Sunday, October 30, 2011

Applique an Airedale, Part 2 - Auditioning and Choosing Fabrics

This is the second in a series of posts explaining how to applique a quilt block using patterns from "A is for Airedale." You can buy the patterns online.

Step 1
Audition Fabrics

Hannah helped me audition fabrics because I wanted ones close to her colors. You can see that some are too light, others too bright. Even though you may think your Airedale's tan parts are all the same color throughout, using a slightly lighter fabric for the parts that seem closer to the viewer and slightly darker fabrics for those toward the back (which will probably be in shadow) will give a feeling of depth and interest in the blocks. If you look at the individual blocks of "A is for Airedale", you can see what I mean. Bee members generally use batik or printed fabrics to give additional interest and depth.

It's a good idea to choose all the fabrics for your block before you begin. Lay them out together and see if you like the effect. Sometimes it might help to cut them to shape and lay them on the pattern where they belong to get a better idea how they will look together.

Step 2
Prepare the Background Fabric

Often the stitched Airedale appliques show up better on a light or medium light background. It's definitely easier to see where to place the applique pieces with a lighter background fabric.

Begin by cutting a piece of background fabric that is several inches larger than the pattern and than you want your finished block to measure. It should be large enough to cover the stabilizer on which you traced the pattern earlier. If the fabric is larger you will be able to applique beyond the border and have no worries about whether you'll have loose ends on the finished piece.

Carefully iron the background fabric so it is smooth and without creases.

Step 3
Layer and Attach the Background Fabric to the Stabilizer

Carefully lay the background fabric over the stabilizer pattern. Try to center the background fabric over the stabilizer pattern as much as possible and keep it smooth and unwrinkled. You can see why the pattern which was drawn on the stabilizer needed to be drawn with a dark pen.

When you stitch your applique, you will align the applique pieces with the pattern on the stabilizer and stitch through both the background fabric and the stabilizer.

With a needle and thread, use a running stitch to attach the background fabric to the stabilizer, keeping it smooth as you sew.

Next: Appliqueing a Quilt Block, Part 3 - Cutting the Pattern Pieces

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

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