Saturday, February 19, 2011

Back Basting Applique - Part 2

I've had lots of questions about this technique.  Hopefully this post will answer all of them.
I am using the Be Still My Heart block from Esther's Heart's Desire BOM.  This pattern is free until March 15th, when she will offer block 2 of the Mystery Block of the Month free for a month.  It's a good block to practice this technique on since there are long, sweeping turns rather than a lot of fussy inside & outside points.

Once your shape is basted and cut out, you are going  to cut and remove the basting thread where you are going to do the needleturn.  I pull about 2" worth of thread on a straight section like this, or about 1" on a more complicated piece.

I like to start stitching in the middle of a straight section since it's sometimes hard to get started and do an inside or outside point at the same time.


Here's my technique for needle turn:
On a straight section like this, I like to turn under 1-1.5"  before I start to stitch.  Grab the seam allowance that you are going to turn under with the tip of your needle.

Fold that allowance under, using your thumb to hold it in place.  In this picture, you can see the little holes that were made by the basting stitch (click to enlarge if you need to).  This is your fold line.

Use the needle to tidy this edge. In this case, I'll use the tip of the needle to push that pointy section right of the needle under.  And I'll use the tip of the needle to pull some of the fabric  left of the needle out to be more rounded.  Once I like how it looks, I typically run the thumb of my needle hand over the fold to finger press it.
I then scoot my thumb over the section that I just turned to hold it in place, and to be closer to my stitching area for better control.

Then just stitch-away.  My stitches are typically 5mm apart on straight sections and as close as 3mm on inside and outside points.

The next piece in this pattern will be layered on top of this green piece.  Since I won't be able to see well through it, like I did with the first piece, it's time for a different technique.

I mark the outline of the piece with large pins.  In this case, I only need to mark 2 sides b/c the outside green petal marks the outside (left side in the picture.)

On the front side, I know that the chunk of fabric I'm going to use next needs to cover the petal and the pins.



I used the edge of my yardage to line up with the outer left petal.  I use short applique pins to hold the fabric in place.  The pins are placed outside the petal on the left and outside the location-marking pins on the right.

That way, when I flip it to the back to baste, I can see that the pins are outside the design area and I have enough fabric to cover the shape.  Also, with the pins on the opposite side from the basting, the thread doesn't get caught while you are stitching.


Baste in place using a contrasting thread.  I like longer stitches for straight edges and stitch closer together for smaller or more complicated pieces.

I make small corrections sometimes when basting too. The line I drew on the right, seemed to get narrow, so I moved the basting line to the inside of the drawn line.  I'll make corrections to my wonky stitching line when I trim the shape.

On the front side, cut out the shape.  In doing this tutorial, I realized that I leave a 5mm seam allowance.  (about half-way b/w 1/8 and 1/4").  That little extra wiggle room is good for fine-tuning the folds, but doesn't make for too much bulk.

Line up the next piece the same way.  I'm feeling for the pins that I used to mark the point of this petal.  And I can feel the outside of the green petal through the pink to make sure I have the design covered.  Pin on the front side, baste on the back.

Since these pieces won't overlap with each other, I'll baste all 6 of them down, then I'll do the stitching on all of them before I go through the same process for the center petals.

So, what do you think?  Are you ready to try?

15 comments:

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

wonderful wonderful wonderful. I will link to this one too. Thank you Marjorie for informing the ignoramuses of the quilting world how to improve our skills!

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

Just printing out the templates - next fabrics choices and then I'l get started. I'll be posting the link to your blog post tomorrow as I already posted once today and there is only so much of me my poor blog readers can take - how do you take photos of your hands BTW?!

Quilter in the Gap said...

This second tute definately cleared things up for me. I just looked at my UFO I spoke of earlier with you but those pieces are WAY TOO SMALL for my first project. Now I see why it because a UFO. Instead I think this BOM might be a good first project. What do you think? Good for a beginner?

Quilter in the Gap said...

OH...just thought of another question...what all do you carry with you as a "to go" bag?

Anne at Film and Thread said...

I appreciate this SO much! And thank you for answering my question on your last post. Your instructions are really clear and just look like a way that the whole process would work so much better. If you do any other follow-ups to this, would you mind showing how you do inner and outer corners?

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

I totally agree with Anne on the inner and outer corners. Also, do you trim fabric away at the back? I found this method absolutely wonderful compared to any other I've tried and am a complete convert. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I will be back to read and re-read these posts. It occurred to me that a better place for me to start would be with a simple heart. It's not perfect but I'm pretty happy with my first attempt:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/?start_tab=one_set72157625969042031
I'll be blogging it and linking back to your tutes onces again probably tomorrow!

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

That is so neat.....thank you...

Cecily said...

Can't wait to see this one a little further along... LOVE the colors!

Raewyn said...

This is a great tutorial... I, too, am in love with this method of appliqué; it is so quick and easy to set up - as you say, no templates, freezer paper and so on. I also use a tooth pick to help me tuck under the edges, particularly when I am using a very fine needle.

Raewyn said...

It's lovely to meet you Majorie.. I have just linked to your tutorials on my latest post - I hope that's Ok?

ms lottie said...

I just came and visited through Raewyn's blog. Thanks for a fantastic tutorial - I never heard of this way, but as I'm a bit of an applique hater but have some I need to do - I'll be back!

Victoria said...

Actually comments on a much earlier question: linen in quilts. You were pondering questions of durability and wash ability. Here goes: flax fibers are stronger wet than dry. They don't hold color well, which is why it is possible to bleach out most stains on a linen tablecloth. Linen is relatively brittle when dry, and therefore should be rolled rather than folded for storage. Just relatively brittle; the fibers don't have the flexibility of wool, don't hold color as well as silk, but there are linen textiles 4,000 years old. Like silk in a quilt, you'd just have to make allowances for the unique characteristics. Cheers, Victoria

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

Thank you for such clear instructions. Even I can follow thses (I think)and I have never tried appliqué. I have this page bookmarked, and will come back to it often, I am sure.

Shirley said...

Oh wow thanks a lot, love your work!

LynCC said...

Just letting you know - your back-basting tutorials were instrumental in getting me to try this method many months back, and it's revolutionized my attitude toward hand applique. I'm a total addict now. Thanks for sharing!!