Welcome to part two of the glue stick applique tutorial. In part one, I attempted to demonstrate how I use a simple glue stick to facilitate my hand applique process. Now I will try to show how I assemble the pieces and secure them to the background in preparation to stitching.
You can better see the additional (cross-hatch pencil marks) in the above picture on the pattern edges and ends that will be under some other piece. This way I know how much of a fabric allowance to add when cutting out my pattern pieces before the glue process. I am usually too generous because it is easy to just snip and trim away the excess.
With complicated applique, I like to build units. This usually means I don't just sit down with all my pieces for a block, glue them into a picture and just stitch away. If a flower, for example, has many pieces, I glue baste, then sew things together in units first, from the top layer down.
I do this for 2 reasons: 1) I find it is easier to stitch through just a piece and a background - sometimes that background is simply another piece, 2) because I tend to hand quilt, I often trim away the background behind large applique pieces so that I can hand quilt without stitching through many layers. By breaking things down into basic units, I sort of trim away bulk as I sew units together. This can be very handy when working with light colored fabrics...I can trim excess darker fabrics that might show through.
For simplicity, I just glued most of this block at one time, but I will at least talk about what I consider a "unit" as I go along.
I work on the original pattern as I layer my units. Here I am starting with the outer flower and the center. If you find it easier, when you are lining up the layered pieces, you can leave your paper patterns on for a while longer. Sometimes I peel them all off, sometimes I leave them on. When working on pieces with many similar shaped pieces, like leaves, it really helps to keep the numbered pattern papers adhered until place. It is easy enough to remove the papers after gluing, before stitching.
Do you see those TINY dots above in the blue fabric allowance? That is my Roxanne's glue baste..."dot-dot-not-a-lot," as my friend Ola would say. Roxanne's has a terrific "hold" once used, so it takes very little to hold things in place. It dries pretty fast. By using tiny dots, I can glue right over my original pattern without the glue bleeding through, sticking to the paper, and ruining my pattern.
VERY IMPORTANT: Pay close attention to where I place these tiny dots...NOT at the edge where the glue might hinder my stitching needle later and NOT out in the center of the design, in case I want to trim the background away later.
When I glue the flower center #14 to the flower #13, my top piece only touches the bottom piece's paper. See the arrow on piece #14? That is useful when tracing patterns on pieces that are a little confusing..."up" is always the top of the block for me.
Below I show how I pick up and manipulate pieces with the long tweezers (actually my beading tweezers). I have difficulty picking up and handling the tiny pieces and the tweezers really save me. LOL
Once my glue baste dries a little, I also use the tweezers to help remove the ironed on freezer paper pattern (I always secure the glued edge under my thumbnail just in case the glue baste is still a little wet).
Sometimes I remove all the papers and simply use my pattern sheet for placement.
I have to remove the paper pattern on the bottom piece when I am gluing on a layer. See my tiny dots?? I added this flower center, as the original pattern didn't fool with one. This method makes it easy to add, change and delete things...I never found that freedom with the needle turn method, once I had basted my shapes to the background, I was pretty much stuck...I don't like being stuck... :o)
Here you can see how I have trimmed the fabric a bit where other pieces will be glued. That way the excess will be completely covered up by the upper piece.
See how stem piece #16 covers the bottom of the bud piece #18. The raw edges of stem piece #16 will be covered up by a flower on the left side and the vase on the right side.
Here I've glued on the cheddar flower and layered petal and a couple of leaves.
Now you are looking at my pattern placed on my light box, layered with my background piece (which is at least a half an inch larger than needed on all sides). Do you see the the tiny little glue dots on my background? Since I took the picture with my light box "on," it's hard to tell, but I have gently peeled up that assembled flower sprig. I will carefully arrange the sprig on the glue-dotted background using the pattern as my placement guide, then I will gently pull up the flower and "dot-dot-not-a-lot" under it too and press the flower down to adhere.
Then I move on to the next unit.
And then the next one.
The vase is the last piece glued down after all the sprigs have been arranged. Each pattern has to be assessed to figure out the layering order. Now I just allow it to dry completely before I stitch. Usually by this point, I have already stitched the more complicated units together, so all I have to do is stitch around the the outside of the more layered, complicated units, and the other, single elements.
This method works on both on simple and complex patterns. I used it for my "Civil War Bride" (Corliss Searcey) and my "All Around the Town" (Sue Garmon) quilts. It's just a matter of breaking things down into simple, manageable units.
This is a totally portable project at many points. It is easy to take a baggie or "magic box" project with me that contains pressed on, cut out freezer paper patterns, a stiletto, snips, glue stick and a small acrylic ruler. It takes no room at a sit and stitch gathering to sit there and glue pieces while talking with friends or sit with a tray in my lap and watch TV with my family. I've done it at school and church meetings, too. This is how I work on my appliqued basket project...stolen moments.
Here, in my "magic box," I have switched out the glue tools for applique tools, as I am ready to stitch some down...
I love portable projects that allow me to enjoy people AND sew (gets me out of the quilt cave...). Too many hours alone in the quilt cave are probably not good for the quilting cave woman.
Now I can find some friends, family, yack on the phone, or just sit outside in the gazebo and do a little stitching on this so I can get ready to show you PART THREE of the tutorial...how to deal with the glue after the stitching is done...(and what to do about weird cases, weird shapes, and exceptions and short-comings to this method, etc...).
I will post part three on Thursday or Friday, after I get my daughter off to Washington DC with her 8th grade companions. Check out part one, if you missed it.