November 11, 2013

Appliqué Samplers

I am currently enrolled in a Career/Technical Education Fiber Arts class. I am only taking this class so I can graduate from high school, but I am still enjoying myself immensely because I have the opportunity to do fun crafty things for at least four hours every week in a great crafting space, which is an upgrade from how much time I spend crafting on my own. The class is pretty slow-paced, like any beginner level course would be, but it is nevertheless enjoyable because I can lead myself and do more advanced projects.

One technique we practiced just for exposure purposes were two appliqué samplers: one that was a first-time simple exposure, and another that was significantly more complicated. 

I had done the craft before several years ago under my grandmother's supervision, but was glad to retry the art and jog my memory on the procedure.

Appliqué is the craft of sewing one piece of fabric onto another. Generally, a zig-zag stitch sewn very close together connects the two fabrics. Sometimes, an adhesive is ironed on to the smaller fabric to make sewing easier and pinning unnecessary. 

While it sounds too simple to talk about, appliqué can be very difficult when connecting small pieces with intricate shapes and curves. Appliqué techniques are used when making crazy, Hawaiian, or normal quilt blocks and can also embellish and decorate clothing. Appliqué is an effective technique to make an artistic impression from a distance. 

Even though it had been many years since doing formal appliqué, my most recent samplers have improved significantly since my first attempts:
"Polar Bear Appliqué," c. 2007
In this first appliqué attempt, it is evident that I didn't take the curves well, cover the transitions sufficiently, or make the zig-zag tight enough.


Close-up of poor technique quality.


Backside of "Mother's Day Quilted Pillow," c. 2011
Vaguely remembering the existence of appliqué, I decided to try it out by cutting out a print of this strawberry and attaching it to the backside of this pillow. Zig-zag is closer together and technique is better overall.
"Shooting Star," October 2013.
This is the simple appliqu
é project I did in class. Technique here has drastically improved since the last attempt, although it is recognized that straight lines are exponentially easier to stitch than curves.
"Flower Garden," October 2013.
This is the most complicated project I've ever done although even this is not very complicated, either. It took about four hours to design, cut the fabrics and adhesives, iron on all of the adhesives to the backs of all the pieces, iron all the pieces onto the main fabric, and sew them on. The amount of thread required to do these types of projects is extraordinary: for this sampler alone, I used up about 1/3 of a 200 m spool.


Here is a close-up of my improved technique.






This is what the backsides of appliqué pieces look like.
Stay tuned for more crafty adventures and photos of projects from my Fiber Arts class.

Happy Crafting,
--Elizabeth