Applique Mock-Up Idea



One of the most frustrating things in the past for me was how to determine in advance if my color ideas, any ideas, for my hand applique design would turn out in the end.   Not only did I need to test out my ideas before committing all of that time (many months and/or years) to a hand applique project, I also needed to test out my embroidery detail ideas too.  I didn’t want to find out in the end that if I had swapped a color, or changed out a simple design element, the quilt would have turned out just how I wanted it.  Perfect.

Some appliquers cut out their template pieces finished size and then do a loose preliminary block layout.   That works OK, but I need something a little more permanent that I can refer back to as I work and not have those pieces fall off.  Have you noticed they tend to do that if not fastened down?  :o)

So….I found a use for glue and applique that didn’t involve using the stuff on my real quilt.  Glue works great for testing ideas on a sample mock-up.  Fusibles can work here too but are just extra work and a needless mess.  Plus the pieces tend to lift after a lot of handling with fusible.

I was testing out a border pattern, but I wanted to get the sweet pea colors right.  These are fairly small pieces so I didn’t want to have to keep hand appliqueing these until I got it right.  Call me lazy.  


When I got the colors right, I glued them down and then I tested embroidery ideas and colors.
All of the embroidery detail information is written right on the sample


First I played with fabrics until I found the right result and then I glued them down when I had them right.  Next, I started playing with the embroidery ideas and when I had the combination of stitch, thread and color worked out, I then would take a pigma pen and write directly on the test piece beside the  stitch what I had used such as color number, stitch and number of strands.  Normally I would also write the type of thread such as “DMC” etc., but I knew this was the only thread I was using here. 

 Now I have a handy key to refer to while constructing the quilt without having to go back and figure out what I want to use.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes a project gets put aside for a time and then when I pick it up again, It is like, “uh oh what thread did I use? what color?  Oh no!”.  Can you say another UFO sentenced to the back of a closet never to be seen again until well…..never?


Applique goes relatively fast after the mock-up has taken care of the guessing work.
Applique goes relatively fast after the mock-up has taken care of the guessing work.


I could put this project away for a year and come back to it and start in easily because I have that reference sample that gives me all the information I need to complete this quilt at any time.  I also know that everything is going to work out in advance of ever taking a stitch.  All it took me was small amount of time to glue the pieces down and document while working on the reference piece, the thread combination I used.  Easy peasy.

Sometimes the answers are really simple and uncomplicated to create a smooth process and cut down on some of the time it takes to do hand applique.

©2009 Sandra Leichner