Friday, May 13, 2011


There must be a hundred ways to do applique.  The other day Maggie, teacher at the Attic Window Quilt Shop, generously agreed to show me how she does applique and put together this little tutorial.  I don't think I will ever know all there is to know about freezer paper applique.  Maggie’s technique is similar to mine.   However, I learned a lot during our time together today and hope you will too.  Read on because Maggie has some great tips for you.
First of all Maggie traces her pattern onto two pieces of freezer paper ironed together.  (Click on witch’s feet on sidebar for pictures of how to do this).  Above are two templates that she has traced and cut out, ready to be ironed onto her fabrics.
These are the items you will need to do freezer paper applique:  Your freezer paper templates, Best Press starch, a stencil brush, small scissors with a sharp point (she uses Kai scissors), a Clover iron.  Maggie says that Best Press is the best starch to use.  It doesn’t flake, does not make your fabric stiff, and it will take out any and all wrinkles.
You can see here that she cuts around the template leaving about 1/8th inch of fabric.  She uses those sharp pointed scissors to snip into the curved areas.  Be careful not to snip too close to the template.
After spraying a small amount of starch into a cup, she dips her brush into the starch and applies it to the fabric, trying not to get any on the template.   (You will get some on the template, just don’t saturate it.) 
Pull the fabric around the template and with your Clover iron press the fabric dry.  Maggie says that often she can just push the fabric over the template with the iron.  
TIP:  If when you are finished ironing the fabric around your template, you find a bump (maybe your fabric didn’t fold perfectly), you can smooth it out simply by tapping the edge of your iron on the edge of your template.
Sometimes Maggie likes to use two different fabrics for a leaf.  Here she sewed two strips of fabric together.  At the top of the picture, she set her templates on top of the fabric to get a picture of how they might look.  She then placed her template on the wrong side of the fabric, lining the center of the leaf with the stitching line.  Then she cut her leaf leaving 1/8 inch of fabric around the edge.
On the leaf, Maggie pressed the seam to the darker side.  The tips of the leaf were a bit more difficult today since we had the added bulk from the seam.  After applying starch, Maggie irons the edge of the leaf. 
Here she pulls down the fabric at the top point.  She then pulls the fabric from the other edge over to create a sharp point.  She then irons that down, continues to iron the other edge and proceeds on to the other point. 
Above you can see how the leaf looks from the right side.  If it is not to your satisfaction, you can iron from this side also, manipulating the fabric to get the point you want.  TIP:  If your fabric starts to fray on these points, or when you have a sharp V that is giving your trouble, you can use Fray Block by June Taylor.  It dries clear and stays soft even after you wash it.
 These are the three pieces we worked on today.  Maggie cuts her background fabric one inch larger than the pattern says in order to compensate for shrinkage when stitching.  She will resize her block when stitching is complete.  She uses size 11 straw needles when doing appliqué.  TIP:  If you find a stray thread at a V or anyplace else, she runs the tip of her needle in a glue stick, and then slides the needle over the stray thread and under the fabric taking that stray thread with it.  Just hold the fabric and pull the needle out and the stray thread is where it should be, beneath the article being appliquéd. 

Maggie uses Mettler 60 weight thread and tries to match the color to the fabrics.  She has found that sometimes she just cannot find the right color and uses thread #698 as it will match everything.  She also recommends that you have on hand three shades of grey (light, medium, and dark)  as it will match just about anything too.  

TIP:  Sometimes black thread seems to just lay on top of your fabric.  Maggie says she has found that using dark navy (#759) is better than black and blends in well with black, brown or navy fabrics. 

Maggie says that she does not use pins when placing her pieces onto the background fabric.  She uses Roxanne’s Glue.  She first folds her background fabric in half and in half again, ironing in the creases to use as placement guides.  Using glue eliminates any need for pins that always get in the way when you are trying to sew.

ATTENTION:  Maggie will host an Applique Club that will meet at the Attic Window the third Monday of each month from 1-3 p.m.  This will be a time for sharing ideas and conversation.  You bring any applique project you are working on or have questions about and Maggie will be there to help.  This class begins on June 20 and it is FREE

Thanks Maggie for such an interesting and helpful day.  I love all your tips and I think the old saying is true…”you’re never too old to learn.”   This old gal learned a lot today!
Stay Positive!


paulette said...

Wow!! Thank you Maggie!! I learned tons!! Wish I could attend your workshop!!

Allie said...

Maggie sounds like a great teacher - there are tips here I've never heard of. Wish I could come take a class!

Mama Pea said...

Great tips! Thanks Maggie and Caroll! I love to hear and read things like this, even though I do applique in a similar manner. You can always learn something new, or sometimes be reminded of what you once knew but forgot! Great!

Sand and Sunshine said...

Great Tips. I've also found silk thread to be a tremendous help.

Elisa said...

Thank you for the great tutorial! I clicked on witch's feet and now I'm enthralled with that pattern. I clicked the templates link, though, and it said the pages were no longer available. Is it temporary or has it been taken down?

Miss Nancy said...

This tutorial is wonderful, so full of useful information and tips. Thank you so much for sharing.

Have a super great sewing and stitching day.

Quilting Teachers at the shop.

Quilting Teachers at the shop.
Chris, Marilyn, Jill, Lee Anne, Sue, Vickie

Quilts For Wheels

Quilts For Wheels
Many thanks and much appreciation goes to the women who work diligently each month to make quilts for those in wheel chairs. Kudos go to: Yvonne, Mary T., Fran, Joan, Mary Ellen, Barb, Lee Ann, Nancy, Mary.

Quilting for Kids With Cancer

Quilting for Kids With Cancer
Generosity has no bounds. Above are the women in the Quilts For Kids group at the Attic Window Quilt Shop. Left to right, Henrietta, Phyllis, Nancy, Carol, Karen. These women donate their time, fabric, money once a month to make quilts for kids who have cancer.