Spring Petals QAL, Week 4

We are moving right along with our Spring Petals Quilt Along!  How’s everyone doing so far?  Your quilt top should be complete with petals appliqued into place.

Week 4 brings us to the basting and quilting stage of the process.  The previous lessons can be found at the Spring Petals QAL tab (located at the top of the page).

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

Supplies for Basting & Quilting

  • Completed quilt top
  • Batting, 32″ square
  • Backing, 32″ square
  • Marking tool (blue water soluble pen, Frixion pen, or a chalk pencil)
  • Stencil, optional
  • *Basting spray, 505 temporary spray adhesive, optional
  • *Curved safety pins, small, optional
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape
  • Walking foot
  • Thread to compliment quilt

*Dependent upon your method of basting.

TIP:  I really like using Pellon Thermolam Plus (TP970) as my batting choice for table toppers, table runners, and placemats.  It is a dense, needle-punched fleece that doesn’t shrink and absorbs heat well.  It lays flat and it’s the perfect man for the job when it comes to holding up under lots of wash cycles.  You could also use cotton, cotton/poly blend, or bamboo.

Quilt Designs & Marking Your Quilt Top

Before we begin basting our quilt layers, I think it’s a good idea to think about how you want to quilt it.  If you need to mark any quilting lines, sometimes it’s easier to mark an unbasted quilt top rather than a soft, mushy quilt sandwich.  If you need to use a lightbox to trace a design onto the quilt top, then you definitely need to do that before you baste your layers together.

Quilting is a big part of the design process of making a quilt.  It can change and enhance the look of your quilt, along with adding strength and stability to it.  For this quilt, at the very minimum, I think you should stitch around all of the petal shapes. I also recommend stitching “in the ditch” at the corner triangle seams.  In-the-ditch stitching means that your quilting line is as close to the seam as possible.  Assuming you press your seams to the side, that usually means stitching on the lower side of the seam (that does not have the seam allowance).

Stitching in Ditch

Example of stitching in the ditch.

 

I have quilted the solid version of my Spring Petals table topper with all straight lines.  I like the clean and graphic look of this style.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

I chose to draw all of my straight lines using a blue water soluble pen (my favorite marking tool) and I used a stencil that had the perfect line spacing.  These lines are 1/2″ apart.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

You could also use a ruler, drawing your lines 1/2″ apart.  Another option would be to use the width of your walking foot as a spacing guide.  My lines radiate from the center, out to the corner triangles.

lines drawn

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

Once you’re done stitching, the pen marks are easily rinsed away with water and a spray bottle.  Sometimes it takes a thorough soaking if I’ve marked heavily.  Always test first on a swatch of fabric.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

If you want to do some free motion quilting and you have stencils available, look for something that will fit into the space between the flowers.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

You might also think about a stencil that will bring the petals into the design.  You can find stencils at quilt shows, local quilt shops and online at The Stencil Company.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

There is so much FMQ inspiration to be found on the internet.  My Pinterest board, Free Motion Quilting, is full of ideas and images that I’ve pinned over several years.  I am a certified Pinterest junkie!

TIP:  One of my favorite tools for free motion quilting (FMQ) is a dry erase board.  I like to test designs on the board until I find something I’m happy with.  Then I practice on the board until I feel comfortable.  Left over batting scraps make perfect erasers.

dry erase 1

dry erase practice 2

 

Once I find a design I think will work, I make a practice quilt sandwich and test it out there.  For this project, I drew the shape of the area that I wanted to fill with a Frixion pen and marked lines for the seams.  I used Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles for drawing the center circle.

practice sandwich marking

 

Then I layered the marked fabric with batting and backing and pinned it together.  Now I can practice the design “real time”.

practice sandwich quilting

 

I tried a few different variations and sizes of petals as I worked my way around the center circle.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

Basting

For many of us, basting a quilt is the least favorite part of quilting.  However, it’s necessary to hold all of the quilt layers together well, so there’s no shifting while you quilt.  For most of my quilting career (17 years), I have been using temporary spray adhesive to baste my quilts.  You can find a detailed tutorial for my method of spray basting here.

Below is a visual guide of the steps I take (although I forgot to take a picture of how I fold back half of the quilt top and spray the batting under it):

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

The last thing I do when spray basting is to machine baste around the raw edge of the quilt top – within 1/4″ of the edge.  This adds extra security to the edges.  I use a walking foot to do this and a long stitch length.  You could hand baste this edge or pin paste as well.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

If you haven’t tried spray basting, this would be a nice-sized project to start with.  However, there’s nothing wrong with pin basting either.  When I do, I like to space my pins the width of my hand apart (about every 3-4 inches).

