Say So Long to Stiff Appliques

I love to do raw-edge applique and use Wonder-Under for the fusing process.

The problem is that when you have lots of fabrics appliqued on top of each other, the top gets really stiff!!!

Years ago I made this quilt…..

….and the bears were so thick with fused fabrics. I remember being very disappointed!!

BUT, times have changed, Wonder-Under has changed, and my technique is also changed!!

Let’s look at an example……

I am about to applique a Giraffe head and the first step is to draw the reverse image onto the paper side of the Wonder-Under……

….and then rough cut around the outline…..

Now comes the magic!!

Since I only need the outside edges of the fabric to be adhesive, I can cut out the inner section of the Wonder-Under…..

…leaving this outline…..

Sometimes the process of ironing this piece onto the fabric can be tricky…..

But, once ironed on, the final step is to cut it out along the drawn lines…..

Now my applique is ready to apply with only the edges beging sticky, leaving the rest of the head soft and supple!!!

I don’t use this technique for small pieces but have found that it works great for any larger ones.

And, as an added bonus, you can save the cut out Wonder-Under and use it in another project…..or for Giraffe spots in this case!!

I hope that this techique will work for you as well!!

The flowering of Botero’s Field

When last I left you, the Fernando Botero-inspired flower field had a lot of brown and green…..

….but like our backyard, was beautiful….but a bit boring…..

It was definitely time to add some punch to this field!!!

I started out by pulling more threads and yarns from my “stash”……

…..and couching them in as “pops” of color…..

I was disappointed to find out that this specialty yarn….

…couldn’t be couched easily. There simply wasn’t anything for the needle and thread to get hold of!!

I added a few more threads and then decided that it was time to put some flowers in this field.

I pulled out a box of hand-dyed offcuts that had been gifted to me…..

….and started cutting circles (similar to the painting inspiration)…..

I liked how it was looking BUT…..

NOW I had to make some decisions….don’t you hate that!!

I had to decide exactly when I was going to start QUILTING on this piece. I was pretty sure that I wanted to flowers to puff a bit which meant that they needed to be quilted rather than thread painted.

I also debated about adding two battings to help achieve that puff and finally decided to add my usual “Hobbs Heirloom Fusible Batting” to the backing fabric and then put a fluffy polyester batting on the top…..

BUT, how was I going to quilt it with all of those pieces loose on the top?

The answer was that “I WASN’T!!

I did use a bit of wonder-under to adhere the purple, stringy flower at the top and it quilted beautifully…..

But, I did manage to knock most of the other flowers off as I quilted this one….

OKAY….this will be a case of “organic flower arrangement”!!!

I used tweezers to position some of the smaller blooms…..

….but most were just quilted where they lay…..

There were some happy surprises along the way, including this yellow center that scrunched up as I quilted…..


I did truly enjoy having my new thread tower sitting next to me as I changed threads again and again and again!!

At the end of this session, this is where the piece stood…..

….and while I LIKE it, I am sure that it needs something else!! Right now it seems too messy and fussy…..too many disparate designs in the same space.

HMMMM….maybe I can fix that with some quilting….


Vintage Lamb – The FINALE

For the last several days, I have been posting about a baby quilt featuring 1950’s lambs!! Yesterday’s post, although lacking in photos brought it up to the quilting process.


Could I use stitching to give the lamb some texture??

And the answer was……

….a resounding YES!!!!

I started out with swirls quilted with a cream thread, concentrating to make them larger in the body area and smaller on the legs and head.

I started to continue the swirls onto the tail but then decided that it needed something to make it more distinct so I switched to a different design….

After I had quilted the lamb, I decided that it needed an outline so went around again with a grey thread. That helped him to pop off of the background. I did choose not to outline the tail with grey and am happy that I didn’t because it gives that appendage a bit more dimension!!

The butterflies and ducks were quick and easy…..

…and for the flowers, I simply followed the fabric design!!

Now it was time to tackle the background!! After studying the top for a bit, I decided to quilt the meadow in a slanted wavy line that echoed the background piecing.

In the sky portion, I added some fluffy clouds and continued with the wavy lines, but this time they were horizontal across the top……

As I was working on the interior, my mind kept looking forward to the borders!! I had one idea of adding more flowers but I just wasn’t happy with that thought.

While I was procrastinating, I pulled out my I-Pad and started playing with the design in “ProCreate”. At that point, I thought about 1950’s decorating and realized that there would have been lace and trims and other decorations to “fancy” up the item.

This was the idea that came to my mind…..

What if I add quilting that gives a lacy looking design????

