Workshop Lesson 1 :Applique
workshop lesson, you will be appliquéing two of these little blocks.
Appliqué is a very necessary and wonderful technique for you as a
quilter. Basically, there are two kinds of appliqué: onlaid and inlaid.
Onlaid appliqué is the process of placing a fabric design, such
as a heart or a leaf, on top of another piece of fabric and stitching it
Inlaid appliqué is the cutting away of the top fabric and
stitching it to reveal the design coming from the bottom fabric. Inlaid
appliqué is often referred to as reverse appliqué.
The two blocks chosen for this workshop give you practice in each type
of appliqué, as well as tips on making curves and points. If I have a
bias, it is in favor of reverse appliqué. Look for opportunities to use
it! Connie Lukacs is a Dear Jane Goddess and she reverse appliquéd 80%
of her quilt –- and it's wonderful!
Jason's Jacks (D-3) and Jane's Tears (C-9):
Four 6" squares of fabric: two light and two dark
Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler
100% cotton thread to match each fabric
Needles: sharps #11 or straws (milliners needles)
Scissors: paper and fabric
Pigma™ pen .01 in black or brown, or silver Berol® pencil
Onlaid Appliqué: D-3 (Jason's Jacks)
Note: Instructions for this block include two methods: stitching with a
freezer paper pattern ironed onto the top fabric and stitching without
the freezer paper on top. The second method involves transferring the
pattern onto the fabric by tracing around the pattern with a Pigma™ pen.
1. Choose two 6" square pieces of fabric, a light one for the background
and a dark one for the Jack.
2. Print the Block Outline of D-3 (Jason's Jacks). With the shiny side
of the freezer paper against the pattern, trace D-3 (Jason's Jacks) very
carefully onto the paper. Using paper scissors, cut the design along
your pencil marks, cutting away the freezer paper on the outside and
leaving the Jack intact.
3. Iron the freezer paper Jack to the right (top) side of the dark
fabric. When ironing freezer paper, use the hottest setting on the iron
and no steam.
4. Trim two points and one inside curve of the Jack, leaving a "fat
eighth" seam allowance. You will be cutting away the remaining curves as
you get to them. It is easier to pin into the fabric than to pin the
freezer paper. However, you will have to pin the freezer paper in the
area that you are sewing. If the freezer paper pops loose when you
stitch, iron it down again with a hot iron.
5. Center the Jack on top of the background square and pin. See Diagram
1. If the pins bother you, you can baste the two pieces of fabric
together right through the freezer paper. Use a basting stitch either by
hand or machine.
1. Needle and thread: Cut a piece of thread about 15" long. (Resist the
temptation to cut the thread too long. It will only make sewing more
difficult.) Thread the needle with the end just cut from the spool, and
knot the other end. (Note: If your thread gets twisted during sewing,
let go of the needle, hold your work up, and allow the needle to swing
freely to straighten the thread.)
2. Tack stitch: The tack stitch is the most common stitch for appliqué.
Before you begin, get comfortable. Perhaps you would like to prop your
arms on a pillow in your lap. Your best friends in appliqué are the
needle and your thumb and index finger of the hand not holding the
needle. The needle will always be turning under the fabric as you
stitch, thus the term "needle turn appliqué." Your thumb and index
finger will be moving just ahead of the needle, and will anchor your
toward your heart. If you are left-handed, start in the upper-left
corner and work toward the right, counter-clockwise. Right-handers will
start in the upper-right corner, and stitch toward the left, clockwise.
Begin stitching your block on a straight edge near the curve. (If you
are left-handed, it will be in the upper-left corner; right handed, the
upper-right corner.) See Diagram 1.
the seam allowance with the needle tip, and turn it under to the edge of
the curve. Leave a bit of the Jacks fabric showing from under the
freezer paper so you can see where you are stitching. Insert the needle
from the back of the work and bring it out the seam allowance fold,
pulling your thread and needle away from your work. Holding the seam
with your thumb and index finger, insert the needle toward you, just
under the seam allowance where you brought it out. The needle and thread
are now on the back of the work. See Diagram 2.
Move the needle about 1/8", and make another stitch through the folded
seam allowance. You will want to make about 10-12 stitches per inch on
straight lines and long curves. As you reach points and turn curves,
however, your stitches should become much smaller. Work to the right if
you're left-handed; to the left if you're right-handed. Be patient and
don't stop! Remember, "Finished is better than perfect!"
making a few tack stitches using this up and down motion, relax a bit
and start making a "down and up" motion all at one time, taking a
complete stitch. When you do this, however, you may find that the needle
doesn't exit in the center of the seam allowance, but comes out on top
of it. This is fine. The stitch may no longer be invisible, but it is
more comfortable and easier to make. It is also beautiful. See Diagram
Continue making tack stitches until you reach the curve. At the curve,
make two tack stitches very close together. These stitches will anchor
the seam allowance when you turn the corner. Look at the back of the
block. Your stitches should look like little slash marks.
Curves: All inside appliqué curves must be clipped, just as in
dressmaking. Jason's Jacks curves need to be clipped about ¼" apart.
Don't be afraid to clip. Clip close to the freezer paper. See Diagram 2.
Next, pull the needle and thread taut and, with the tip of the needle in
the seam allowance, swing the seam allowance under the freezer paper.
Hold it with the opposite thumb and finger. When you pull the needle up
again, you have a perfect little corner to begin stitching your curve.
Just keep swinging the seam allowance under and using the tack stitch to
the corner, make two stitches close together, and turn the corner. Stop
at the edge of the Jacks' point with two tack stitches close together.
See Diagram 4.
