Now that you have your pieces cut out and your stems made, it’s time to lay out the design and ready it for stitching.
Most patterns have photos or diagrams to help with the layout of the design. My tip for getting the placement you want is simple. Fold your background to create subtle creases, almost like a grid. You can use these creases to help in laying out the design. You can also use rulers to find the center of your background.
To make sure your no part of your applique motif gets stitched into the seam allowance, mark a line 1/2″ in all the way around the background. That helps to define the stitching area. I do 1/2″ so my design is at least 1/4″ away from where the seam will be.
Use other applique pieces as a guide in placing stems. Stems are usually the first thing stitched on a project. But you don’t want to just guess where they go and risk having your whole design off center or have a stem covered by another piece when it’s not supposed to be. Below, I needed to make sure my center stem was placed where I want it, so I use the flower pot piece as a guide. I also use the ruler to make sure the stem is centered.
Now I can use my glue to glue the stem in place for stitching. Then I can remove the flower pot piece until I’m ready to stitch that into place. Below is how my background looks with all the stems in place ready to stitch.
If an applique piece is made up of pieces stitched one on top of another, it’s easier to stitch those together before stitching it to the background. For example, the medallion piece below has 4 pieces.
Start by stitching the blue circle to the green background, then add the star and finally, the small red circle. Then this whole medallion can be stitched in one piece onto the background.
When multiple pieces make up an applique piece (like above) it’s good practice to cut away excess fabric from inside the seam allowance each time you layer a piece. That way the finished unit is not too bulky when it comes time to quilt. Here’s the back of the medallion piece above that shows how I trimmed away the excess fabric:
So now that I gave you my tips on layout and stitching, below is a video showing these layout tips.
Come back next week for a step by step walk through of the applique stitch and stitching points and inside corners. Leave a comment and be entered into a drawing for my pattern, Sweet Harmony:
Drawing will be Monday, October 21st.