At Play with Applique


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At Play with Applique

  1. 1. At Play with Appliqué: Quilt Squares Appliqué derives from the French and means layering pieces of fabric over others and sewing them into place. Pieces of fabric may be attached by hand sewing, machine sewing, attached with iron-on webbing, or by the use of fabric glue. In this project, individually made quilt squares will be created, embellished, and joined together to make community quilts. Suggested Materials Fabric scissors, sewing and quilting needles, pins, thimbles Assorted fabrics, both solid colors and prints Assorted colors of felt (buy from large rolls by the yard or in individual pieces) Fusible (iron on) interfacing or webbing Thin quilt batting (buy from large rolls by the yard) Sewing machines Cardboard or mat board precut into squares to use as patterns (1/2 larger than the desired finished square to allow for seams) Paper and pencils for making patterns Embellishments: beads, yarn, lace, found objects, etc. Fabric glue Two Approaches to Making Quilt Squares One Layer Quilt Square For the simplest quilt square with no backing, cut out a square of fabric ½ inch larger than what size you want the finished square to be. Make some sketches of possible designs on paper and then cut them out. Use these paper pieces as patterns to trace and cut out the fabric pieces you want to add to your square. You can sew these pieces on by turning under the edges just a bit, pinning them in place and hand sewing them on. This type of quilt square does not have batting or a back at this point. These will be sewn together with batting and a fabric backing and quilted when all of these individual squares are complete, usually with a ¼-inch seam.
  2. 2. Three Layer Quilt Square To make a single quilt square such as the one shown here, you will need up to three layers: a fabric background, a same-size square of batting, and a same-size piece to be the top. Any fabric will do for the bottom piece, but the top piece will be the one that will show in the finished square. Make a sandwich of the three pieces: place the two fabric pieces face together and lay the batting underneath. Pin and then paste the layers together with large stitches. With a sewing machine, sew the layers together with a 1/4-inch seam, leaving an opening in the middle of one side. Cut off a bit of each corner and then carefully turn the piece right side out. Sew closed the opening and then you are ready to embellish. This kind of square is like a little finished quilt. These squares can be sewn together with a blanket stitch when complete. These can be framed in a shadow box or sewn to pillows or bags. Embellishment There are all kinds of elaborate ways to appliqué a design, but the easiest way is to first make a paper pattern from thin paper. Trace around the paper pattern on the fabric and then cut it out, leaving a seam allowance about a quarter of an inch beyond the paper pattern. Iron the seam allowance to the back of the pattern, remove the paper, and then pin the fabric piece in place on a background fabric. Use a simple blind stitch or blanket stitch to sew the shape to the background fabric. Alternately, fusible interfacing or webbing may be cut to fit the paper pattern and ironed on with the fabric. The edges do not need to be turned under for this method. Be sure the interfacing is between two layers of fabric before you iron it. Another alternative is to use felt for the appliqué pieces. The edges, again, do not need to be turned under and the felt could be glued on if desired. Appliquéd pieces can be adorned with embroidery stitches, paint, found objects, or anything that can be attached or sewn on. Methods to apply appliqué include hand basting, fusible interfacing, blind stitch, blanket stitch, buttonhole stitch, other decorative embroidery stitches. Nancy Walkup