4. Points: Points in appliqué are like people; some are more perfect
than others. I don't know why this is true. When you make a really sharp
one, keep smiling. When it isn't so sharp, keep going. Just do the best
you can. If you turned under your seam allowance to the corner and it
sticks out like a little dog-ear, trim it a little. I usually try to
trim where the wrong side of the fabric is facing me. Sometimes it is
necessary to trim all of it.
needle, swing under the seam allowance, holding it with your thumb and
index finger. Pull the thread taut. You should have a perfect point. If
not, there are several tricks you can use. (After all, you are putting
two seam allowances into the same space and expect them to point.)
First, you can make an extra stitch into the background a few threads
out from the desired point. Second, touch it up a bit with a Pigma™ pen
the color of your Jacks. You're creating the illusion of a point; do
whatever works. See Diagram 5.
Continue tack stitching to the next curve, taking an extra stitch at the
edge of it. Trim the curve to a fat eighth seam allowance, clip the seam
allowance, and stitch to the end of the curve. Appliqué half of the
block. The freezer paper can be ironed back on if it comes off.
Once you are halfway around the block, try the second method of
appliqué: stitching without freezer paper on top. Press the paper and
trace around it onto the Jacks fabric using the Pigma™ pen. If you've
chosen a dark fabric, you may wish to trace with the Berol® pencil. Just
be certain you can see the lines of the Jack. Remove the freezer paper,
pin the two fabrics, and finish stitching the block without freezer
paper. Some quilters use only the first method, some only the second. I
feel there's a place for both, depending on the project.
Finishing Jason's Jacks: When you've finished the block, take the thread
to the back of the block. Make a knot and take a couple of backstitches,
carrying the thread under the Jacks and cut it. This will prevent any
loose threads from showing under the background. See Diagram 6. Lightly
press the block on the wrong side using no steam.
Trimming: As the final step, trim the block to 5". Using your Dear Jane
square, center the block in both directions at 2 ½" on two adjacent
sides. See Diagram 7. Jason's Jacks will leave about ¾" of background
showing all around the block after it is trimmed. Voila! Add it to your
stack of completed Baby Janes®.
Inlaid (Reverse) Appliqué: C-9 (Jane's Tears)
Print the Block C-9 (Jane's Tears). Trace a freezer paper template as in
set 2 of Jason's Jacks. However, this time cut out the tears and leave
the rest of the paper intact, using the background piece. See Diagram 8.
2. Iron the template onto the lightest fabric; this will make your Tears
dark. To make light Tears, reverse the fabrics.
3. Select the method you prefer: freezer paper on top or no freezer
paper. If you choose the first method, baste the freezer paper in place
instead of pinning it. It will be easier to stitch without the pins and
the freezer paper will also stay on the fabric better. If you choose the
second method, trace the Tears on the top fabric with a Pigma pen.
Before pinning the fabrics together, cut out one of the tears (see
Diagram 9), leaving a fat-eighth seam allowance and clipping the curves.
(If you don't clip, it won't curve.) Also clip into the point. In the
three remaining Tears, just clip inside the Tear, then pin your fabrics.
By clipping away the Tears as you sew, you have room for pins and you
keep the fabric from stretching. You will appliqué one Tear, then the
one opposite it, and finally the remaining two.
Using the tack stitch, begin stitching on the outside, opposite the
point of the Tear. Notice how easy it is to turn under the seam
allowance when doing reverse appliqué. It has all that space to fold
into. As you approach the point of the Tear, sew smaller stitches, then
stop a few stitches before the point.
Using the tip of the needle, turn under about a ½" seam allowance from
the other side of the point. Hold this with your thumb and index finger
while adjusting the other side and the point with the needle. Feel like
a juggler? Inside points are like outside ones: some are better than
others. Notice that there is virtually no seam allowance near the point.
It is important to sew very tiny stitches here. See Diagram 10.
I usually stitch them slowly, making one motion at a time, as follows:
holding the point, bring the needle up from the bottom, roll a few
threads under for a seam allowance, then take the needle straight down
to the back. Keep working the point and holding it with your thumb.
Sometimes a few threads will be sticking up in the point. If this
occurs, swing the needle underneath and catch them, turning them under.
If the fabric starts to fray, use a moist toothpick to turn under the
In the point itself, bring the needle up two or three threads away from
the point, pull the point toward you and put your needle in near where
you just brought it out. Make a few small stitches on the other side of
the point and then continue around the Tear.
6. Cut away the seam allowance in the Tear opposite the one just
completed. Clip the curves and point. Stitch in the same manner as the
first Tear. Next, appliqué the other two Tears. On the back of the
block, trim away the excess Tear fabric around the outside, leaving
about ¼" allowance. It will look like a big cloverleaf. Press the block
on the wrong side.
7. Jane's Tears is also trimmed to 5 inches. Just center your Dear Jane
square on your block and trim all four sides. Voila! Celebrate! To
practice more reverse appliqué, make another freezer paper template for
Jason's Jacks. This time, cut away the Jack in the center, leaving the
background piece as your pattern, and appliqué away!
Workshop Lesson 2: Back Basting
Many times in our list conversations about back basting,
someone will refer us to Connie Sue Haidle's tutorial
When I was working on Hannah's Hearts I thought of Connie Sue and her excellent
instructions. She has generously given
me permission to share them with you:
Thank you, Connie Sue!
Here's a couple of photos of H-12 Hannah's Hearts
Pattern drawn on the wrong side of fabric and basting
Hearts Basted and Trimmed
When there are four hearts or melons, always appliqué the two opposite ones
first. Examples of these kinds of blocks are A-7, B-1,
B-7, B-12, C-9, E-1, I-5, J-1 and M-7.
Workshop Lesson 3: Hand Piecing, Freezer paper on the top
Ruthann Zaroff has agreed to share her tutorial for hand piecing with
freezer paper on the right side of the fabric. Just follow this link:
Thank you, Ruthann, from all of us!