Mock Hand Applique

22 06 2009

I wanted to do a tutorial on mock hand applique for my presentation next week. I woke up this morning with an idea.  So I ran with it, and created the following tutorial.  I’m going to insert a disclaimer here.  This would never be one of my top choices as a method for applique.  I know some people love it, but there are at least three reasons I’m not wild about it.  First, if I’m going to put this much prep work into something I’d rather do the stitching by hand.  Second, I’m just not that accurate with the stitching on this method — it could be my eyes.  Finally the backing has to be slit or cut away to remove the paper.  I typically avoid doing that so that my finished quilt top is more stable.  Having said all that, this is another method for applique so let’s take a look at the process.

1.  I created my own pattern in Photoshop.  There are  many fun ways to use the computer for applique.  It is so easy to do lettering.  I’m fairly certain I left this jpg at full size so you could click on the picture and then print it for a pattern if you want.  You certainly wouldn’t have to use this applique method!Freedom-drawing

2.  I was very lazy today and instead of tracing the pattern onto freezer paper, I cut the freezer paper to 8-1/2 x 11 and put it through my printer.  I did mirror image the design before printing it on the freezer paper.


3.  I cut out the patterns with a craft knife (aka Exacto knife).  Scissors would work, but for this project I ended up using both the pattern pieces and the cut away background.


4.  Next a pressed the freezer paper shapes to the wrong side of the applique fabric.


5.  I then cut out each applique piece leaving a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  I did clip curves and inside corners as close as possible to the freezer paper.


6. I covered my work surface with scrap paper and used a washable glue stick and a skewer (or tooth pick) to glue the seam allowance to the freezer paper.


A short video might show it better.

7.  After all my applique pieces were prepared, I used the background from my pattern as a placement guide.  I used dots of washable school glue on the back of the pieces to glue baste.  I pressed with a hot iron to dry the glue quickly.


8.  The next step is to stitch the pieces down.  I used a blind hem stitch which I narrowed to about .7mm.   The narrower you can get it and catch the applique fabric the better.  I also shortened the stitch.  The straight stitches should be on the background fabric right next to the applique and the bite of the stitch that swings in should just catch a couple of threads and then swing back to the outside edge.  I think I may need the magnifier attachment for my machine, because this was not a fun process today.

9.  After all the pieces are stitched down, the freezer paper needs to be removed from the applique pieces.  Carefully make slits in the background fabric behind the applique.  The glue needs to be gotten wet to be able to remove the paper.  I just soaked the whole piece with water for a little bit and then removed the paper.  You could also try laying a damp towel on the piece for a bit to loosen the glue.


10.  Finally press the whole piece dry.  I did it from the back.  You will want to be careful  using a hot iron on the monofiliment thread, because it can melt.  Here is my final piece.  I’m not overjoyed with the quality, but at least it showed the process.




3 responses

22 06 2009

Oh my goodness that looks like a lot of work. I think I tried something similar to that once, and went right back to fusible web. And I tried it with a simple shape – a circle, or something – and HATED it, lol. Great job on all that lettering!

3 07 2009


Just FYI, a few years ago I took a class with Beth Ferrier (I’m pretty sure she was the one who used this product, but don’t quote me on it.:)). Anyways, she does this mock hand appliqué, but instead of using freezer paper, she uses a product from Floriani called Stitch N Wash Fusible. She traces the pattern, fuses it, glues down the seam allowances, and appliqués it, just the same as freezer paper. But, because it’s mostly water soluble (it actually doesn’t completely dissolve; some of the fibers are left), she gets the whole piece wet, and doesn’t remove the pattern pieces from the back. She just lets it dissolve and leaves what doesn’t dissolve under the appliqué piece. This doesn’t help any with your first two objections to this technique and you may already be aware of it, but I thought I’d share the info. just the same.:)

7 07 2009

Thanks Joanna, I’ve been downloading Beth Ferrier’s free quilt patterns for several years. I went back and checked her directions on applique and she does mention the alternative to freezer paper. She also has full directions for freezer paper. I still don’t think it is going to be a method I use much. I just find hand applique very relaxing and portable. Thank you for taking the time to provide great information here!

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