Applique - The Freezer Paper Method

Thursday, July 31, 2014

There are many different methods of applique and they're all good for different reasons.  Today, I'm happy to share with you a quick tutorial on my favorite method of applique ~ The Freezer Paper Method!  This is the method I use 95% of the time and I like it for several different reasons.

Two of the main reasons I prefer this method over other methods 
is because:

1. The template is removed once the applique shape is prepared.
This is nice because there is no paper or other material left inside that needs to somehow be removed or is just left there 
to cause stiffness and bulk.

2. The shape is perfectly prepared before glue basting it in place.
This is nice because (A) you don't have to fiddle with and hope that you're needle turning skills will do the job and keep your shape looking as it should and (B) you can then position the shapes exactly where you want them and don't have to worry about your pieces shifting.

One downside to The Freezer Paper Method, is that it does require some prep work (but I don't really mind - my OCD tendencies like that part!)  Once you get your shapes prepared you are then able to take them with you in the car or or to a soccer game (or wherever!) and you're free to stitch away along the perfectly crisp edges you've already prepared.

So are you ready to try it out?

To get started you will need:

- Freezer Paper (which you can get at most grocery stores.  It is located by the wax paper and foil.)
- Spray Starch (I prefer the Faultless brand that you can get at most grocery stores.  I prefer the Regular Starch with the red lid but my store was out of it last time I checked.)
- a paint brush
- a small bowl or the starch lid
- a pencil
- scissors for paper and fabric
- basting glue (I prefer Appli-Glue by Jillily Studios)
- a pattern
- fabric for the applique shape and the background
- thread that matches the applique piece (I usually use 100% cotton, the Guitermann brand.  Some people prefer silk thread (it's nice too because it practically melts into your fabric but I've heard it's not as durable.)
- an applique needle (I use Milliners Size 11 Large Eye Needles by Richard Hemming & Son).

Step 1: Trace your pattern onto the paper side of freezer paper.

Step 2: Iron the freezer paper on top of two more pieces of freezer paper (paper sides up) to create one sturdy piece of template material.

3. Carefully cut out the shape.

4. Press the shape onto the wrong side of your fabric with paper side up.

5. Cut around the shape leaving a 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance.

6. Spray a little bit of starch into a small bowl or the starch lid.

7. Use a small paint brush to paint some liquid starch onto the seam allowance.  Just paint a couple inches at a time.

8. Carefully press the seam allowance onto the paper side of the template - wrapping the fabric around the edge of the template (without bumping the template too much where it would bend or distort the shape).  If your shape has a strong curve to it you may want to make some small clips in the seam allowance about 1/2" apart (being careful NOT to clip right up to the template).  My orange leaf (here) has a gentle curve so it was not necessary to clip the seam allowance. Also, if your shape has a crevice (such as at the top of a heart) you will need to clip in there too.

9. Continue to press the seam allowance around the entire template.

10. If you end up with these little dog ears, simply fold the part that is showing back underneath the template and press in place.  Use starch for extra hold.

11. Carefully remove the template and press the applique piece one last time. 

12. Apply small dots of basting glue about 1/4" apart on the seam allowances.

13. Adhere the applique shape onto your background fabric and press with a warm iron to set in place.

14. Thread a thin, sharp needle with coordinating thread.  Make a quilter's knot at the long end.

15. Starting at the backside of your fabric, bring the needle and thread through the background fabric (under your applique shape) and out through the fold of your applique shape.

16. Then take one stitch through the background fabric (starting directly under the point where your needle came out before).  Bring the needle and thread back through the fold of your applique shape about 1/8" away from the first stitch.  Continue taking these stitches around your shape until you get back to your starting point. Tie a knot on the backside of your fabric and you're done!

That's it!  I hope that if you have never tried applique (or don't think you're very good at it) you will try this method.  Practice makes perfect!  And coordinating thread sure helps too!

Happy quilting!
~ Amber

Orange Peel Mini Quilt and a Quilt Along!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Is anyone else obsessed with the Orange Peel design right now?  I have been dreaming of Orange Peel wall paper for my dining room, I just free motion quilted an Orange Peel design on my recently finished Scrappy Trip Around the World quilt (pictures coming soon) and I just started this Orange Peel mini quilt last week!  
I'm obsessed!  Obsessed I tell ya!

