December 3, 2007

What are some ways of positioning appliqué motifs on the background fabric?

• Freestyle

This is where you don’t worry about matching the pattern too exactly, and just place your pieces where you like. Maybe you’re not even using a pattern, just creating a design as you go!

• Eyeballing

Referring to the pattern, place your motifs on the background so that they look enough like the original for government work. Again, this is an admirable, freeing mentailty, and probably gives the blocks that attractive vintage look.

• Creasing the background

If an appliqué design is set on the diagonal, you can fold and crease the background to provide reference lines for positioning the motifs.

• Tracing paper overlay

Now we’re getting to my territory (I have the curse of the precise. It’s not that much fun.) You can trace the pattern onto tracing paper to create a placement guide. Use vertical and horizontal centering lines to line up the guide with the background square.

• Vinyl overlay

The Piece O’ Cake gals advocate using upholstery vinyl to make a placement guide. They’ve even started offering their own Quilter’s Vinyl by the yard, and there are instructions on how to use it, on their website.

• Light box

This is good for tracing the placement guides, of course, but is also an direct and ingenious way of placing motifs for machine appliqué. Once you’ve gotten all of your pieces fused and cut out, put your pattern on the light box, put the background fabric over it (lined up with centering marks) and place all of the pieces for the block at once. Carefully transfer to the ironing board for fusing.

For dark backgrounds, you’ll need to use one of the overlay methods.

Okay quilters, what other ways are there to position your appliqué? There’s something about a lightweight interfacing overlay… help me out. I’ve heard of it but don’t know too much about it.

Until next time,


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