Made It

3 05 2009

I caught up with two days to spare before the next block is released.  In case you’ve missed the previous blocks, this is a free block of the month from Bunny Hill Designs.


For the bow at the top I used back basting applique.  I learned this method several years ago and use it anytime the applique is fussy.  (I still like freezer paper for very simple shapes.)  I went ahead and did a short tutorial to show how it is done.

1.  Start with the background fabric (usually I would be marking the whole block, but this time I had the rest of applique finished) and a reversed copy of the pattern — you could turn the pattern upside down on a light box if you don’t have a way to reverse the pattern.


2.  Place the fabric right side down and centered on the pattern on a light box.


3.  Trace the design onto the back side of the block.  I use regular pencil, you could use wash out marker.   With the pencil I trace dark enough to see the marks, but not so dark that it shows through to the right side.  I have used colored pencils when the background is dark.


4. Pin the applique fabric to the right side of the background over the place you plan to applique.  You may need to hold the block up to the light to be sure the entire applique piece is covered by fabric.


5.  The applique fabric is going to be basted onto the front of the block.  I use cheap thread I still have from 20 years ago that I won’t use on my sewing machine.  Any thread will work as long as it contrasts enough with the applique fabric to clearly see it.  I also use a fat needle for basting.  I do this because I can see the holes the needle made when I pull the basting thread.


6.  Baste exactly on the stitching line.  The stitches don’t need to be super small, but not huge either.  The tighter the curves or smaller the detail the smaller you will want your stitches.  I baste down underlaps (the parts that will be covered by other applique) usually my stitches are bigger there.  It is important to be accurate in the basting because the accuracy here will determine the accuracy of the block.


7.  Once the piece is basted in place trim away the excess fabric.


8.  I usually leave less than a 1/4 inch to turn under probably close to 3/16.  The more you applique the better feel you will have for how much you need to leave to turn under.


9.  You can start stitching anywhere you feel comfortable.  Just clip the basting thread and pull out a stitch or two.  You want to pull the basting just ahead of where you will stitch.  Turn the applique fabric under to the basting line and stitch the piece in place.  Continue to pull the basting thread just ahead of where you are stitching.  This is when I can see the holes the fat needle left.


10.  This method is very accurate.  If you flip the block over you will almost always have stitched right on the traced line.  In fact I usually have a hard time seeing the traced line when I’m finished because the stitching hits it so perfectly.


I did end up putting embroidery on this bow after I appliqued it, because I decided I didn’t have enough contrast.

I used the back baste applique method for all the blocks in this quilt and also for all the blocks in my Hearts and Flowers quilt (I’m still trying to decide on a border for this one).  This is one block from that quilt.





3 responses

3 05 2009

Thanks for the tutorial. I’ve never seen that technique before, but I will definitely be giving it a try. I like the freezer paper method, but for “fussy” pieces, it just doesn’t work. This looks interesting!

5 05 2009

Very lovely. I was glad to see the tutorial that you did. Makes understanding the how’s much more.

26 07 2009

Thanks for coming to Palmer Divide quilt guild and speaking. I got a lot out of it, Can’t wait to try this technique! Have an applique quilt to start on with lots of small fussy pieces. Thanks again

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