Saturday, October 29, 2011

Applique an Airedale, Part 1 - Tracing the Pattern

This post and several more will give step-by-step instructions explaining how to applique a quilt block by hand using the "A is for Airedale" quilt block patterns.

Note: there are links to specific products below. I have no association with any of the companies and don't recommend any particular brand. I included the links so you'll have an idea what you need when buy supplies.

Instructions below assume you have already purchased your pattern.

Materials needed
  • Paper pattern in the correct size. If your pattern is not the size you want it to be you can enlarge or reduce it with a photocopier (or you may be able to scan it and print it at a different size).
  • Stabilizer - water or heat soluble are available; or choose the tear-away kind

Step 1
Once you have your paper pattern ready, draw a border around it with pencil. This border will become the sewing line for finishing your block. If you make it larger than you want, you can always make it smaller but if you make it small, it will be harder to enlarge it.

Tape the paper pattern onto a window so you can trace it. It's important to have good light outside since you'll be tracing through two different translucent layers (separately). You can use a light box if you have one.

Step 2
Trace pattern onto stabilizer.

Stabilizer is a little like interfacing but, unlike interfacing, it will be removed when you've finished appliqueing. It gives you a stable background on which to sew your applique pieces. I suppose you could sew the pieces onto the background fabric without the stabilizer but if the fabric stretches or pulls, the applique pieces won't lie flat.

There are several different kinds and brands of stabilizer. Decide what you think will work best for you. If you're going to hand applique, you might like to have a lighter weight version. You can buy stablizer online or at most fabric stores.

Cut your stabilizer larger than you want your finished block to be and large enough so that you have at least 1" all the way around beyond the border you drew on your pattern. For instance, if you want a finished 10" block, cut your stablizer at least 12" x 12". This will allow working room.

Tape the stabilizer over the pattern on the window. Using a dark, indelible marker such as a Sharpie or Zig Writer, trace the pattern, including borders, onto the stabilizer. It's important that you work accurately on these tracings so that your finished applique looks like the pattern. When finished tracing onto the stabilizer, carefully remove the stabilizer and lay it aside.

Step 3
Trace pattern onto freezer paper.

Tape or very securely hold freezer paper over the paper pattern with the waxy size toward the window and the paper side toward you. You'll know if you've got it wrong because you can't draw on the waxy side. This freezer paper will need to be moved as you trace the pattern.

Using a pencil, carefully and accurately trace the pattern giving each section of the pattern its own space. Look at which parts of the pattern have confined sections so you can see which will become individual pattern pieces.

In the tracing to the right you can see that the saddle and upper tail were one piece; the near back leg and tail, another; each front paw was its own pattern piece; etc. At this point you can decide whether you want to applique or embroider the small parts like ears and nose. Bee members often embroider the eyebrows and sometimes the nose.

If you can't visualize this now, you'll be able to see it better in the next part of instructions.

Other posts in this series
"A is for Airedale" Quilt Patterns Available Now!
Applique an Airedale, Part 1 - Tracing the Pattern
Applique an Airedale, Part 2 - Auditioning and Choosing Fabrics
Applique an Airedale, Part 3 - Cutting the Pattern Pieces
Applique an Airedale, Part 4 - Stitching, Finishing
Applique an Airedale, Part 5 - Photos

1 comment:

  1. This series is invaluable, though the alphabet quilt was my least favorite. I wonder if the Bee could make money publishing an e-book with directions like yours?


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