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

Quilting

There are so many options for quilting and it can be as intricate or as simple as you like.  Once you have the quilt design planned, you’ll need to decide on thread color and type.

dmc threads

My DMC thread stash

 

In general, I choose a thread color for the bobbin that matches my backing fabric.  The top thread usually matches the quilt top fabric, but sometimes it can be a complimentary color.  I prefer cotton thread, but again, there are lots of choices out there.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

Most of the time, I use a combination of straight line quilting (using a walking foot) and free motion quilting to stitch my quilts.  However, for the “Pam Kitty” version of my table topper, I free motion quilted everything.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

FMQ allows me to continuously stitch without having to turn the quilt top around and around as I sew my design.  You can find lots of information and tutorials for FMQ at The Inbox Jaunt and at The Free Motion Quilting Project.

TIP:  I love using Betty Bands by Steady Betty for free motion quilting.  They allow me to grip the fabric without covering my fingertips, so I can still feel the fabric and thread a needle if I have to!

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

The first thing I free motion quilted were the outlines of each petal.  This also stabilizes the quilt top evenly so that I can quilt in sections without worrying about starting in the center of the quilt and working out to the edges.

The last thing I stitched were the corner triangles.  I used a stencil for this design and a Frixion pen to mark it with.  Frixion pens are not my #1 choice, but it was the only thing that showed up well enough to see.  I’ve seen ghost lines appear on dark fabric after ironing the pen marks, so beware.  They do have their place in my sewing room; I love to use them to mark diagonal lines for half-square triangle units and to mark applique shapes onto fusible interfacing. I found a great article about using Frixion pens to mark fabric by Angela at My Three Sons.

quilt marked frixion

 

If free motion quilting isn’t your thing, then please know that you can do beautiful quilting with just your walking foot.  I love how my solid version of the Spring Petals table topper turned out.  Nothing but straight lines!

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

You definitely need a walking foot for quilting straight lines or gentle curves.  A walking foot (also called a dual-feed foot) has its own set of feed dogs so it feeds the fabric from the top as well.  This prevents tucks and puckers from forming on the top and back of your quilt sandwich.  A regular foot tends to “snow plow” the top fabric ahead of the bottom fabric.

TIP:  Not all walking feet are created equal and the old adage, ‘you get what you paid for’, really holds true here.  Try to find a walking foot specific for your make and model of sewing machine rather than a generic one.

machine basting

 

I outline-stitched the petals first (about 1/8″ away) and then stitched in the ditch on the corner triangle seams.  Next, I stitched the corner triangle lines and then the inside lines.  For a project this size, it wasn’t critical that I start my quilting in the center and work my way out to the edges.

outline petals

 

Make sure to lock your stitches at the beginning and end of each line of stitching.  You can do this with the automatic function of your sewing machine if it has one, or you can take a few backstitches, or you can take really tiny stitches to secure it.

TIP:  Pull the bobbin thread up to the top of your quilt sandwich to begin.  Then hold the thread tails as you start stitching to prevent a thread nest from forming on the backside.  This was also recommended when beginning the applique stitch.

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

You can also travel-stitch between quilting lines so that you don’t have to pull up the bobbin thread so often.  To do this, don’t clip your threads at the end of each line, but pull them to the next starting point:

Basting & Quilting Lesson @ The Crafty Quilter.  Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along

 

Another way to stitch straight lines is seen in the photo below.  The lines are concentric squares inside each background square, but broken up by the petals. It looks a little bit like tiles.

finished top

 

If you’re making the table topper version without petals (directions are here), you have lots of possibilities for quilting.  I’m using an orange peel design for the center squares.  I found a small metal bucket that fit inside of each square and drew a circle around it.  Then I found the center point of each side of each square and drew a partial circle between these points to make the orange peel design.

orange peel marked

 

I’m planning on adding straight lines to the white border space.  I love the tailored look of straight lines.  They can really add contrast and support to the rest of the quilting.  I’ll post pictures when I get this one quilted.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing progress pictures of your quilt tops on Instagram.  Remember to use the hashtag #springpetalsqal.

Enjoy the process and happy quilting!

Julie

 

Desire to Inspire challenge

A few months ago I was asked to participate in the Desire to Inspire Challenge at Henry Glass Fabrics.  I was glad to say “yes” and now I get to share with you the results!

desiretoinspire-200

 

The fun thing about this challenge is that you have no idea what fabric you will receive.  Plus it’s free and yours to keep with the stipulation that you design a project with it. I was sent one panel and seven 1-yard cuts of American Dreams by Beth Logan for Henry Glass & Co.  This is a beautiful patriotic line of red, white and blues with a panel that has so many possibilities.

