Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Machine applique

Yesterday I did some applique. I used to say that I didn't like applique. And then I did some needle turn and found that I enjoyed it after all. Today I have a headache. I guess that tells you that I didn't enjoy the process so much yesterday.

Mrs. Furui loaned me a beautiful book with applique patterns and instructions on how to do three techniques of applique; fusible applique, hand applique and machine applique. I had a general idea of how to do fusible applique. The instructions in the book about hand applique were different from needle turn but I figured it might be similar. Machine applique is new to me so I opted for that technique.

HAH! Never again! Now I'm not sure where I went wrong but just getting all the little pieces ironed on to and around each paper piece took hours and I burned fingers in the process. The points didn't hold onto the freezer paper and so on the advice of the book I used glue stick. Well, Japanese glue stick may be stickier than American glue stick.

Once my pieces were made (take a break, Tanya. Go walk the dog for an hour!) I ironed them onto the background. Hmm. The freezer paper doesn't hold. Use more glue. Zig-zagging around all the pieces with nylon thread actually worked out very well! I wish I'd used this when I was making my stained glass quilt last year.

By evening I had the block nicely appliqued. Finished right? Nope. All those freezer paper pieces are under there and needed to be taken out. The book said

"With very sharp scissors make a gentle cut in the background fabric under the applique pieces and carefully remove the freezer paper."

As if it is that simple!!! Why is it when the freezer paper wasn't sticking to the pieces and backing, it now is permanently adhered to the fabric edges? And the points with the glue stick? That left paper residue all over the back and pulling the points tore the fabric! Headaches, headaches, headaches.

Note to myself. Never, never, never use Japanese glue stick on fabric. My burned fingers were now having their fingernails torn out trying to get at the paper under those edges. And I thought removing paper from paper piecing blocks was hard! Those weren't cemented in like these!

But the block is done. Too many hours devoted to this to admit.

Any advice for future projects? Does someone have a fail proof method for applique?

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