Complicated Applique

Today I started on the center section of the Checkerboard Flowers quilt.

If you've been following along, then you know I've been dreading doing this large and complicated applique project.  The little flower blocks were relatively easy, but this middle section is definitely the most difficult applique I've ever attempted.

For one thing, it's huge.  I put the rotary cutter in the picture to give you some scale with regard to its size.

After giving it quite a bit of thought, I decided that the best plan of attack was to work with a template to at least give myself a fighting chance of getting the placement right.  With that in mind, I made a wax paper sheet, using good old Cut-Rite Wax Paper from my kitchen
and scotch tape to make it large enough.  Also, I have some pattern weights to keep it from shifting around.

In the past when I've used a template like this, I've drawn the whole design.  With this one, however, I thought drawing the whole design would just muddy the waters, and so I decided to add each element as I went along. 

The instructions suggested starting with the largest center stems.  Also, I drew in a line where the seam for the pieced background is and also the oval representing the vase (which will be added later).  Although the stem lines are broken, there is still enough detail so that I can get a good idea where the pieces should be applied.

I'm doing fusible applique, so after making the applique element, I simply place it between the wax paper template and the background fabric, then reach under with my hand.  Using tweezers, I shift the piece around until it lines up with the markings on my template.  Here, the vase and the seam lines are very helpful in keeping the template situated correctly.  Again, the pattern weights help keep the template from shifting all around as I'm working.  

Once I have the piece where I want it, I simply iron it, fusing it to the background fabric.

I'd like to say this was easier than I expected, but it wasn't.  Using the template definitely helps.  I wouldn't attempt this any other way. 

This is much as I could stand to do for one day.  Tomorrow I'll start adding some of the flowers, and I'll add the vase at the bottom that will cover the ends of the stems.

My goal is to have this finished two weeks from today, but I've divided up the instructions so that I can have it finished in one week if I work on it a little each day. 

5 comments from clever and witty friends:

Hillbilly Tonya said...

That is alot of work, I have not done a ton of applique. It will be beautiful when you get it finished!

LynCC said...

Wow! No wonder you've been dreading it! The really intricate McKenna Ryan fusible applique I've been doing has all the individual parts printed as well as a template like this one. I feel for you! You've got a really great solution going there, and I don't think I would have thought of it.

Stray Stitches said...

I can tell already it's going to be gorgeous. Sounds as if you have everything under control.

Dana Gaffney said...

Wow! I would be pretty intimated by that pattern. Will you need to do satin or blanket stitch around all of these?

quiltzyx said...

That is a lot of applique parts - it will look great when you finish. :D