American dream panel

 

I have to admit that I had no idea what to do with any of this fabric when I first saw it.  I let it sit in my sewing room for a week and “percolate”.   I knew that I wanted to do something with the panel and I wanted it to be useful and pretty.  The idea of a set of placemats really appealed to me, and that was a good place to start.  I used one panel square as the focal point of each placemat and I pieced together some friendship stars to offset it.  I’m super happy with how they turned out:

Patriotic placemat by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

 

And with all of that fabric, I had to make napkins to go with them:

Placemat set by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

 

I’m going to have a very patriotic table setting when the July barbeques start up:

Patriotic placemat set by Julie Cefalu @ THe Crafty Quilter

 

I made 4 placemats and that left me with two panel squares to use on something else.  I’ve made one of them into a very friendly pillow:

Welcome friends pillow by Julie Cefalu @The Crafty Quilter

 

The other panel square is going to be a pillow, too, someday….

If you’d like to see more pictures of my projects and to read the answers to some questions that were asked of me, then please visit the Henry Glass Blog.  I’m sure you’ll find something to inspire you!

Julie

Spring Petals QAL, week 3

Hello friends!  The Spring Petals Quilt Along continues with week 3 – APPLIQUE.  At this point, you should have your background squares sewn together and ready for the petals to be appliqued onto.

Machine Applique Lesson, Part of the Spring Petals Quilt Along @ The Crafty Quilter

Instructions for the prior weeks can be found at the Spring Petals QAL tab at the top of the page.

Many of you are new to quilting and especially to the technique of applique.  I will try to make this process as easy and clear for you as possible.  I’m going to walk you through the steps of raw-edge machine applique using fusible web.  I’ll also give you information for a turned edge technique that is also finished by machine.  If you want to do hand applique, that’s o.k. too (but I won’t be giving instructions for that).  I’ll sprinkle my previous tutorials throughout this lesson because they are full of more detailed information.

Supplies for raw-edge applique for petals:

  • Fusible web product (my favorite is Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive)
  • Fusible interfacing (only needed for the turned edge technique)
  • Stabilizer (tear-away is a good option)
  • Open toe applique foot (not necessary, but very helpful)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Iron
  • Thread
  • fabric
  • petal and circle templates (you can find these on the last page of the pattern instructions here:  Spring Petals Table Topper

Check out my Favorite tools for machine applique for more detailed information about supplies.

My Favorite Tools for Machine Applique @ The Crafty Quilter

Applique Fusing Steps:

1.  Trace 16 petals and 5 circles onto fusible product.  When you print out the template patterns, make sure you are printing at actual size (no scaling). You can draw the petal and circle shape by placing the pattern page underneath your fusible web product and trace onto the paper side of the fusible web.  Make sure to leave about 1/4″ of space between each shape.

Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

TIP:  Make a plastic template of the petal shape out of template plastic and then trace around that shape onto the paper.  It’s a little bit of a hassle to make the template, but it makes the drawing process easier.  (If you’re like me and you’re making 3 table toppers which equals 54 petals, then it’s totally worth it).  Template plastic is a clear plastic that comes in different weights and can be found at most quilt shops.  You could also use a file folder or two layers of freezer paper to make a template from.

Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

TIP:  It’s a good idea to check the size of the petal to make sure that it fits inside of your background squares.  It should look like this:

Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

The circles are a little bit trickier because its hard to draw a perfect circle.  If you happen to have a circle shape that is about the same size as the one in the pattern, then you can trace around it.  There is a product called Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley that I use all of the time.  That’s how I got my circle shape for this pattern.  They give you a choice of sizes, they’re heat resistant, and you can use them to make gathered circles as well.

Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

 2.  Cut out shapes.  Cut each petal and circle shape with paper scissors, but NOT on the drawn line.  Leave 1/8″ or more paper around the outside of each shape.  You can also cut out the center of the petals, leaving 1/4″ around the inside of the drawn line.  This will make the applique more soft and pliable.  It’s o.k. to leave it whole, too.  If you had a design with multiple layers of applique, then I would definitely cut out the middle of the fusible.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

3.  Fuse shapes onto WRONG side of fabric.  Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the product that you are using.  Usually, this step requires minimal time pressing.  I press the Heat ‘n Bond fusible for 2-3 seconds using a cotton setting. If you press for too long, you can deactivate the “glue”. Make sure the fusible (shiny side) is facing down!  Your iron will thank you.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

TIP:  Sometimes I use an Applique Pressing Sheet to minimize the chance of stray fusibles getting onto my iron or pressing surface.

4.  Cut out the shapes.  Use your best fabric scissors to cut the shapes out exactly on the drawn line.  This will determine the finished shape, so do your best cutting (feel like you’re in kindergarten?).

