As promised, today I’m learning a method of hand appliqué preparation that’s new to me. Holly Mabutas of Eat Cake Graphics gave me her pattern insert with instructions for what she calls “glue stick turned edge appliqué” and I’m trying it out! What intrigues me about this method is that the margin of the fabric is glued back on itself. I’ve tried the other kind of glue-stick appliqué, where the margin is turned and glued over freezer paper, then after stitching you soak the block, slit the back, and get the freezer paper out. That method never ‘stuck’ with me, no pun intended. Now I’m going to try it this way, where the freezer paper is on the front of the fabric.
The first thing I did was to go out and get a brand-new glue stick. I happened to know that the ones I had were a mite dried out — moral of the story, don’t buy them too far in advance, or try keeping them in the fridge as a friend of mine told me.
As it happens, we’re having a heat wave in Santa Cruz. There are just a few days a year when we roast… yesterday it was 102º and I was sweating just sitting upstairs in my studio. So today I gathered up everything that I needed and put up my handy-dandy little table from Costco downstairs in the living room to work in cooler conditions.
Freezer-paper templates traced and cut out.
I used the bunny block from my Spin in the Garden pattern.
I had to run upstairs to iron the templates onto the right sides of the fabrics. I used a piece of cardboard underneath, which helps create a better bond.
The next step is to trim the motifs, leaving a scant ¼” turn-under margin. Here are the pieces, trimmed and clipped. There’s a dashed line on areas that are going to be overlapped by another piece.
Gluing the margin back onto itself on the wrong side. Holly says to use an awl… I didn’t have one so I used a stylus with a tiny, sharp tip. The moist sponge is for cleaning off the glue stick when it gets thready. I’m working on top of an plastic sheet protector.
Here are all the pieces glued and with templates removed.
I wasn’t a whiz at the previously unused fine motor skills required to turn the margin with the implement, but I’m thinking I can smooth things out as I stitch. And, as Holly says, “Don’t be too hard on yourself if things aren’t perfect the first time or even the second. With a little patience and practice you’ll do just fine. ”
Again using the sheet protector, I’m positioning the pieces to join them together into units. No background fabric involved at this point! Holly advises using little dots of Roxanne’s basting glue for this step. I didn’t have any so I hauled out some really ancient stuff called Border Patrol. Turns out this was a misstep on my part, and I’ll tell you why later. Anyway, I used it on the edges of the tail and ears that were going under the body piece, and glued the bunny together.
Here’s a whole bunny, separate unto itself, edges turned and ready to hop onto different background fabrics until it finds its favorite one.
Here I’ve positioned all of the elements on the background fabric and have used the liquid glue to secure them in place. Still hoping I can work out those pokies.
All stitched… and it worked! I was able to manipulate out the little bumps. For the more serious ones, I dipped a cotton swab in water and soaked the edge of the motif. The glue released immediately and I was then able to smooth out the curve with my needle.
Okay so here’s why the liquid basting glue I used was not a good choice. Turns out, unlike Roxanne’s, it’s a permanent glue, and I used it in some injudicious places. See the little spot on the bunny’s paw? It’s confusing, but when you look at glue labels, you want it to say “water soluble” or “washes out.” “Washable” means it doesn’t wash out!
Anyway, aside from that little “learning experience,” I’d say this is the best method of turned-edge glue stick appliqué I’ve tried. For one thing, you don’t need a reversed pattern… what you see is what you get. Plus, you don’t have any freezer paper to remove once you’ve finished stitching. Holly appliqués these by hand, and so did I. If the templates were on the inside you’d have a crinkly, crunchy time of it, but here, where they’re gone already, it was a pleasant stitching experience. And a big thundercloud came along and cooled things down considerably.
Thanks a million, Holly, for sharing your preferred method with me, and allowing me to show it other appliqué fans. If you like an edge that’s already turned before you start stitching, this might become your favorite too! Get one of Holly’s adorable patterns and try it out for yourself.
See A Spin in the Garden over at Quilt Puppy.
Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs