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.