TIP:  I LOVE using Perfect Scissors by Karen Kay Buckley for this step.  They are made for applique; they grip the fabric with a micro-serrated edge which also helps keep fraying to a minimum.  Worth every penny.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

5.  Remove release paper from shapes.  You’re going to peel away the paper side of the fusible from each shape, exposing the fusible.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

This is fairly easy to do, depending on the product you’re using. I used Wonder Under for some of my pieces (I ran out of my favorite, Heat ‘n Bond) and the peeling away part did not go well.  The fusible kept coming up with the paper.  I had to scrap one of my petals and start over.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

TIP:  Use a pin to score the paper side of the fusible.  This will make it easier to find an edge to grab onto when peeling away the paper.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

6.  Fuse shapes onto the background fabric.  This is the fun part.  Place the petals on each background square making sure the tips of the petals meet at the center of each “flower”.  Don’t worry if there’s a gap at this intersection as it will be covered by the circle.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Check the petal placement along the outside edges where the tips meet.  There should be a continuous curve formed from the petals.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

The corner petals should reach within 1/4″ from the outside corners:

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Here is what it looks like with all of the petals in place:

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Fuse the petals down one section at a time.  Then fuse the circles in place.  Again, check the manufacturer’s instructions for your fusible web product.  I press for 8-10 seconds on a cotton setting.

TIP:  Be careful of the temperature setting on your iron.  Too high of a heat setting will scorch your project!

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

You have the option of adding the circles now or waiting until after you’ve stitched the petals down.  That way you can stitch the petals in a more continuous line than if you had to stop at the circles each time.  However, be aware that the stitches from the applique might show through as bumps on the circles.  I chose to add my circles at the same time as the petals and stitch them all at the same time.

Here is my modern palette sample all fused into place:

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Applique stitching

O.k.  Things are about to get real.  The objective here is to make your applique permanent, pretty, and long-lasting with no fraying.

For more detailed information (we’re talking nitty gritty) about the applique stitch, take a look at The Machine Applique Stitch.  I made this tutorial a few years ago and I encourage you to check it out especially if anything I talk about below isn’t clear to you.

Machine Applique Stitches @ The Crafty Quilter

 

1.  Choose your Thread.  Your choice of thread is part of the design process.  There are so many options:  cotton, rayon, polyester, thick, thin, variegated, solid, etc.  I chose Magnifico thread by Superior Threads for the blanket stitched sample and Mettler Silk Finish Cotton Thread (50 wt.) for the zig zag sample.  Magnifico thread is a show off.  It’s slightly thicker than standard thread and it has a beautiful sheen to it.  It’s a great choice when you want your stitches to stand out.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

I couldn’t resist adding this picture of my Magnifico thread collection:

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

The Mettler cotton thread seemed like a good choice for the zig zag stitches on the solid modern sample.  A little more reserved and subtle, but very sophisticated.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Choose a bobbin thread that is cotton and similar in color to the top thread.  If you have any issues with tension, it won’t be too obvious if your colors are the same.  Check your tension before you start, so there won’t be any surprises.

TIP:  Bobbin tension.  If you have a bobbin case that has a hole in the arm, you can pull your bobbin thread through that hole to add extra tension to the bobbin.  I do this when I have a heavy thread on top (like Magnifico) and it helps to even out my tension.

bobbin trick

 

2.  Choose your stitch.

This is where a little practice first pays off.  If you have never used a blanket stitch or zig zag stitch on your sewing machine, it’s a good idea to make a sample to test out the width and length settings for each stitch.  You have two basic options (keeping it simple for this tutorial) for machine applique:  blanket stitch or zig zag stitch.  Here is a sample that I made using my chosen threads:

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

First of all, you can see the contrast between the Magnifico thread and the Mettler thread.  Close up, there is a beautiful sheen from the Magnifico.  Then, you’ll notice the two blanket stitches.  Your sewing machine may have only one option, or 4 options like my Bernina 440QE.  The double blanket stitch is much heavier than the single blanket stitch and it’s what I chose for my sample.  It takes two stitches forward, two stitches backward, right, left, right, left. (I dream about that dance step).  The single blanket stitch is just like it sounds:  forward, left, right.

blanket stitch sample

 

You might notice the change in look of the zig zag stitch.  This comes from changing my stitch length.  I started out with .6 stitch length and 1.8 stitch width.  I changed to .3 stitch length and kept the width the same.  The shorter stitch length gives you a satin stitch and it’s very “showy”.  This was very popular “back in the day”.  Now, I’m seeing more open zig zag stitches on applique projects.  I chose the longer stitch length for my solid modern table topper (top half of the sample).

zig zag sample

 

3.  Stabilize.  This step is often overlooked.  I almost always use stabilizer underneath my applique.  It does exactly what it sounds like – it stabilizes your work as you stitch.  This is really important when I’m using a zig zag stitch; it helps prevent “tunneling”.  If you find that your stitches are uneven or you’re skipping stitches, you should try a stabilizer.  Instant success.  Most stabilizers are meant to be removed.  They will tear away or dissolve with water or heat.  For the past few years, I have been using Ricky Tims Stable Stuff Poly.

stabilizer on back

Stabilizer in place, after being stitched

 

It has many uses, but for applique it can be torn away easily from the outside of the design, and you can leave it in place behind the design shape.  It will eventually soften to a thin layer of material that will add a slight lift to your applique.

