May 26, 2015

Wool Applique' Tutorial...

I completed Block Four of the Wooly Critters Sampler over the weekend. This one is my favorite (so far). I love the little seeds on the strawberries. (The berries look good enough to eat!) 
 
Just FYI, the finished block is sitting on top of another finished block. You're seeing shadowing showing through from the other block, not staining or discoloration on this one.
Next up is "Duck & Flower Wagon". (I'm doing them in the order they appear in the pattern.) One of my readers suggested that I show you how I prepare my blocks to stitch. I'm more than happy to oblige. 
WARNING: PHOTO HEAVY POST
My first step is to take the pattern and decide which wool fabric colors I'll use in the design. After I choose the wools, I decide which threads will coordinate or accent the wools. In this case, I'll be using colors in Sulky #12 and Valdani #12 threads for my design (same threads as I used in the other blocks)
My next step is to grab my Heat'nBond Lite so I can trace the design elements.
Heat'nBond Lite is two-sided fusible. It has exposed fusible on one side and paper covering the fusible on the other side. I trace my designs onto the paper side as shown in the photo.
 
Once all the elements are traced, it was time to match the pieces up to their wools.
I decided to start with the duck. I have three different hand-dyed wools that I chose for the duck. I wanted the wing lighter than the body (as it appears in the pattern photo) so I fussy cut the lightest color from the different color sections.  Then I found the body section and different oranges for the feet and bill.
I like to cut out my fusible pieces first. I think I waste less wool this way. Once I cut out the fusible, I chose the section of the fabric I wanted, and fused the duck's body pattern piece to the wool. Don't iron back and forth. Just apply pressure on the fusible until it's firmly adhered to the wool. Let cool.
I usually fuse all the pieces first, but because I was using certain sections of the fabric, I decided to cut out each piece first. Then I cut the next piece until they were all cut out.
I laid them out as I cut them to make sure I was happy with my colors and placements. Not bad!
Here, all the pieces were cut out for this block, except the blue flower and right wheel centers. I cut those last two pieces out later. At this point, the paper is still on the backs of every piece of the design. Don't remove the paper yet.
I had to make my guide for final placement of the components on the fabric. For this step, I prefer to use parchment paper. It's easy to see through for tracing and for placing the wool pieces I've already cut out for the design. I use a Sharpie™ marker.
My block background fabric has been cut larger than the final measurement for my finished blocks. Fold it in half twice to find the center of the fabric for design placement.
I also measured the design so that I could find the center of the pattern. Now I was ready to match up the center marks for the next step.
I use a blocker board (that I can pin into) as my placement board because I can pin the pattern to it, and later iron my pieces in place without having to move them to the ironing board. 
 
Match up the center of the design on the parchment paper to the center of the fabric and pin the top of the pattern through the block fabric and onto the blocker board to keep them from shifting.
I started with the fabric for my wagon. Removing the paper backing from the Heat'nBond fusible, I  placed the wagon to match up with the pattern. This is a process of flipping up the parchment, putting your pattern piece on the ground fabric and then dropping the parchment to make sure the piece aligns with the drawing. Adjust the wool piece until its in the right place. 
 
Before pressing the piece in place, I first placed any other wool pieces that needed to be under the edge of the main piece (like the flower stems or the wagon handle in this case). Once those pieces are in place, press sections of the wool down until they're fused to the ground fabric. I use steam to make sure the pieces are properly adhered.

If you look at the drawing, any piece with dotted lines means that it goes under the fabric where it's placed. See the stems for the flowers on the right side of the drawing? Both ends of each stem will go under the fabric for the blossom and the wagon. You can press the stems down once you've tucked them under the wagon. The blossom will lie on top of the stem when you get to that step. 
 
It's the same for the flower stem that goes under the duck's head and the blue flower above the duck. There are other places in this pattern, which I'm sure you can see if you look at my pattern template. After a while, you get good at seeing where parts have to be tucked under prior to pressing, and what can wait until later.
All the pieces (except the wheel and blue flower centers) are placed in this picture.
In this picture, they're all fused to the background (block) fabric and ready to be stitched according to the pattern instructions. Most of the stitching is done using blanket stitch. 
 
I'll probably add more decorative stitching to each of the blocks when they're all finished, but for now, I'm just following the pattern instructions to get them stitched down.
Four blocks are finished, and now, Number Five is ready to be stitched down. I took it with me to Paneras last night and worked on it. I already have the wagon, wheels and handle stitched down after two hours visiting with the girls. (There was actually more visiting than stitching.)

Today I'll be at Nifty 50s with the girls, so I'll finish this block today. Having finished four blocks already, I'm one-third of the way through the blocks. I'll be heading toward "half" by the time my duck block is finished.

I hope this took some of the mystery out of this project. It's actually quite simple and fun. If you have any questions, just let me know and (if you have a return email) I'll personally answer you. If you don't have a return email, I'll reply in a future Wooly Critters Sampler post.
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Createology said...

Donna Dear your projects are always sew very perfect and this is exactly why...your attention to detail. I love seeing your process from beginning to end and thank you for sharing with us. These wool blocks are uber adorable and each one you complete becomes my favorite. Creative Piecing Bliss...

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