When I first started to applique, the big question was, how do you get each piece positioned correctly on the background fabric? So, I went to my quilting books for the answer. One method was tracing the pattern to your background fabric, with a faint pencil line. I didn't like that idea, because there was always the chance that your applique shapes may not perfectly cover the pencil marks.
The second method was using a light box. I didn't like that method either, because it was not very portable. Each time you need to add another applique piece, you have to take your project to the light box, place it over the pattern, position and pin down the next piece.
I wanted portable and no chance of placement marks showing. So, this is what I came up with. I take all my freezer paper templates, that I used to prepare my pattern pieces and I position them correctly, on the background fabric. Then, I iron them down. Next, I do a basting stitch around the pattern pieces. Remove the freeze paper templates and I am ready to applique. It doesn't take anymore time to prepare then, tracing with a pencil or getting up and down from your chair to go to the light box. Any basting stitches (not covered by applique) can be removed as you applique or when you finish the project.
Recently, I tried the clear upholstery vinyl overlay method. I will use this method again, mainly because I have a very large piece of upholstery vinyl left. It takes some getting use to and there is a chance of the vinyl moving, as you are trying to position the next piece. I did feel more comfortable with it, as I went along. This method is also portable. Robin did a wonderful job, using vinyl, on her airplane.
Even more recently, on my January A Tisket, A Tasket basket, I used a Fine Point Mark-B-Gone Pen to trace the pattern onto the background fabric. A good substitute for the faint pencil line. I didn't trace the whole pattern onto the background fabric, just the key points. For example, the corners of the basket and the points of the stars. Once appliqued, I use a small paintbrush and removed any blue marks. This pen does come with a warning. It is not suitable for all fabrics. It may react with the finishes or dyes (red and pink in particular) of some fabric. I have also heard stories about blue reappearing on the fabric, sometime later.
I am very happy with my basting stitch method and I like the Mark-B-Gone Pen, but will use it sparingly and with caution.
Just one thing to show you this week. Under the Willow, the first block of the Veranda Views BOM. Such a beautiful pattern.
Until next week.....happy quilting!