Several of you among my ten frequent readers asked that I continue to talk about applique methods and tips, so I will do that as things occur to me. I'll probably intersperse it with non-applique blog posts so the remaining four of you who don't want to hear about applique will have something to read on occasion.
I wanted to follow up the last couple posts by giving you some alternatives. I searched Yahoo Images for "applique stiletto," and look what popped up!
Pretty, aren't they? There was a time when I used to wear stiletto heels but the older I get, the shorter my heels get. The really sad thing is that I keep thinking if I was just TALL enough, I'd look much thinner. Good thing the British and horse racing just might manage to make hats fashionable again. A nice hat could add a foot to my height.
Anyway, there's another kind of stiletto that can be used for applique--they're pointy long things like this one:
Stiletto's can be used instead of the Trolley Needle I showed you. And if you don't want to invest any money in an extra notion, you may have something else hanging around you can use instead, like a long seam ripper or even a narrow screw driver. I prefer the Trolley, though, because wearing the stiletto on a finger frees up the rest of my hand to help hold the applique piece and manipulate the fabric and iron. Still, I want you to know that you don't need to go out and buy everything all at once.
You can even go waaaaay low tech/low gadget and start the way I did--with just the freezer paper and a needle and thread to baste with.
First, though, I thought I'd show you what I mean about putting the points and valleys of the applique template on the bias. I'll illustrate this idea using a pine tree shape. In this first photo, I've placed the freezer paper shiny side down on the wrong side of the fabric, on the bias. In other words, I've placed the template from corner to corner on the fabric instead of straight up and down. That will keep the fabric from fraying quite as much.
In the next photos, I finger press the fabric to the back of the freezer paper and baste in place, taking stitches that are between 1/8" and 1/4" long and turning as I go.
With this method, I feel I have a little more control of the points and valleys, although that might just be because I don't have as much experience with the starch method yet.
Just before I reach the tips of the tree, I fold the seams over on each other as you would when wrapping a gift. I baste the folded corners into place.
In the valleys, I make one clip just up to the paper and fold back on each side. With my basting stitches, I make sure to "pin" back the seams on either side as close to the valley as possible.
When I'm done, I press the "good" side and the under side with an iron. See how nice the edges look? When I used to use this method, I'd then pin the applique piece, with the paper still underneath, to the background and applique stitch around the shape. Once I'd sewn around the perimeter, I would cut away the background fabric behind the applique piece and pull out the freezer paper. Now that I've learned the starch and glue method, I might be inclined to starch the basted applique and iron it dry, then pull out the paper and proceed with glueing the applique to the background as I demonstrated yesterday.
With applique, there's no right or wrong method--whatever works for you is the method you should use. That might be raw edge, it might be machine, or it might be hand applique--or a combination. Try them all a couple times and see what you enjoy. Chances are you might find you enjoy applique after all.
Needle on, Garth!