Monday, February 16, 2009

Marking Applique Placement

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!



AlpHa Buttonpusher said...

sweet sweet sweet blog :)

Fiesta said...

Karen the mark be gone is the only marking pen I use religiously. So far I have never had a problem. Now it comes double sided with a dissapearing ink on one side but you have to work really fast because it does go away fast.
How is the green challegne coming along?
Do you know that the bamboo batting is not that easy to find anymore. Would you happen to know why and if there is another eco -friendly one coming out??

Shnoodle said...

I am newer to applique - but would a tracing paper overlay work as well? Seems a little cheaper than upholstery vinyl. I really like your basting stitch method...

Yvette said...

Good idea on the basting method. I use a light box but as you said, it just isn't portable.

Your stitchery came out great!

Catherine said...

Have you ever tried back basting? I have tried overlays, vinyl and others, outlining the design faintly on the front of the background piece but now that I've tried back basting it's the only method I use. If you trace the pattern well on the back of your background, you will have perfect placement every time. It's almost like magic.

Terry said...

Hi Karen! I haven't done much applique but your ideas all look good to me! Love your willow tree stitchery! :0)

Kaaren said...

Hi Karen,
I'm relatively new to applique and I what I'm learning is there are as many adaptations on "original" themes as there are people who applique. I love to try everyone's preferred method til I find what works best for me.

I took a class a couple of weeks ago from Lynda Smyth from Ottawa. She does what shes calls "inside the line" back basting. It's kind of a combination of what Catherine above described and what you do. Briefly, the element is traced onto the reverse side of the fabric and the outer most areas are indicated by pinning. Using the pins as a guideline as to where to place the fabric for the element to be appliqued, you then pin it to the right side of the fabric and remove the pins on the backside. Then you baste on the reverse side 1/8" in from the line all around the element as this is your guideline for the needleturn. Trim 1/4" all the way around from where you basted. It's uncanny but after appliqueing, if you turn the piece over, your stitches fall exactly on the line that was marked on the reverse side. Does this make sense?

YankeeQuilter said...

I had problems with the weight of the vinyl so tried using the pattern tracing fabric that has a blue grid line on it. It is really light weight and worked well. At the end of the day though I think I use a slightly different technique (or combination) on every project!

belinda said... ALL answered alot of my questions
about the applique....I haven't done that much
but would like too...these comments will help
me with some different techniques!!

Carrie P. said...

That is a great technique with the freezer paper and basting stitch. Thanks for sharing it.

Susan said...

I love the idea of using basting stitches to mark applique layouts! Thanks for sharing such a great tip!

Alba said...

Thanks for a great suggestion. I'm an applique fiend but am usually not very careful about positioning the pieces. Will try this method along with the others that have been mentioned here.