Royal School of Needlework-- 2015 Courses

Monday, February 28, 2011

Block Construction, Part 2

Fact of Life--When you are stitching a flower arrangement, the leaves are generally always behind the flower, so they must (should) go down first. If they are added later, you will be removing a few flower stitches in order to stuff the lower part of the leaf under the flower.

First, I locate all of the dark leaves on the pattern front and number them. Then, using some more of that freezer paper, I trace all of the dark green leaves from the front side (dull side) of the pattern onto the dull side of the clean sheet of freezer paper. The areas which will be under another flower or leaf can be designated with a dotted line. Number these new patterns (freezer paper templates), using the same numbering system you used on the original pattern. Most common mistake--copying the templates from the back side of the pattern. This creates templates which are backwards! After you have drawn the templates, using paper scissors, cut along the marking line. Lay your templates on the material (dark green in this example) placing the freezer paper shiny side down, allowing for a 1/8 inch cutting line around the templates. Do not place them too close to each other. Press with a hot, dry iron. Templates will cling to the material. (In the event you have placed the templates shiny side up, you will find that you will have an unusual pattern of templates decorating the underside of your iron!) After pressing the templates with a hot iron, I mark around each one with a Clover white marking pen. This pen has a delayed reaction, but after a short time appears clearly on the dark material. Then cut around each template, leaving 1/8 inch turning line. I like to place my templates in a template storage case, placing them in numerical sequence for easy identification. (These are now ready to be placed on the front of the block in their special designated areas, remove the freezer paper, do a simple basting stitch to hold down each leaf, and using a toothpick, I turn under the fabric 1/8 inch and stitch, using as many small stitches per inch as possible.)See example below for more on pattern transfer information.

Since the back of the block has been marked with a number 4 pencil, working from the back of the block, I stitch a quick, informal running stitch, using one solid color that I can identify as my pattern basting thread. In this case I chose a blue that I was not going to use elsewhere in the block. Doing this mindless stitch is very therapeutic. You can see the design forming on the front of the block, and, almost as fast as you stitch, the number 4 lead falls off the back. This basting will come in handy for determining exact template placement on the front, as well as flower construction right on the background fabric.
Helpful hint--Do not use purple as a basting thread. It may leave a residue!
In this example the leaves on the outside have been stitched down. The leaves in the center have been basted down, using a simple basting technique and are ready for the applique process.

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Flowers will be added next. For that reason, I went once again to the back of the block and re-basted the flower applique line on the leaves.

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In addition to needle and thread, my favorite tools are shown here. I use the flat side of the toothpick to help turn under the applique line. It is also used to press against the finished leaf to help create a smoother line. After I finish each leaf, I go to the back, and using the blue seam ripper, I gently break the blue basting thread around the leaf and also remove any basting stitch still left on top of the leaf. During the applique process, some of the basting stitches have become imbedded by the applique stitch, and by using the hemostat it is easy to pull the blue basting thread out from the back of the block.

I hope I have made this clear. If you have any questions, please leave them in the "Comments".

Next: Building a Flower


maritza said...

Margaret, perfectas te quedaron estas explicaciones para hacer que nuestras aplicaciones queden bien. Un beso

Jane in Wales said...

Fantastic explanations. It seems pretty clear to me!