Appliqué Like a Pro! Part 3/4 – Leaves, Stem, & Circles


So, welcome to Session Three of the Cabin Creek wall hanging, I’m Jenny Doan and this is Jan Patek and just to review a little bit, here’s what we’ve covered…This is the little wall hanging we’re making. We’ve covered the house and the windows—making rectangles—We’ve covered the star in Session Two, and today we are going to do stems,
and leaves, and circles.

So, how do we get started on that Jan? Okay, first we need to go back to our diagram, okay, and we’re going to cut a piece—remember, the dimensions in the diagram are what the block is going to be when it’s sewn into the quilt, so you need to add a half-inch, or one fourth inch all the way around, but a total of a half inch to all the measurements. SO you cut your top piece, 6 ½ by 4 ½ and your bottom piece 6 ½ by 8 ½. And you need to sew those two together, which you can see that I’ve done. I just sewed a seam straight across, pressed it open…. So we’re ready to go with that…that’s this piece that we’re working on, is actually this one right here that has the stem and the flower. This is what we’re doing today so you’ll know exactly where we are.

Okay, so the first thing we need to do…and I’m trying to figure out what we did with the finished one…the first thing we need to do is make our stem and the stem in most of my patterns, or a lot of my patterns, is…measure the stem and
you’ll find that the stem is ½ inch wide. Okay. And what I use to make it, I cut a piece of fabric—one inch—because you need your half inch all the way around— so I cut it one inch by the length…and extra, about and inch extra. And this is something that you don’t actually have to trace and use the freezer appliqué paper for…right…because it is just a straight inch cut of fabric. Right. So, you just do it right off your….Right, for any of your stems, bias vines, anything like that, you just cut it the size you want it, making sure you add your seam allowance.

Okay, this is a clover bias maker and you use it to make bias vines and it took me quite a while, but I finally came to the realization that it will also make straight lines. It will make stems. And this is a handy little gadget. Yes, so the big problem when you’re doing something like this is turning your seam allowance over evenly so you get a nice straight line here, and this thing is just a jewel.

Spray…cut your stem out of your fabric, making sure that you’ve added your seam allowance, and then spray this, t his is Best Press, you can use water. Yeah, water, spray starch….The thing about that is it kind of stiffens it and helps it go through easier but if you don’t have that handy you can just use water. It helps to make sure that your fabric is placed nice and flat. And I love this! It was such a nice tip for me because I’m one of those that always folded my edge under ¼ inch and ironed along and its not…this is so much easier.

I think I’ll do this over here so you can see how I do this in…I’ll move this for you…Yeah…there we go. Especially if it’s stiff, and that’s what that stuff helps with, or spray starch. You just put it into your bias maker and push it as far as you can get it to go. When you start getting resistance that you need to take it over to where you are ironing and I get a pin….Yeah, it has a handy little slit on the top so you can put a pin in and kind of push it through a little bit. But if it doesn’t, you can push it out. Some of them don’t have the slot and I like to buy the ones with the slot. Okay, now you can see, it’s started to come out already with your seam allowance bent under…It just folds it automatically. It just folds it for you…Like, I little present…So then you take your iron and you just pull on the bias maker and follow it with your iron. And I’m going to move it down so I can go ahead and do it.

Yeah this is such a great way to do stems, anything that you need for….And then I just turn it over and just press it one more time, and we have our stem. You didn’t burn your fingers, its nice and even, its awesome! And you’re not trying to slide the fabric under as you go along, I mean it’s just pressed there its just a…I’m going to go ahead and pin this on. Yes, that’s a good idea. I’ll make myself useful. Alright, you do that. Okay, now we are going to do the leaves, you….As we did at first with the freezer appliqué—if you don’t remember, go back to Session One and get those
again. And what we are going to do is take our leaf and trace the pattern off the, uh, pattern and on freezer paper and then cut it out on the line because this is our stitching line for the leaf.

Okay, now that’s ironed on to the outside of it, the top part, and then we put it on our sandpaper board so the fabric won’t stretch and we trace around it. Now in appliqué, just as in quilting, its much easier if you don’t have to keep starting and stopping, starting and stopping. If you can just….here, we’ll show you …yeah its kind of hard to see because that’s green…Yeah, we’ll show you that line. Now what was the tip you taught me about what you press on the front and what you press on the back?

