As I was doing all my prep work for the upcoming workshop, I could see the Purple Finch pattern laying off to the side of my design desk teasing me. I couldn’t take it any longer and got busy and started the new Finch block. I was parched for some stitching!
One of the things I seem to assume incorrectly (we all know what that does riiiight?) is that everyone is familiar with the overlay method to place their applique pieces on the background fabric in the correct position. I am always astonished more people don’t use this method.
Why do I love this method? Because it cuts down substantially on the inaccuracies and the amount of applique preparation. When I first started to applique, I would trace my design onto the background fabric using a light box and a pencil. The human hand by nature is inaccurate and the drag of the pencil actually causes imperceptible distortion of the design on the background fabric. I had better match up the applique exactly or the dreaded pencils lines will show when I have finished applique-ing the piece(s). They never matched up.
Oh and have you ever tried to trace of a pattern that is 45″ square onto a 12″ square area of a lightbox and have it all line up in the end? I never did. I know some people really like back basting, but with the size of pieces I have, NOT gonna work. Also, you are still going through the same steps only on the back side instead of the front and then the added basting down of the pieces step that quite frankly, would stop me cold from ever getting to the applique bit. A lot of fuss and prep I am just not into and problematic for my scale and intricacy. I am not knocking it for others, it just isn’t my personal cup of tea.
Every time a line is traced from the original design to fabric, to templates, then cutting out those template, etc… there is an imperceptible shift due to human error and our inability to achieve perfection that builds up in the end to a very perceptible problem. The fewer times I have to mess with these steps, the more accurate and easier it is going to be to get my applique to match up.
This is why I really love the vinyl overlay. It is clear, it is easy to line up my pieces on a background (with no markings) and the prep time? minimal. I can also adjust for those human errors before it becomes a problem down the road. The bonus is I get to the stitching part a lot faster! Yeah!
The right weight of vinyl is crucial. I use the 12mm and it withstands a lot of use and resists stretching. The thinner stuff slides around and stretches with very little handling. It is a nightmare to use. Some people use the clear overhead projector sheets. Size is an issue here for me so I have never used them.
The Vinyl also comes on rolls that are really wide. I have never had a problem dealing with large quilt designs transferred to one complete piece of vinyl. Remember furniture covered in that plastic stuff? This is that stuff only put to a much better use.
For some of you this is old hat, but I have realized there are a lot of beginning and even intermediate appliquers that have never been exposed to this method. I have learned not to assume that everyone knows this, at least on this subject anyway.