Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Machine Applique and Free Motion Embroidery Tutorial Part 2 of 2

Here's the continuation of my tutorial I previously posted.

Now we are about to peel the back of the "web"
See the slit I mentioned in the first part? This will really help you peel the back off the fabric. Otherwise, in case you forget to cut a slit you can use a sharp gadget, i.e. your best buddy "seam ripper", stilleto, or anything pointy to help you peel off the paper.

I am lifting the slit so you can see clearly.

Peel slowly.

See how the slits really help? Now the peeling is finished.

It always help me having my cheat sheet in plain view.
Arrange your cut outs.

This is what I should end up seeing -- the tea cups stacked even after I do free motion/machine applique.

Press, do not glide your iron back and forth. Note: I used steam for the very purpose of the brand of fusible web I used. Always check your manufacturer's instructions.

Neatly pressed and adhered on my background fabric.


...press to cover all areas.

Now it's time to switch to BLACK thread. For a very good reason, black thread makes the outline stand out. It's like drawing with a pencil or black ink.

It's also time to switch from regular presser foot to darning foot. My sewing machine didn't have one so I had to buy it. If you do not have a darning foot you may use your embroidery skills. And granting you have the skills, use back stitch.

Always test your stitches by checking the tension of your machine. Mine is 1.0 as I've jotted this down so I can always remember :) It always help me jotting things down so I can always refer to my notes.

I changed fabric so you can see the stitching clearly.

Let's begin with the 'book'

I worked my machine applique from the bottom. Ladies, for some reason my fusible web didn't work well this time. I might have done something wrong which I have yet to find out. It is very frustrating when the cut out fabric do not adhere to the background fabric. While I was sewing, the cut out fabric kept jumping with the stitches so there was a lot of movement. I was going to re-do everything but I have another tutorial to make and I didn't want to waste time. So I went ahead and continue....

Notice how I sew the outlines on the right so it would look like a book?

This is what the back (wrong side) looks like. Don't worry, it will not be visible on the right side.

Off to the next cut out, the 'saucer'.

Excuse my messy stitches. It could have been easier if the fabric did adhere.

Next is the first cup.

The second cup...

I had to sew this cup in place by outlining the design so it would hold it while I do the border outline.

Very top cup is done.

I went back to sew on the saucer, to make it look more like a saucer :)

Finishing off.

My finale with the darning foot: Embroider the words "Time For Tea"
I used a disappearing ink marker to write the words, then with the darning foot still on stitch the words accurately and slowly.
The beauty of using a darning foot is you need not end your stitch on the last letter. Just lift the foot and move your needle to the next letter to continue stitching. Snip the threads off in between after all the wordings are complete.

Snip frayed edges...this is normal and it does add texture to your finished work. The outline sewn will eventually stop the fraying.

True up, or square up, your background fabric.

I'm a quilter by heart, so I always end up piecing my work. I will be finishing off this "Time For Tea" pattern as a quilted wall hanging.

COMING SOON!! A Union Jack wall hanging pattern made by me ♥

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Machine Applique and Free Motion Embroidery Tutorial Part 1 of 2

I learned how to do machine applique through reading and viewing a tutorial by my mentor, Helen (of Bustle & Sew), on YouTube.

I found a pillow cover with 'Tea cups' design and, of course, because it was just an image I found on the Internet it didn't have a pattern. So I decided to make a print out and traced the outlines to make a pattern. Here's the image:

Important: If you know who has the copyright to this pillow cover design please let me know so I can give due credit.

You will need:

-scrap fabrics of your choice

-sewing machine 

- a darning foot (if your machine doesn't come with it, hand embroidery is perfect!)

-fusible web with paper backing (which I highly recommend, but in this tutorial I used what I have available)

-a fine point black Sharpie 

-black sewing thread

Let's begin!

Step 1:
Have your template ready.
Usually when you find a design you like it doesn't come with a FREE downloadable pattern so you may need to create your own template like this one I just created.
Excuse the smeary mess created by my marker. I should have used a Sharpie brand :)
Use "mirror image" of your template/pattern, in this case it is not recommended. But if you have OCD you will know if it's the wrong way :)

 Step 2:
 IMPORTANT: Make sure the adhesive side of the fusible web is facing down. See how you can see the template pattern through the fusible web? This one has no paper backing so I traced exactly on the fusible material.
Use your fusible material wisely! I try to save the fusible material by placing it towards the corner/edge.

  Step 3:
 Begin tracing. Trace along the outline of the book first.
TIP: You should determine which parts of your pattern need to be traced first. It is normally the background images that are traced first. In this case the book since it is where the saucer and the tea cups are going to be placed.
Again, I should have used Sharpie but I didn't have a fine point.

 Step 4:
 I traced the saucer next.

Trace the first cup on the bottom.

Trace the middle tea cup.

Step 5:
Finish tracing the very top tea cup. NOTE: See how I have traced each image by each other at the same time making allowance for cutting.

 Step 6:
Time to cut the pieces

Step 7:
 I make two slits for easy peeling of backing.

Step 8:
Pieces already cut. If you notice I saved cutting the ear of each cup. I will be cutting them after fusing the fabric.

Step 9:
 Now the fun part, grab your fabric swatches you think will best suit your theme in mind. I have "floral" in mind ♥

Step 10:
 Always fuse on the WRONG side of the fabric. Even though I use fabric swatches I make sure I use them wisely. Could you tell I hold onto them dearly?

Step 11:

Grab a large piece of your scrap fabric to use on top of the fusible web material you will be pressing (NOT ironing--do not glide your iron). Make sure you protect your iron and ironing board from getting the adhesive on with a fabric you don't hold dear.
Press the area where the fabrics to be fused for about 10 to 12 seconds. I use steam for this type of fusible web. Some don't. So make sure you read the manufacturer's instructions before use.

After ironing, peel the fabric slowly.

I get excited when I get to see them fused onto the fabric :)

If you notice how I placed the cut outs and the fabric close together, by this time you already know why? :)

Voila! Fabric's fused.

Step 12:
Time to cut again. This time cut the inside ears. I have yet to cut #3 :)

Viewing the right side of the fused fabric, stack the book and tea cups the way it should be. Work your way from bottom to top.

Step 13:
Get a plain fabric (or any contrasting background if your tea cups are plain) to permanently place your cut pieces together. This will be the same fabric where you will machine, or hand, embroider.
If you are doing your applique directly on a pillow cover, center your design on a pre-cut fabric you'll be sewing. I am using mine as a quilt block.

Coming soon! I will be doing machine applique on the fabric cut outs.
More photos to upload! See you next posting :)