D said...

I didn't think that if you wait until all blocks are finished to sew the fabrics down you will not have so many thread changes. That's a great tip - thanks!

veronica1216 said...

Thank you for all the work you put into helping us. Your tutorial is great. I've never done applique, hoping I can learn from you

dornepnella said...

Thank you so much for this information! As an intermediate experience quilter, applique is fun to me, but I have been so disorganized. This is very enlightening. thank you again and thank you for taking time to share.

Irene said...

Thank you for this look into your creative process. I was wondering if I could use the silicon baking sheet I already have (and don't use) instead of buying a more expensive one made for quilters. Too bad there isn't a bobbin that is fed by a spool of thread!

Anonymous said...

You are SO creative! Thank you for sharing so many super cute patterns...and so many you offer for free! LOVE your Gnome for the Holidays BOM!

Lynn said...

I'm very late to the party, but just discovered your delightful patterns! Thank you so much for the free patterns as well as the BOMs. I'll be checking back soon to catch the next blocks and will buy the ones I've missed.

Robert Smith said...

Superb article. Include more articles about this topic. Thank you for sharing. Thank you again.