Mary Sue's Applique #1

First published in the 02/12/17 newsletter.

Mary Sue's 'Applique My Way' ... part #1.

Today is all about applique my way. I'm not saying that it is the right way or the only way, it is just the way I prefer to create and stitch out applique embroidery designs. So, let's get started. If you haven't already, you might want to go back to the newsletter announcement and download the Plucky Bluebird applique design so you can follow along if desired.

When I hoop my fabric, I like to use a shot of sticky spray over the stabilizer and then lay my fabric on top and press down. I say press down because you don't want to lay the fabric down and press it outward with your hands to smooth it out. Iron your fabric first and use starch if desired and then lay it down on top of the slightly sticky stabilizer and press down with your hands. Fabric has a wonderful memory (much better than mine I'm sure) and you don't want to stretch it because it will most likely stay that way or relax again once it is unhooped which may cause some puckers. Same goes for ironing fabric. Don't push down with the iron and press/push outward. Lift the iron a bit to move it from one spot to another. I also like to let my pressed fabric cool a pinch before I move it.

And you might be wondering, "why all the sticky spray?" I like to use it because I don't want my fabric to budge while it is being embroidered. And it doesn't take much sticky spray either. Just a quick shot.

Now on to the actual stitching and a word of note: You will remove the hoop from your machine a few times during the actual stitching process but you WILL NOT UNHOOP THE FABRIC until the entire design is complete.

1. First to stitch is the wing and tail section. This step lays down an outline for the wing and tail section. Once the stitching is complete, remove the hoop from your machine (DO NOT UNHOOP ANYTHING) and lay a piece of fabric over the outline making sure it is completely covered with fabric. And yes, you guessed it, I use a quick shot of the sticky spray on the back of my applique fabric. And if your applique fabric is wrinkly, you definitely will want to press it first. I have yet to see a bluejay with wrinkled wings ... although in my backyard, anything is possible I guess.

2. Next to stitch is the same exact outline which will secure the applique fabric in place. You might notice that this second outline doesn't start and stop in the same exact place. I do this on purpose because I would rather not stack up the tack down and tie off stitches in the same exact location if I don't have to. Once this color stop has stitched, remove the hoop from your machine again and carefully trim away the excess fabric. Gently lift the edges of the fabric and cut close to the stitching ... just not to close. You don't want to clip any of the stitches. I find that small, slightly curved, very sharp scissors work best for me. 

3. This color stop is similar to the first one in that it will stitch the outline for the body. Once stitched, place your applique fabric over the outline making sure the entire outline is covered by the fabric and continue with color stop #4.

4. And this color stop is similar to the second color stop in that it will secure the applique fabric in place. Once stitched, trim away the excess fabric and place the hoop back onto your machine.

5. This color stop will stitch the eye, beak, and the stripes on the tail feathers.

6. This color stop is the satin outline for the birds body. Notice it will first stitch a narrow, low density zig zag around the body section. I do this to help tack down any little fabric "pokies" before the denser, wider satin outline stitches. The birds body also lies beneath the scarf and wing so naturally I'd set the satin stitch body outline to stitch first.

7. This color stop will stitch the scarf. I don't like to stitch fill and/or satin stitches on top of fill and/or satin stitches so I manually removed some of the birds satin body outline stitches beneath the knot of the scarf to help reduce a "bulky" area.

8. This color stop will create the satin ouline stitching for the wing and tail section.

9. Color stop for the long, lanky legs. Notice I also manually removed some of the underlying stitches beneath the place where the leg crosses over the satin body outline. Again, this is to reduce underlying bulk.

At this point the only thing left to stitch are the two socks and the design is finished. I hope you like this plucky tweet and don't be afraid to throw some color on him, especially those prickly wool socks.

Next Sundays newsletter will feature part two of "Applique my Way!" And if you click the bird picture below, you can view the step-by-step stitchout photos along with my somewhat useful commentary.

Thanks for subscribing and enjoy your day!

Mary Sue ~ Mother Hen's Quilt Embroideries

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