Stabilizer for applique

Tearing away stabilizer from outside of shape.

 

Place the stabilizer underneath your quilt top.  Pin in place.

For the following steps, make sure you have the correct presser foot attached to your sewing machine.  Most machines have an applique foot available.  If not, use a foot that gives you the best visibility in front of the needle.

4.  Bring the bobbin tail to the top.  This step will prevent a thread nest from forming on the backside of your quilt.  Take one stitch and only one stitch.  Pull the top thread up and to the side.  The bobbin thread will loop up with it. Grab the bobbin thread and pull it all the way up.  Hold onto both thread tails as you start stitching.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

5.  Blanket Stitch.  (If you’re not using the blanket stitch, then skip this step and move on to step 6).  I often set my stitch width and stitch length to the same setting when I’m blanket stitching.  For my sample, I used a 2.4 width and 2.4 length.  Every machine is different, so play with this on a practice piece first.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

 

You will be sewing in a clockwise direction and working on the petals first.  Begin at the base of the petal where it meets the circle.

Lock your stitches by using the automatic function on your sewing machine or by taking a few tiny straight stitches first (which is what I do – I set my stitch length to .3 or .4 and take 3 straight stitches).

TIP:  Whenever you change stitches, your needle position changes.  Be aware of this because it always gets you by surprise.

On the blanket stitch, the straight part of the stitch will fall into the background fabric right next to the applique.  The “bite” will go directly into the applique shape.  The picture below shows where the needle position should be on the straight stitch or right swing of the needle.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

The bite should go into the applique at a right angle to the raw edge.  This is the left swing of the needle:

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

The petal has a nice, gentle curve.  You may not need to stop and pivot as you go around, but if you do, pivot on the right swing of the needle to prevent a “gap” in the stitches.

TIP:  I set my needle position to the far right on my sewing machine.  This way I can use the inside edge of my presser foot as a visual guide for my stitches.

It takes practice to place your stitches accurately and consistently on the applique.  Take your time and breathe!  If you want to practice first before sewing on your actual project, make a little petal sample to get used to this stitch.

TIP:  Lower or lighten the presser foot pressure dial.  If your machine has a pressure adjustment dial for the presser foot, lighten it by lowering it to a smaller number.  This will help you move around curves easier.

When you get to the point of a petal, stop with the needle down and pivot.  Continue down the other side.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Stop at the circle and lock your stitches.  Cut your thread tails close to the quilt top.  You can also bring them to the back side and knot them.  I rarely do this unless it’s a competition quilt (which is just a theory, so far).  The picture below is the threads being clipped on the modern sample.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Repeat for all petals.  Stitch the circles last.  I shortened my stitch length and stitch width just a bit for the circles (2.0 length and 2.2. width).  It’s easier to get a smooth curve with shorter stitches (instead of dot-to-dot looking stitches).

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

6.  Zig Zag Stitch.  I’m using my modern solid table topper for the zig zag stitch example.  The look of this stitch is very dependent upon the stitch length and stitch width settings.  I wanted this applique to look more natural and subtle so I chose a narrow stitch width (1.8) and slightly longer stitch length (.6).  You can see behind these stitches as opposed to a satin zig zag stitch which is all thread.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

You will be sewing in a clockwise direction and working on the petals first.  Begin at the base of the petal where it meets the circle.

Lock your stitches by using the automatic function on your machine or by taking a few tiny straight stitches first (which is what I do – I set my stitch length to .3 or .4 and take 3 straight stitches).  Remember, whenever you change stitches, your needle position changes.  Be aware of this because it always gets you by surprise.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Most of the zig zag stitch will be on the applique shape.  The right swing of the needle will fall on the background fabric right next to the applique (as shown above).

The left swing of the needle will be going completely into the applique (shown below).

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

As you go around the curve, make sure that you pivot with the needle down on the right swing of the needle.  This will prevent a gap or “v” from occurring.

TIP:  Take note of the position of your presser foot.  The toes should be parallel to the raw edge of the applique.  This will ensure that your stitches are perpendicular to the raw edge.

