Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cutting templates

The thing I love about doing applique with fusible web is the pretty much instant effect - trace, iron, cut, place on background, do you like it? Yes - iron - done (well, apart from the blanket stitch or whatever).  You know what it looks like early on and can tweak fabrics and placement before committing to that final iron.  You do need to work out right from the beginning which pieces are going to be unders, and which are overs - to ensure that your fusible will be properly attached to those pieces that will underlap another piece.

Other techniques have their positive and negative points.  And sometimes it's fun to experiment with another technique.  I decided to do My Whimsical Quilt Garden pattern using a machine applique technique, where you cut all the templates first from freezer paper.  So a bit of prep work required before you even really start looking at fabrics.  This is why this project has sat in a drawer for months on end - I just needed to get the next block prepped.  And it's not even really that bad... a bit of a Nike moment - Just Do It!

The way that I transfer my pattern onto my freezer paper is that I don't.  I start with a photocopy of the pattern layout and a piece of freezer paper big enough to fit behind the design (do you need your template reversed or the same as the original - with freezer paper having different sides, I need to use it with the shiny side down).  If you are doing several blocks using the same design - easy - layer your freezer paper upto 6 layers deep.  Next using a stapler put a staple into each design shape - put a few in on bigger areas or long skinny ones that might shift as you cut.  If you can't reach into the centre of the design with your stapler - leave those ones until you have cut some of the outer pieces away, and then staple the internal ones.

Staples added - couldn't reach the centre of the flower or the upper
part of the stem, so came back and stapled those later.
Then start cutting around the shapes.  The idea is to cut directly on the line as accurately as possible as this is going to be the final template shape.  NO TRACING!!  Where there is a shape completely inside another shape (as in the circle in the middle of a flower) cut through the outer shape in one direct line, then cut around the internal shape.  Because I'm going to be ironing the shapes onto the back of my fabric pieces, the iron will hold the cut line back into place.  You end up with every shape cut out individually stapled to the original copy.  Leave them like that until you are ready to do something to them (such as when I iron them to my fabric) so that you don't lose track of what they are - and if you did multiple copies make sure that you number the copy as you remove each staple otherwise you will end up in a terrible mess.

Showing the cuts to allow access to the internal shapes

Can you use this transferring technique for other things other than freezer paper machine applique?  I don't see why not, although to date I haven't tried anything.  I think it would be good for transferring images to cardboard templates where you can't see through them and they don't really run through printers very well.  Also for some of the weird things you end up having to make with/for your kids (I'm thinking arts and crafts projects here).  I'm sure there are other applications too.

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