Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sara's Quilt, Block 2

There hasn't been much progress on Sara's quilt this week, but I do have the pattern for Block 2 ready. It's the first in Sara's quilt that's made with applique on a pieced block.

This blog post explains details about how I did the applique, but I can't make PDF downloads of the templates available on my blog. I can only give a link to another site, so I'm publishing the instructions for cutting and assembling the block in a free pattern on Craftsy.

This is the link:

The templates can be used with fusible web, and that's the method I almost always use. I want this quilt to be special, though, with turned under edges. I love the look of hand applique, and with turned under edges, I can avoid the stiffness that can come with fusible web.

I'm not an expert at all when it comes to hand applique. I've experimented with lots of techniques, from needle turn applique to ironing heavily starched edges around templates. I'm pretty hopeless at turning edges as I sew or with an iron, so I used freezer paper, basting, and starch. Yes, it's much more time consuming than fusing, but this is a once only, very special quilt.

1. I traced the templates onto the dull side of freezer paper and cut them out on the lines.

2. I put the freezer paper shape shiny side down on the wrong side of the fabric and ironed it so it would stick.

3. When I cut the fabric I cut it about a quarter of an inch larger than the freezer paper template all around.

4. Now came the not so fun part - basting. Hand sewing is not my thing, but my O.C.D. has kicked in and I'm being fussy. Hand work is something I can do to keep my hands busy in the evening, and basting doesn't require much finesse. I have to admit that the basting  went very fast. I had all the pieces basted in less than an hour.

5. Normally a person would stitch this onto the quilt by hand and later snip the fabric behind the applique and pull out the freezer paper. This block was an experiment with trying to use machine stitching in such a way that it would imitate hand stitching, so stitching it down first wasn't going to work. I feared that some of the stitches would pierce the freezer paper and I'd have bits of paper stuck permanently in the quilt.

6. Starch next. I poured a little bit of liquid starch into a small plastic container. Then I used a small brush to saturate the turned edges of the fabric on the back of the freezer paper. I ironed it dry, and removed the basting stitches and the freezer paper. I was a little bit surprised that it held it's shape perfectly.

7. Next came glue. I put a few drop of quilt basting glue on the starched edges.

8. I placed the applique pieces onto the quilt block. Then I gave them time to dry.

I fussy cut the center part of the flower to get the large dot exactly in the middle.

9. Finally I sewed the appliques in place with a tiny machine blanket stitch. Matching thread for the faux applique was recommended in one of Pat Sloan's books, but even on the dark reds, the stitching didn't totally disappear into the background. That was a bit of a disappointment.

I think I'll go back to using the polyester microfiliment thread next time. It's practically invisible to start with. Then, again, I might just bite the bullet and applique my glued pieces down by hand.

I hope to make another pieced block this coming week. Fingers crossed!

We're experiencing a strange record breaking heatwave in Nebraska right now. I've never seen temperatures near 80 degrees in this part of the country in February! I may have to break down and do some yard cleanup.


  1. Karen, great appliqué, I love it! Now I've got something else to work on! I need to find some dots for the flowers...back into my excessive stash.
    Have you tired using glue sticks with the appliqué? I love them, not the mess of the fabric glue and they hold almost instantly, you can iron it, but it doesn't really need it., there is small glue pen too I think it Fons and Porter that works good but is more expensive. I do basically the same as you but without the freezer paper, I draw a line (on the back side) around the template and cut 1/4" seam, snip inside curves only, and run a small strip of stick glue just inside the drawn line, a few inches at a time...I guess I like the glue stick as you can move things around a bit until you get the fold over to look good on the front side.. give it a try it may work for you too.

    Will there be more than one appliqué in your pattern? Just so I don't fill all the blocks and then you come up with another appliqué...
    Weather here in S.C. is too warm too, everything is starting to blossom and we still could have a frost for Mar. and April....will be a bummer if we loose our Hydrangea blossoms, Peaches and Apples...
    Carole Corn

    1. Hi Carole. I'm glad you like this little block. Yes, there will be more blocks with applique. I have one other that I'll be writing a pattern for next week, and I'm sure there will be a few more. If you go to the pattern on Craftsy, you'll see a photo of the other blocks I've made so far. Today, I'm working on a simple pieced star block. None of them are complicated at all. Thanks for the tips about glue sticks. I'll need to try this before long.

  2. It is me again Karen, I forgot to mention to you to try very fine bobbin thread for blanket stitch on your appliqués too, especially if you have a like color, the fine 60 or 100 weight just disappears. Sometimes depending on your machine you can get a jagged zig zag that really looks good on certain is a long thread to the outside, then a few normal threads then a long thread to the inside....I have a Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Deluxe, about 5 years off the TOL machine, but it sews beautifully and has a zillion stitches on it. I didn't look for the other pattern on Craftsy, I'll check it out. I'm headed that way to watch a class. Thanks

    1. You are absolutely right about the thread, Carole. I don't where my head has been, because I already knew that. In fact, I've written about it on my blog! I don't have another block pattern for Sara's Quilt on Craftsy yet. I'll work on it for next week. Thank you for waking me up!

  3. Got my new block for the appliqué done and while I was working on my flowers I realized that I forgot to mention when I use the freezer paper and glue I put the freezer paper on the right side of the fabric and just roll the edge over to the back making the soft edge without puckers, I use a couple of cuticle sticks to assist, I love the new Appliquick Tools, but they are expensive and my cuticle sticks work well and when they get all rough you can file them back into shape.

    1. You sound like an expert at hand applique. I get in too much of a hurry to do very much of it. This is an interesting method. I should experiment with it one of these evenings when I have some down time. I'll add cuticle sticks to my shopping list. Thank you.