When you reach the point of a petal, stop with the needle down and pivot.  Continue stitching down the other side.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

TIP:  When moving from petal to petal, jump sections.  This means don’t cut your thread tails between sections.  Keep them connected so you don’t have to pull up your bobbin thread each time (see picture below).

zig zag center jump

 

Once all of your petals are stitched down, move on to the circles.  These require more attention because you’ll be pivoting often.  Go slow and take your time.

zig zag circle

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

7.  Remove the stabilizer.  Once you’ve completed all of the stitching around your applique, it’s time to remove the stabilizer.  If you’re using a tear-away stabilizer, be gentle when you remove it.  I like to place my fingers along the stitching (from the wrong side) as I tear the stabilizer.  You want to avoid pulling your stitches as you tear and possibly damaging them.

The picture below shows what the back of my table topper looks like after I’ve torn away the stabilizer from outside of the applique.  I’m choosing to leave it on the inside of my shapes (only do this if you’re using the appropriate type of stabilizer such as Ricky Tims Stable Stuff Poly).

stabilizer trimmed back

 

Turned Edge Applique by Machine

This project is perfect for an applique technique that creates a turned edge using fusible interfacing.  The shapes are big and simple enough to make this an easy option.  Once you have your shapes ready, you can fuse them onto the background fabric because the fusible side of the interfacing is on the back of the shape.  This gives you just enough adhesion to keep everything in place while you stitch around the shape.

There are three advantages to using this technique:

  1. You don’t need to use a blanket stitch or a zig zag stitch.
  2. It can help minimize any shadowing that might occur if your background fabric is darker than your applique motif.
  3. It can look like it was done by hand if you use invisible thread for the stitching.

I’m going to show you the steps as it applies to this project.  A good place to look for more detailed information is my tutorial, Turned Edge Applique.  Again, nitty gritty details.

Here is what one of the petals looks like from my first Spring Petals Table Topper using this technique:

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

Supplies:

  • Lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Frixion pen (optional)
  • Pinking shears
  • Clear monofilament thread (optional)
  • Chop stick or other soft-pointed tool (for turning)

Step 1: Cut the interfacing into approximately (16) 3 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ rectangles.

Step 2:  This is almost the same as Step 1 for the raw edge machine applique at the beginning of this lesson.  You can trace from the pattern or make a template to trace around.  You will be tracing onto the smooth side of the fusible interfacing, not the bumpy side.  I like to use a Frixion pen for tracing (it will disappear when ironed) or you can use a pencil.

trace template interface

 

Step 3:  Place the bumpy side of the interfacing against the right side of the petal fabric.  The side that you drew on should be on top.  Pin in place.

layer interface and fabric

 

Step 4:  Stitch on the drawn line using a short stitch length (between 1.5 and 1.8).  Go slow and be careful.  This will become your turned edge so you want it to be nice and smooth.

stitch interface

 

Step 5:  Trim about 1/4″ from the stitched edge.  I like to use pinking shears for this as it eases the fabric around the curves.  If you don’t have pinking shears, then regular scissors will do.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Cut the tip of the petal close to the point (about 1/8″) to reduce bulk there.

point clipped

 

Step 6:  Turn right side out:  Make a small snip in the interfacing after you have pulled it away from the fabric.  Then enlarge the snip into a 1″-2″ slit.  Turn right side out through the slit.  Run a chop stick or other tool along the inside edges to complete.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

TIP:  I like to use a pin to poke out the tips of each petal.  But be careful, you don’t want to poke too much or you’ll end up with a hole!

pin point

 

TIP:  Get a manicure before taking close up pictures of your fingernails!

You can use a wooden iron or your fingers to flatten or “press” the edges of the petal.  Just don’t use a real iron because you’ll fuse your shape onto your pressing surface.

wooden iron

 

Step 7:  Fuse the petals onto the background squares.  I press for about 10-12 seconds using a cotton setting and then I press from the wrong side for the same amount of time.  Check to make sure it has fused well.  Note:  The picture below shows the petal being fused onto a single square.  Yours will be fused onto the square after it has been sewn together with the other squares.

turned edge press

 

Step 8:  Make the circles.  I like to use a different technique to get a turned edge on circles.  I’m going to refer you to my previous tutorial on turned edge applique.  About half way down the page of that tutorial, I show you how to use Perfect Circles by Karen Kay Buckley to make gathered circles.  You can also use your own favorite method.

You have the option of adding the circles now or waiting until after you’ve stitched the petals down.  That way you can stitch the petals in a more continuous line than if you had to stop at the circles each time.  (I don’t recommend this if you’re using fused, raw edge applique.  The stitches from the applique might show through as bumps on the circles.)

TIP:  You can fussy cut fabric to make your circles stand out.

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Step 9:  Stitch the applique shapes down.   You have several options for this step.

