Friday, April 1, 2011

Applique Updates - Blocks 2 and 3

I almost finished block 2 a few weeks ago. . . except for the circles in the middle of the flowers (I love this flower design, so classic - I know I'll use it again in another applique design).  In applique class I learned how to make "perfect circles."

Here is Block 2 BEFORE the perfect circles were added to the middle of the flower:

"Perfect Circles" have an entire life cycle unto themselves.  I can't say I ENJOY the process of making them.  But, I do like that there is a process for making them perfect.  AND... it's SO much easier to sew on the circles without having to needle-turn the edges.  Once the circles are made, the applique part can be done painlessly.  I have learned to make A LOT of circles all at the same time so that they are ready and prepared when I need them.

To make perfect circles, I used mylar templates called surprisingly PERFECT CIRCLES (by Karen Kay Buckley).  I bought them in a little pack from Cloth & Bobbin, my neighborhood quilting store.  You can use note cards instead of the mylar templates if need be but you have to cut out a circle pattern from the note card.

Step 1: Trace around a perfect circle template on the back side of your fabric using a fabric marking pen.
Step 2: Make a running stitch about one-eighth of an inch around the outside of the marked line.  Begin and end on the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 3: Trim around the outside of the running stitch, about one-eighth of an inch. You don't want to get so close to your stitching that your fabric would fray too close.

Step 4:  Set the perfect circle template on your fabric and give a tug on the 2 ends of your thread.  This should cause your fabric to fold in around the template.

Step 5:  Spray a little bit of Magic Sizing - Light Body into the lid of the sizing (find an entire spray can of this stuff at the dollar store or grocery store for about one dollar but DO NOT use spray starch, it contains sugar and moths or other bugs may eat into your project by being attracted to the sugar - seriously).  The spray will look slightly foamy and also somewhat liquid when you spray it into the lid.

Step 6:  Use a cotton swab or a small paint brush to drip sizing onto the folded edges of your fabric and press a hot iron over the wet fabric until it hardens around the template.

Step 7:  Peel back the edges of the folded fabric and remove the circle template.
Step 8:  Give another tug on the thread to re-form the circle.  Turn the circle over to the right side and press it again with your iron.
Step 9:  Clip the thread strings shorter.
Step 10:  Applique your perfect circle to your background fabric!  Voila.

The other day, I created ALL of the perfect circles for blocks 3 and 4.  It was a circle extravaganza!

You can see the ring of mylar circles in the middle of the photo.  The ring came with the set.  The circles come in a pack of 4 each of a variety of little sizes.  There are templates for bigger perfect circles as well.

 So - since I had completed ALL of my circle making, I was able to also complete the applique of Block #3 as you can see in the photo above.

I thought I'd show the first 3 blocks together.  Here they are.

I have cut all of the templates and several of the fabric pieces for blocks 4, 5 AND 6.  Block 4 has some OFF BLOCK construction which I will discuss in the next update.  Block 3 also had OFF BLOCK construction used in the "fried egg" flowers (see red, yellow, orange flowers above).

More updates soon


Sydney said...

MOM! this looks beautiful. I cannot wait to see this finished!

Jeannie said...

Wow! Love how the appliques are progressing. Looks great.

LynCC said...

These are so pretty. Don't you love batiks? I just started getting into applique and I really need to get some of those Perfect Circles.

Laura said...

Lovely! Great explanation!

regan said...

Just found your blog through Sew Many Ways.....this was a great tutorial! Thanks for all the info, and great pics!

Life With Lucy said...

This looks great- super helpful tip on how to do the circles. I love the 2nd block too. Thanks for sharing!

Sher said...

Thanks Lucy. I don't really love making the circles but I'm SO glad there is a method to them. AND, I think it's a pretty cool little method. I hope it will be helpful to you one day when a lot of little circles come your way!

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