So when my boss at Just Sew asked me if I wanted to be in charge of the mini quilt of the month for August and she handed me the book 101 Fabulous Small Quilts by That Patchwork Place and I spied an Orange Peel quilt in it - I knew I just had to make it!  I've always wanted to make one and this was the perfect opportunity.

I decided to do a low-volume, scrappy background with bright fabrics for the leaves.  I've been loving that combo for a while now so I'm pretty excited about finally doing it.

(I had a little helper helping me plan my scrappiness.  She's pretty cute, eh?)

Because I'm on a deadline (this has to be appliqued, pieced, quilted and bound by the end of the month) I've set a goal to applique 8 leaves (or 1 row) every day.  I figure each leaf takes about 10 minutes to applique so it's just over an hour out of my day that I'm dedicating to this project for the next week or so.

I'm already half way done and I'm really loving seeing it come together!

I've posted more pictures of this project on Instagram.  
Feel free to follow along if you'd like.  My username is gigis_thimble.  

When I first posted about this project on IG, my friend Jodi Nelson of the blog, Pleasant Home showed some interest in the pattern so I roped her into making an Orange Peel quilt with me.  Be sure to stop by her blog if you haven't already.  She's posting about her Orange Peel quilt today too!  We thought it would be fun to start an Orange Peel Quilt Along but after a little research we found out that Jessica from the blog, Quilty Habit has one going on as we speak!  So Jodi and I are just going to sit back and enjoy the Orange Peel Quilt Along ride!  We hope you'll join us!

Jessica's got great pattern suggestions, applique tutorials, a schedule and there will even be some great prizes given away at the end!  You can click HERE for all the details. 

 Since someone on IG asked for it, I am going to do a tutorial on my favorite method of applique (the same method I'm using on this project).  So be sure to check back next week if you're interested in that.

So...Orange Peel - are you feelin' it?  
Yes or no?

~ Amber

A Vintage Quilt

Monday, July 7, 2014

 A few months ago I ran a few quilty errands with a friend and one of our first stops was to a fabric store in American Fork, Utah called The Sewing Basket.  They had a few antique quilts hanging around which were on consignment.  There was one hanging behind the cash register that really caught my eye.  And the more I looked at it the more I fell in love!

After much oohing and ahhing (and debating) we had the store owner call the quilt owner and make an offer for $100 less than the asking price.  After the offer was accepted I then had to work out how I was going to justify the purchase of $300 for this antique quilt.  To me, $300 was worth it for a hand pieced, vintage, queen size quilt - in GREAT condition!  I could really appreciate all of the time that went in to piecing such a quilt!

But at the time, I really felt bad about spending the money.  Lucky for me, my birthday and our wedding anniversary were coming up so my husband bought it for me as a gift for the special occasions.

The store owner found out a little information for me.  It was made by the grandmother of the lady who brought it in to The Sewing Basket.  She found it in her grandparents attic wrapped in an old newspaper dated 1944.  All of the fabrics are supposedly from the 30's.  I'm hoping to get a name of the quilt maker. I'm so curious what her story is.  I imagine this took many years to make and I want to know what she was doing when she wasn't hand piecing it.  What was her name?  How old was she when she started and finished it?  Did she have children and if so, how many?  Was she a farmer's wife?  I want to know the answer to these questions!

I think she must have been an avid quilter.  Her stitches were tiny and her color choices were great!

There are so many cute fabrics in it and the more I looked the quilt over the harder it was to decide which was my favorite! They really don't make prints like this anymore...

I love these novelty prints.

And I love this orange geometric print.

She even fussy cut some of the hexies!

And did I mention the colors are fabulous!?!


There is a slight discoloring on the muslin but I kind of love the charm it adds.

Overall, the quilt is in fabulous condition.  There are no holes in it but there are a few little stains like this one below.  I think they might come out with a gentle washing but right now I'm not ready to do that since it's still just a quilt top.

The maker finished off the edges with a triple row hexagon border (I just made that term up - I don't know what the actual name of this design and border is called...:) 

Someday I may start looking for some 30's yardage to back it with.  I've heard that a quilt is as old as it's newest fabric so I don't want to buy any current fabric to finish it with that will diminish it's value.

 For now it will stay a quilt top and hang in my sewing room.  

Do you have a vintage quilt?  Do they appeal to you?  
This one really makes my heart beat faster.  I love it.

Happy quilting :)