Option 1:  To get a hand-appliqued look, you need to use invisible monofilament thread.  My favorite brand is Superior Threads® – MonoPoly.  It has all of the properties of invisible thread, but it’s made out of polyester instead of nylon.  Some people don’t like to work with invisible thread because it really is hard to see.  But that’s a good thing if you’re looking for invisibility.

TIP:  Use cotton thread in the bobbin when working with monofilament thread.

The stitch I use for this is similar to a blind hem stitch.  It’s called a vari-overlock stitch on the Bernina. It takes 2-3 straight stitches followed by a “V” or bite to the right (which needs to be mirror-imaged so it bites to the left).  If you can, adjust your settings so the stitch width is really narrow (for my machine that is 1.1 and my length is at 1.6)  If you don’t have the vari-overlock stitch, then use a blind hem stitch.  It should automatically bite to the left.

The straight stitches should fall in the background fabric right next to the applique shape.

turned edge clear right swing

 

The bite should just catch the edge of the petal.

turned edge clear left swings

 

Here is a close up of the finished stitch.  You can see the bobbin thread a little bit, which is a good reminder to check your tension:

turned edge blind hem close

 

Here is what it looks like from the back:

turned edge back side close

 

If you don’t have a blind hem stitch or your machine doesn’t allow you to adjust the width so that it’s narrow enough, you could use a zig zag stitch.  With invisible thread, you won’t see it and the result will be very similar.  Your zig zag stitch should be as narrow as you can allow and the length should be about 2.0.  You want to just catch the edge of the applique and keep the right swing of the needle close to the applique’s edge (in the background).  You can see how the stitch follows close to the edge in the picture below:

turned edge zig close up

 

Option 2:  Use a straight stitch and match the thread color to your petals.  This will give your applique a more tailored look and you will definitely see your stitches.  The nice thing is that it’s really easy!  Stitch close to the edge of the shape and make your stitch length between 2.0 and 2.5.

turned edge straight close up

 

You could also use a zig zag stitch and coordinating thread.  I tried that and it looks o.k., but not my favorite:

turned edge pink zig close

 

Option 3:  You could stitch your applique shapes down at the same time that you quilt your project.  It’s more efficient that way and very easy – especially if you’re using the straight stitch.  I’m not doing this for mine because I don’t want any surprises later. Plus I needed to take pictures of the steps!

Machine Applique Lesson, Spring Petals QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

 

Step 10:  Relax and have a glass of wine (or a cup of tea)!  Whew!  You made it through the very long and excruciating pleasant and extremely helpful applique lesson!

I’d love to hear which technique you end up using.  As always, let me know if you have any questions.  I’m sure someone else has the same question, so you’re doing us all a favor by asking it in the comment section.

Post pictures of your progress on Instagram or Flickr using the hashtag #springpetalsqal.

Thanks for sticking with me on this part of the quilt along.  It’s not always the funnest part but I think it’s the most rewarding!

Julie

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Your support helps me maintain the content of my blog and I am truly grateful!  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Prize information and a non-applique option for the Spring Petals QAL

I am so excited to announce that the Fat Quarter Shop has generously offered two $25 gift certificates as prizes for the Spring Petals Quilt Along!  I adore the people at the Fat Quarter Shop and it’s my “go to” spot for online shopping, especially their block of the month programs.  Make sure to check out their Precuts of the Week and 24-hour flash sale for extra savings.

logo-main-holiday

Plus, I have a little prize package that I’ve put together that includes a charm pack of Vintage Modern, two mini charm packs of Tapestry, a Canning Season pattern and a Seam Fix seam ripper.

prize package

To be entered into the prize drawing, you need to have a completed Spring Petals table topper (it does not need to be quilted) and submit a picture to the linky tool.  The linky will be available on May 8 (the end of the quilt along) and it will continue be open until June 6.  I’ll pick THREE winners on June 6 and announce the winners on June 7.

I know many of you may not be participating in this quilt along because you’re not a fan of applique.  When you see that word, you turn and head for the door.  Does that sound like you?  I have been playing with the Spring Petals design and a charm pack of fabric.  I discovered a great way to make this table topper without applique, and it’s almost as cute as the original!

Spring petals no applique

What do you think?  If you’re not into applique, then this could be your answer.  Or if you want to make another table topper just for fun (and a little quicker than the applique version), then do it!

You can find all of the information (including the original pattern) for the Spring Petals Quilt Along at the Spring Petals QAL tab on the top of my blog.  It will be updated as we progress.

I used a charm pack plus additional yardage for the white border and the corner triangles.  You could use whatever you have on hand – it doesn’t take much!

