I have a commission for a queen-size raw-edge applique quilt featuring a tree of life. It’s to be organic-feeling (you know, since it’s a tree), and I want it to have some texture to it as well. I also have a big quilt planned with some very large gradual curves, and am looking at different ways to piece them, either as applique or inset. I’m sure I will post on trial and error, later…
For the tree of life quilt, I am planning on applying most of the applique while it’s actually on my longarm, but there are some details I want to work in (shading on the tree trunk and whatnot) that would be easier if they were pre-pieced. I posted video last week to Rose Hughes‘ fast-piece applique video and ordered her book to read it through. I also contacted her and asked her if it would be OK if I talked about the process here, and that was fine by her (hi Rose!). Without further ado, here is my quick attempt, using my hideous estate sale testing fabrics:
I drew a curve I would *not* want to piece. I then drew a few registration lines so I would be able to line it up again accurately after I cut it apart one the curved line.
After I cut the curve apart, I ironed it to my fabric pieces on the right side, and trimmed them to 1/2″.
I lowered the freezer paper I had pulled back, and lined up the registration marks. When I had them perfectly aligned, I carefully pulled them apart so I could sew a seam between them.
Then I ironed the freezer paper back down to firmly anchor the two pieces together.
When you get to the end, you have a nice smooth seam and no waviness in your applique pieces. It will look like this when you peel the freezer paper off:
Trim with your duckbilled scissors (or the blunt nose scissors you borrowed from your kid’s pencil box, in a pinch. *cough*) along the seam, and finish off the edges how you wish to cover up the seam itself.
Since I am doing a raw-edge quilt, I don’t think this last step will be necessary for me because I plan to quilt over the top of my applique and outline it anyway. You could always do a satin stitch or, as Rose does, couch some really interesting stuff over the top, like yarns and other fibers. I am just getting into using Rose’s book Dream Landscapes: Artful Quilts with Fast-piece Applique and can tell there are going to be some really useful things as I work on my tree of life quilt.
I know I didn’t cover whole applique pieces of multiple parts, but that’s what Rose does on her video and in her book. As I work on my Tree of Life quilt, I will show how I use this technique in my applique process. Hope this inspires you to do some applique of your own!