Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wonderland Quilt Along Block #3: Suits

I hope this month's block suits you. Now that I've got that bad pun out of my system, let's embark on some appliqué. My go-to appliqué method is raw-edge, fusible appliqué. First, download the pattern. Then, use pen or permanent marker to trace the shapes onto the side of fusible paper that has the sticky stuff attached. If you use Lite Steam-A-Seam II, just place the pattern underneath the fusible paper, and trace the image. You do not need to add seam allowance for raw-edge appliqué unless shapes are going to be placed adjacent to each other. For this block, we won't be dealing with multiple layers. If you want to do turned-edge appliqué, then you will need to account for the seam allowance. I do recommend extending the portion of shapes that extend beyond the block (which I did with the base of the spade and club).

I like to use Lite Steam a Seam II because it is resilient. It doesn't scotch or have unraveling glue strands. It is slightly tacky, so you can lay out your fused pieces without them blowing everywhere when a breeze comes through your sewing area. It also stays put once it is fused into place. It also doesn't have an uneven surface that shows as a texture on your completed pieces.

Bubble/rough cut around the shapes, and pull off the side of the paper that doesn't have the fusible, if your fusible has one. If you like, after bubble cutting around the shape, cut out the middle of the fusible, leaving about 1/2" on the inside of the line. The fusible paper should look more like an outline. Even without fusible being applied to the entire shape, the edges will be secure enough for machine stitching.

Position on the WRONG SIDE of your fabric. Protect your ironing surface from any overhanging fusible with the release paper (the part of the fusible paper that you peeled off) or parchment paper. For a better long-term option, splurge on an appliqué pressing sheet. It'll be worth it to avoid getting fusible on your clothes or (if you've given up ironing like I have) your next quilt project.

I used the Sewline Large Ironing Pad which reflects heat so I don't have to set my iron to scorching temperatures when applying my fusible.

If you are going to be using a light-colored fabric for the shapes, or a high-contrast pattern for the background, you may have some undesired shadowing. To avoid this, apply fusible to a square of white solid fabric slightly larger than your appliqué shape. Then fuse the shape to the white.

Cut a background square that is larger than 6 1/2". Use an air or wet erase marker to mark a 6" square, which will indicate the visible, finished size of the block.

Cut out the appliqué shapes on the line. Peel off the paper backing, and place the shapes. Measure to assure the appliqué pieces are centered before pressing. The diamond can be appliquéd or paper-pieced. For appliqué, cut the diamond shape from the paper-piecing pattern to use as the template.

Select your threads. I recommend a 50wt Aurifil so the stitches don't get piled on top of each other and jammed into the machine. I'm using the Curious Dream large thread collection to coordinate with my chosen fabrics.

Apply stabilizer to the back of the blocks. I prefer a tear-away iron on fusible.

When I bought my first sewing machine, I figured the way to tell which one was best was to compare the number of decorative stitches. While I have more knowledge about sewing machine functions at this point (automatic needle threader dependence, knee lift love, needle position adjustability, stitch regulation, etc.), I still love having a few stitches to play around with. Appliqué is the perfect time to show off a little flair. While you can just topstitch around the edge if you don't have numerous stitches, or a zig-zag with a shortened stitch length will do the trick, it's fun to try some different looks.

The key is to test out your stitches first using the same material and stabilizer. Adjust the stitch width and length to get a look you like.

Make sure to put the needle down, lift the presser foot, and pivot frequently so your line doesn't look abrupt and jerky. Aim to go just off the appliqué piece (on the background, and then back on so the edge is secured nicely. During tight corners, adjust the stitch width down to get in and out of the nooks and crannies. The more washing and heavy use the quilt will be getting, the more dense you may want your stitch so the raw edge doesn't get too loose.

Remove the stabilizer, or else your block will be crispier and crunchier than Rice Krispies. I know this because I've tried it. Just call me the Mistake Master. Or Afton. Just not Aspen. Moving on...

Now square up your blocks to 6 1/2". If you want to do this in luxury and style, use a rotating mat. No shame in going old school and manually rotating the block, but you'll have to come to grips with missing the fun of spinning.

Sew the blocks together in a column.

Admire your work. Then share it using the hastag #WonderlandQuiltAlong and in the Wonderland Quilt Along Facebook group.
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1 comment:

  1. I loved this post--vintage Aspen. Um, Afton.
    You give a lot of great tips for working with SASII--my preferred product, too!