Supplies and cutting:

  • (4) 5″ squares for the “center square”
  • (8) 3″ x 5″ rectangles of white fabric for the side units
  • (4) 3″ squares of white fabric for the corner units
  • (8) 2 1/2″ x 5″ rectangles for the side units
  • (4) 2 1/2″ x 5″ rectangles for the corner units
  • (4) 2 1/2″ x 3″ rectangles for the corner units
  • (2) 7 1/4″ squares, cut in half on the diagonal for the corner triangles

Version 3 cutting

All seams are 1/4″.

Make the table topper units:

First, sew together the (4) 5″ squares of blue fabric for the center square of the table topper.

To make the side units, stitch a 3″ x 5″ white rectangle to a 2 1/2″ x 5″ dark rectangle. It should measure 5″ square.  I pressed half the seams toward the white fabric and half toward the dark fabric to create opposing seams.  Make 8.

The corner units are made by stitching a 3″ white square to a 2 1/2″ x 3″ dark rectangle.  Stitch this unit to a 2 1/2″ x 5″ dark rectangle.  Make 4.

corner square sewing 2

 

Assemble the table topper:

Arrange the corner units, side units and center square as shown below.

version 3 pieces

 

Stitch the units together to form three rows:

version 3 rows

 

Sew the rows together and you have the center of your table topper finished.

ve3rsion3 done

 

Add the corner triangles.

Find the center of each triangle by folding it in half.  Match the triangle center to the center of each side.  Stitch.  Press towards the triangle.

Version 2 of Spring Petals copy

This table topper is the exact same size as the original version.  I hope you give one of them a try!  This version also qualifies for the linky and prizes.

If you’re on Instagram, use the hashtag #springpetalsqal and make sure to follow me, The Crafty Quilter.  You can keep up with my progress and see what everyone else is doing, too.  If you use Flickr, you can tag your photos with “springpetalsqal” and you can follow me there.

Stay tuned for the applique lesson this Friday!

Julie

Sew Thankful Sunday, April 2015

{I am frequently visiting other blogs and I’m always amazed at the talent and passion that I see along the way.  Since I love sharing these new “finds” with you, I created Sew Thankful Sunday.  My way of giving back to the quilting community and sharing great content with you at the same time!}

Sew Thankful Button

April is here and I wasn’t sure if I would get to my Sew Thankful post this month.  But, I couldn’t pass up the chance to share a few things that I know you’ll appreciate!

(Remember, you can click on any of the images in this post and it will open up a new tab to the associated link).

1.  Jacquelynne Steves has just published her Spring edition of The Art of Home e-magazine and it is packed with great stuff!  It includes a recipe, mini table topper pattern, embroidery pattern, and much more.  Plus it’s free (sew very thankful)!

TheArtOfHome_JacquelynneSteves_Spring2015

 

2.  I love this Spinwheel quilt block tutorial from Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts.  It’s one that you will definitely want to add to your block library.

Spinwheel-block-TBH-600x600

Quilt Block Tutorial @ Blossom Heart Quilts

 

3.  If you want to learn some new quilting techniques, then join the School Bell Has Rung Sampler Quilt Along at Laugh Yourself Into Stitches.  Karen will walk you through the steps of making this sampler in five lessons.  This is my kind of school!

School Bell Has Rung Sampler

The School Bell Has Rung at Laugh Yourself Into Stitches

 

4.  Get back to basics with Katy at The Littlest Thistle as she shows you how to make a quarter-square triangle unit several different ways.  Plus she has included a cutting chart for different sizes and techniques!

4-Colour-HST-To-QST-Conversion-Step-4

Quarter Square Triangle Tutorial @ The Littlest Thistle

 

 

5.  You’ll love this Embroidery Hoop Storage Pocket tutorial by Ros at Sew Delicious.  It’s so cute and functional, too!

embroidery hoop peg board

Embroidery Hoop Storage Pocket @ Sew Delicious

 

6.  If you want to learn about a great tool for making flying geese or half-square triangle units, then check out A Quilting Life.  Sherri shows you how to use the Easy Angler II, and save time while you’re sewing.

Easy Angler Flying Geese

Flying Geese using the Easy Angler II @ A Quilting Life

 

7.  It might be time for a Spring Table Runner and you can find it at the Sizzix Blog.  This table runner was designed by Karin at Leigh Laurel Studios.  I love the easy piecing!

table-runner-1-by-karin-jordan-for-sizzix-600x600

Spring Table Runner by Karin Jordan @ The Sizzix Blog

 

8.  To pre-wash or not pre-wash your fabric is a much debated topic in quilting.  Pam at Heartspun Quilts has some informative thoughts about it that I think you’ll appreciate.  (Personally, I don’t pre-wash, but I recently learned the hard way that you should always use a Shout Color Catcher when washing a red and white quilt).

Prewash or not

Prewash Fabric thoughts @ Heartspun Quilts

 

That’s all for now.  Thanks for joining me and have fun checking out all of the blogs featured today.

Julie