Okay, if you are doing circles or rectangles or windows or anything like that, you put them on the back because as we showed you…you’re going to iron your freezer paper on the back…Right, because as we showed you, with the windows in the first session you’re going to fold your seam allowance around it to get a nice, precise line. You’re going to do the same thing with the circles in a while…and anytime you need a sewing line. If its something like the star where you’re going to sew it down, you put the freezer paper on the front. The leaves are going to be sewn down on the front. And then this little tracing line is your sewing guide.

Okay, so now what you want to do is go up and around. You don’t want to have to keep stopping and starting, you don’t want to sew the stem down and then each leaf down because that makes you start and stop. You don’t do that when you quilt, you don’t do that when you appliqué.

SO what we need to do now, is find where this point is going to touch the stem. So take your drawn line and fold it over at the point and then fold the sides down. Take your needle and we’re going to do a basting stitch here…And this is single thread…Yes, always single thread…And you want to try and put your knot to the front. Because you are going to need to pull this basting stitch out later so you start with your knot on the outside and just make a running stitch. Nice big stitches that will pull out later, because what you want to do is hold the sides down. Okay, now we are going to turn the point like this…and your not basting the whole leaf right now, just that little part that is going to touch the stem so that you know exactly where it is going to touch at the stem.

Okay now we take our little scissors and we cut the thread, and we’ve got the thread there, and what did I do with my two other things? Okay, I thought I cut the thread…yes, I did. Okay, so that leaf is going to set there and this leaf is going to set here, and this leaf is going to set here. And we’ve already basted their ends down so now we know where the leaf is going to touch the stem, and when we sew, we can sew up the stem, go around the leaf, do our point just like we did the points on the star, and then continue back down to the stem, around, down. You don’t have to keep starting and stopping. That’s a really great tip because I tend to start and stop. Well, and it takes more time and its interrupting, I mean you don’t just stitch. Oh yeah, once I learned this it was like, its’ almost freeing because like you’ll do a lot of little berries and things like that and she just goes around one side and back down the other side and it saves you a lot of time. Yeah, well and it’s relaxing because you don’t have to think. I’m very good at things that you don’t have to think for. I’m figuring out ways to sew where you don’t have to think.

Okay, so now we’ve got out stem and leaves and we are going to pretend those are sewed down, and we’re going to move on to our circle, our flower. This time, once again, you go back to your pattern, trace it on freezer paper, cut it out exactly on the line and this is a circle so you iron it on the back. You always iron on your circles on the back.

Now we’re going to do, let’s move him for a minute, a running stitch around and make sure you have enough thread. One time I did this and my thread was too short and I had a circle that was about half done—didn’t work. So what she’s doing is a fairly good sized little running stitch and she’s going to run it all the way around so that she can gather it up and pull it tight. And, I just want to tell a little story on myself: When I started I used to use margarine lids and Cool Whip lids for my templates and I only ironed that once to realize that it didn’t work very well. I had to get rid of that iron and the smell in my house lasted for days I think. Hot plastic is not much fun, no it really isn’t. It’s awful, and I didn’t even think about it, I had it scooched around there and I’m like just going to do the, I’m going to iron that down and…Well you know, its like I said in the other session, you really can’t put the freezer paper through the copy machine because if you do, the heat melts the plastic on the back of it and you get the same smell coming from your copy machine.

Yes, I bet. It’s not fun. We’re familiar with this. We can tell you all sorts of things not to do as well as how to do them, you know. Which is really a good learning tool actually. You know, I mean we learn, that’s how you learn better ways to do things is sometimes you make a mistake, and it doesn’t work, and you just look at things a little differently and move on.

Whenever I teach, I tell people not to worry if they make a mistake, bring it to me, and I will probably show them how to fix it because I have made almost all of them. And quite truthfully, at this point, if your paper comes loose, don’t worry about it because it doesn’t have to be…you’ve already used it to cut your fourth inch around. Sometimes you can do great, great big circles with this and when you do that, the paper will almost always come loose. Now when Jan does little berries, she’ll use a sticker sometimes. Oh yeah, I didn’t bring any…yes, I did, I’ll show those in a while. Okay, now that we have the big circle…we’re going to cinch it up, we’re going to pull it tight and we’re going to hope I haven’t unthreaded my needle, and I haven’t. So, you’re just going to secure it now. Yeah, so you just do a little ending stitch and I will have to thread my needle before we sew this on. Okay, and I almost always, when we have to secure anything, do a double stitch.

Okay, now you can take this to the iron and iron it down if you want to but like I said, my husband is always saying ‘Would you please sit down and watch TV with me?’ and so I’ve developed a way of doing things where you don’t get up and go to the iron. The iron’s in the barn loft, I’m sitting in my chair, so I just sew it on. Okay, and we’re going to pretend that the stems and leaves are already sewed on. In fact, lets take them off because I don’t want to get stuck with the pins. Okay.