I started out using a small clam shell ruler and quilted all the way around the interior edge…..

Next, I drew a line a to mark the outside edge of the quilt and added clamshells there as well…..

Now, what was I going to put in between these two clamshell edges.

I played around with several rulers and finally decided that the “Elvira” ruler from Angela Walters could be used to make a wavy design down the middle of the border.

And, if I repeated the same design on the other side of the center line, I would get a quilted channel down the middle of the border.

To further highlight the scalloped edge and central design, I added dense quilting between the designs…..

I had been worried that the quilt might be too stiff, but once washed, it was soft and cuddly….just what a baby quilt should be!!!

The final step was adding a three-dimensional flower in the lambs mouth…..

It is EXTREMELY well sewn down so that there is no chance of it coming off!!

So, here is the final quilt…..

I am supremely happy with how it turned out and I can’t wait to meet the little girl that it will belong too!!!

Vintage Lamb – Part 3

In yesterday’s exciting episode, I had finished the background for the baby quilt…..

Now it was time to add some baby animals!!!

I was starting with the lamb and had an idea that I was going to use Minky fabric to make him fluffier. My plan was to stitch the Minky (right sides together) to a piece of batting, then “burp” it thru a hole in the back, leaving a well-outlined design that I could applique onto the background.

I started with a sample…..

…..but quickly realized that I was not going to be able to turn it well enough so that the batting didn’t show some and I was afraid that the batting would wear out faster than the rest of the quilt!

So….on to Plan B!!

I knew that I was going to need more than one fabric layer on the lamb because the background would show thru. I also knew that I wanted the lamb to have a bit more texture…..

SO…..I cut the lamb outline out of batting……

….and layered it behind the front fabric when I fused it to the background. There was a bit of shadow around the edges but the quilting took care of that!!

The ducks and butterflies were easy… easy that I forgot to take photos!!!

For the flowers, I found a peach fabric that already had the flower” centers” printed on the fabric…..

I simply used those centers to guide where I put the wonder under and before long I had tons of cute peach-colored flowers ready to go.

So the top is finished and, no, there isn’t a picture of the finished top!!! I was too excited to move on to the quilting!!

Come back tomorrow as we finish up this sweet Lamb!!!

Vintage Lambs – Part 2

In Sunday’s post, I described the trouble that I had in finding a pattern for a 1950’s lamb applique!! Once that problem was solved, it was time to think about a background!!

I knew that I wanted to have a “meadow” style of background with a peach-colored border around the meadow. I knew that I wanted to use a BUNCH of fabrics…….

Well, at least that part was easy!!

I packed all of these fabrics up into my “retreat” bag and happily pulled them out to start working on.

Now, at the retreat, several people had brought books and magazines that they were finished with and wanted to give away. One of those books was this one……

….and this quilt in particular……

My friend Sheila had assured me that 60-degree diamonds were super easy to piece and I thought that this might be a good way to do my background!!

Now, it would have helped if I had stopped and read the directions, but that would have been too easy wouldn’t it??

My first task was to figure out how many strips of fabric I needed to give the desired heigth of the meadow. I drew out a sample and measured between the diamonds how many strip sets I would need……

Do YOU see the error in my calculation???

You Soon Will……

So, I spent some time looking at the value of the fabrics, even taking B&W photos……

….and confidently sewed the strip set…..

I lined up the 60-degree angle with one of the edges…..

….and started cutting strips……

But, when I laid them out……

HMMMMM….wasn’t this supposed to be more vertical than this!!!

Do you know what I did wrong????

When I did the measurements, I didn’t take into account that for every 2 diamonds that sit point-to-point, there is ANOTHER row of diamonds in the middle…..

So, my background was at least 1/3 too small and closer to 1/2 the size that I wanted!!


It was late in the evening and I should have just stopped, but I was determined to figure out some way to salvage what I had done.

As I was pacing back and forth beside my table, I noticed a fabric that one of the other gals had given to me as a gift. It was the perfect color to be the bottom of the meadow!! I started cutting strips out and slowly, ever so slowly, piecing them into the already sewn strips.

And then I had this……

THAT, I could work with!!!

I went to bed knowing that everything was going to work after all!!!

The next morning, I un-sewed a few sections and added strips to the top of the meadow…..

After that, it didn’t take long to audition some border fabrics…..

….and get the top ready for inhabitants……

Come back tomorrow for the next steps!!

Let me say that I really enjoyed working with the 60-degree diamonds and am already thinking of another project to highlight them……WHO knows where this thinking will go!!!