Off the Block

Well that was a much longer blogging break than I expected.  I am still here, and slowly getting back to being creative, which is the best tonic there is for me.

I have finished my “Tea in the Garden” Block (completed with traditional needle turn applique) and the general consensus (especially at my quilting guild) is to turn this into a medallion quilt.

While I was finishing this, I thought I would take some photos to illustrate the method of “Off the Block” applique construction.  This is a technique where 2 or more layers of the applique are joined, prior to joining the applique unit to the background (or Block).

In this case, the wing-spots on the Butterfly are appliqued to the upper-wings, before the wings are cut out of the chosen upper-wing fabric.  First the wing-spots and the upper-wings are marked on their respective fabrics, but only the wing-spots are cut out, with a scant 1/4 seam allowance (a seam allowance which is a smidgen shy of 1/4 “).

A Positioning Overlay is used to position the wing-spots in just the right place on the upper-wings.  A positioning overlay is a tracing of all the elements in a design, onto something clear – in this case a sheet of Overhead Transparency.

The wing-spots are pinned in place and appliqued on, along the two inner edges.  Next the whole upper-wing unit is cut out, with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.

To remove bulk from the final applique, you can cut away behind the top layer.

I never cut away the background fabric behind appliques, (as some people do) I think it weakens the finished product – but this does no damage.  The “Off the Block” sewing is now complete.

The whole upper-wing unit is positioned onto the block, with the help of the positioning overlay, and the unit is appliqued into place, as if it were a single piece.  The only difference is that there is a change of thread during the stitching, in order to keep the thread colour the same as the applique pieces.

I hope this all made sense – feel free to ask questions if you need me to clarify anything.

If you are interested in Needle turn applique, the best resourse I have come accross is called “The New Applique Sampler” by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins (the Piece ‘O Cake Ladies) Published by C & T Publishing.

One thought on “Off the Block

  1. After seeing your finished block last night, it looks so much better in person. The photo doesn’t really do it justice. I’m looking forward to seeing the “quilt”.

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