Okay, now you come up from behind and you bury your knot behind both backgrounds and catch the edge, just the edge, of your circle. And I’ve got to put a pin in here, it does make it easier to start because it holds it in place. And your
appliqué stitch, one again you come in slightly at an angle, behind where you came out and go at about a 1/16th to 1/18th of an inch because you don’t want these to come loose later. And you just sew your circle down. Okay, like I said, you can iron this down and take the paper out before you sew it down, that would mean I had to go up to the loft so I don’t do it.

Now on this right here, you’ll notice—again this is just a little reminder—she’s using the color of thread that is the same as the piece on top, not the background. But her thread is red because the little flower center is red and that really helps hide your stitches and that’s really in important tip to remember.

So Jan went ahead and sewed that down, the little piece is finished and on the back here Jan has cut a little slit and you can just pull that paper out through the back and you want to do that, particularly in this case because you are adding the little star and you don’t want to sew through the paper. No, so after you sew your circle on, go put a slit in the back, and take out the piece of paper. Because all that’s going to be inside, you’re never going to see it. So then you’re going to sew your star on, Right,and then you do your small circle exactly the same way you did your big circle.

And so now that you can do leaves and circles we want to show you some of the fun things you can do. First, on this quilt behind me…Jan, what’s the name on this one? This is Pine Tree Ridge. It’s so cute and there’s just so many… you know you’ve got your straight stems, you’ve got, you know, your chimneys you can use, your tree stems, you’ve got berries on the snow man. You can do almost as well of circles using the same method, and I do it on all my heads. Look at all these tiny little circles right here and their just as easy you just stitch around them, synch them up, and
sew them down. And you do the snowman’s eyes, you do the circle, and then you put the star on. And here’s a quilt; what is this one called? This is Tulips and Leaves and Stars and Bees. There’s a few lines and leaves on this one. This is where you use…lets hold that out…the bias line and you don’t have to just put a short piece through this thing, you can put a really long piece, however long your bias line needs to be. Once you put it in through the end, you just keep pulling it through. You’ve got all these leaves, and the little circles, alright.

Here’s another one. This is a great use of the bias…Right, this is a great use of the…Once again, it took me a few years to figure out it doesn’t have to be bias, it can be straight. And it makes the logs on a log cabin just terribly easy to appliqué down. And these stems, I love these stems! What’s the name of this one Jan? This is Little Cabin in the Big Woods. Little Cabin in the Big Woods, and all these are patterns right? Right. So when you guys get this appliqué bug, you’re going to have some things to do. Now this is Jenny’s favorite…I love this one. We’ve already done our windows in the first session, but here now you do these leaves and it makes this so much easier. Look at all those leaves and vines! Basically, I would, when I do this, take a dot, Jenny says she uses pens, but I would take a dot of glue and put it in the middle of each leaf and sew it down because all you basted under are the little ends but now you can just keep sewing. You don’t have to worry about the pins when you are doing this many leaves.

This is a fun one, one of my personal favorites. This is Natalie’s Quilt and it has lots of vines and stems and things like that that you can run through. And the reason that this is Natalie’s quilt is that this is all Natalie’s ruler, the half hexagon. It’s just so cute, the big one and the little one. You see, I’m not a piecer, I’m and appliquer and as soon as I saw that I didn’t think of how to piece the quilt I thought, ‘Oh, that’s an awesome basket!’ and their made to fit layer cakes and charms so the big one made a layer cake basket and the small one made a charm basket.

Here’s some fun stems and leaves, this is made with a 1/4th inch bias maker…So tiny, so still, when you think about ironing all those edges under, oh… This is a dream with the bias maker you don’t have to do that anymore and all the circles and little leaves…And it makes flower centers, it makes angel heads…And I think we have one more. Yeah. And Jan wanted to show you this just to…this is a darling…This is Santa Claus Lane, and you can go really tiny. Tiny leaves…Here’s the 1/4 th inch. Look at these tiny circles! For that you only cut, like 1/8th of an inch around and then do a running stitch and pull it. Tiny! You can go very small, it’s just as easy as doing the big ones. What’s the name of this one? It’s Santa Claus Lane. Santa Claus Lane. Anyway, we hope you’ve enjoyed Session Three of hand-turn appliqué with Jenny Doan and Jan Patek from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Thanks!

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  • Sylvia Kerschner

    How do I find Part 2 of the 4 part Applique Tutorial?