I should start off by saying that this tutorial is on how to prep your pieces for needleturn applique, not how to do the actual applique....though I have plans to do a tutorial for that too very soon.
1) Hunt and Gather
These are the tools of the trade - at least, this is what I use. Nothing more, nothing less!
- Basting Glue
- Needles and Thread
Don't waste valuable time cutting out pattern pieces and drawing around them. Cut out a couple of steps and trace your pattern straight to your fabric with the help of a lightbox. This will save you a ton of time. I just use a pencil to do this, but you can use whatever you are used to.
3) Cut Cut Cut
Cut out your pieces. I like to leave approx 1/8 inch allowance around the lines. I don't like to have a bigger allowance as it is hard to work with when you turn points under. Now is also a good time to clip any curves which will make your life infinitely easier when you start to sew those curves! In regards to the background, I always cut it a bit bigger (usually 1/2 inch all around) than the given measurements, as applique tends to bring it in a little. Then when you are done with the block you can square it up to the perfect size.
You now have your pieces cut out and it's time to play! Arrange your pieces on your background until you come up with something that makes you happy. Remember, things are going to look a bit crowded and weird, but never fear, it will look better once the seam allowances are sewn under.
5) Time to attach
I am in love with the glue basting method. I used to use applique pins but my thread would get caught on them and it was quite frustrating. Glue basting is so easy!
- Remember, baste the pieces on the bottom first and work your way up.
- Just little dots. They don't need to be too close - just enough for your applique pieces to stay flat and keep their shape.
- Keep away from the edges - remember, you will be turning those edges under, and you don't want any glue to be in the way. However, if you find you have glued in the wrong spot, just give it a tug and it will separate from the background.
6) Time to sew!
As quickly as that, you are ready to sew! This is also a good time to clip any curves you may have forgotten to do earlier.
I will do a separate tutorial on the actual stitching process as it can be quite involved. Not hard, but it deserves it's own spotlight! However, here are a couple of photos of the basic stitch I use.
When your block is complete you are ready for the next one...prepare to be addicted!
Needleturn stitching tutorial coming soon...hopefully this week.