Pincushion III

The third pincushion called for some Lizzy House pearl bracelet in teal. This particular one is the hubs' favorite so far, though he also said the same about Pincushion II until III was complete. In any case, it's heading off to a new home soon and I hope it makes the receiver smile. :)
Happy Sewing,

PS Be sure to check out the Applique Tutorial Tab for various picture tute posts in order.



👑 Heather Ross Fabrics are Arriving 👑

The Heather Ross prints are finally arriving. I've been like a kid waiting for Christmas lately, hoping today would be the day...and it was!!

Nearly 14 years ago, I came across some of her most beloved and hard to find prints before I knew what I was looking at. The long out of print (OOP) and very hard to find (VHTF) goldfish and goldfish in bags were at the most adorable quilt shop in Chesterton, IN. I chose the goldfish with the blue background and have no idea where I used it...something for the kids, no doubt. I went to find some more and couldn't track any down. Learning more about the designer, I came across some very early Kokka fabric and sure enough, it was Heather Ross, too from the Rabbits & Race Cars Line. I always loved that fabric but I "don't use much orange" lol. I still have some stashed away in the sewing room. So---some things do change.

I look forward to including several of these amazing prints in a few future projects. They're stacking up quite nicely in the sewing room even though I'm in the midst of "downsizing" lol...everything except my sewing room. Shh. We'll have to keep that between us.


Pink Castle is Closing 😔

Pink Castle Fabric Shop has closed (brick & mortar), the online shop will soon follow. If you'd like to snag some great fabrics at 25% off, please do so soon. Items are selling very quickly. US buyers can get free shipping on orders $100+. I'm so sorry to see this shop disappear---they will be missed.


Pressing the Melon Seam Allowance: FREEZER PAPER METHOD

Using a craft iron on the highest setting, begin at the right side halfway point and work your way around the melon (orange peel). I actually prefer to use a regular iron for this size and shape. The craft iron is helpful for tiny pieces but definitely not worth the time and cost for this particular size/shape. The end results are no better than the standard iron and usually requires more time.

Using the standard iron, begin on the center right, carefully working your way around the shape counterclockwise. Longer fingernails come in handy here. If you are nervous about getting too close to the iron or are not blessed with longer nails, you can help to stabilize your shape by putting several pins straight down into your ironing board. Be sure not to place pins too close to the tips and seam allowance to avoid melting plastic on your iron.

Some of you may have heard that starch is helpful in keeping the seams in place. However, if you are using freezer paper and starch (or glue/glue stick), your shape will become warped and it may be more difficult to remove the freezer paper. It is an extra step that I find unnecessary and messy but you're free to do whatever you'd like.

When you complete the pressing of several melons, you're ready to begin hand sewing. If you are concerned about centering your melons, press the charm square base in half. Open the charm back up and fold and press in the opposite direction. Be careful if you plan to use directional fabrics (has a definite up and down and/or side to side pattern) for any projects, you'll have a little more planning to do at this point. 

Make sure to avoid the seam allowance 1/4 inch on the background charm fabric. It's good practice for your projects. You'll want to pin your shapes to your background fabrics. There are applique specific pins but they aren't necessary if you don't mind snagging a thread every once in a while as you work. I normally use piecing pins on large shapes (see pink cupcake melon below). 

Next, gather your needles and thread. For this level of sewing, using whatever you have on hand will work perfectly. Should you purchase nice fabrics for later, you may want to consider matching thread to your focus fabric (though I have also matched background fabrics before). If you're an advanced hand sewist, you may want to consider using a silk thread eventually. I use YLI for good projects and I match to the background fabric in those cases to avoid having to purchase several spools in lots of different colors.

Those of you accustomed to using beeswax thread for quilting, that thickens the thread and makes it easily viewable. I'll be demonstrating with some just so you can follow along but I do not recommend using bees wax for any applique. I'll be using considerably darker or lighter thread on pieces so each step is viewable. Most people cannot see my applique stitches if the thread matches either the focus or background fabrics. I naturally sew tiny itty bitty stitches. I'll work on making larger stitches to help make viewing a bit better. Please let me know if you're having difficulties seeing anything at any point.

As far as needles are concerned, I tend to use a 10 or 11 sharp or between. They're small needles with tiny eyes. I do not have a preferred brand yet but will be trying a new (to me) product soon and will let you know what I think. If you're using a different standard needle for these practice sessions, please know you'll definitely be able to see those stitches but they should appear smaller when you switch over to applique specific needles. Your stitches will also most likely be farther apart until they're replaced.

Happy Applique!

COMING SOON: stitching your applique melons, curves and pointy points


Making Templates & Freezer Paper Melons

Some supplies you'll need for this segment of the project:
freezer paper
sharp scissors
template with seam allowance
template plastic or heavy card stock
sharp pencils
Light box (optional)

When you gather your supplies, make sure you have access to good lighting to complete these tasks or a light box. If you do not have a light box, you can use a clear craft box or plastic bin turned upside down, placing your phone flash light or other light source underneath.
You'll want to make a template the actual size of the melons first.
To do this, use template plastic or thin cardboard/heavy cardstock. If you are using clear template plastic or the cloudy type, you can lay the plastic over the yellow-green template to trace the shape with a sharp pencil. Your light box will make this process a little easier. If you're opting not to use template plastic, use some freezer paper to trace it (on the paper side, not the plastic side) and iron the freezer paper to the cardboard (recycled cereal box cardboard is perfect). Either way, carefully cut around your melon shape with sharp craft scissors (not fabric scissors). You may want to make several actual size templates at this point in case they are bent, accidentally cut, or you lose them.
If you use sharpie and want to remove the
remaining lines, use rubbing alcohol on
gauze for the best results.
Once your actual size templates are complete, trace the melons on your freezer paper (paper side, not plastic side), nesting them if at all possible. I cut inside the line for the best results using craft scissors. If your actual size template is a little off, that's ok. As long as it's consistent, even an eye for straight will usually look past it. It doesn't have to be perfect, basic applique provides a lot of leeway.

When your freezer paper (actual size) templates are complete, iron the plastic side down to the BACK of your fabric on the bias by placing the shape corner to corner on the 5" charm. Check the first couple with the original template to be sure you have plenty of seam allowance room. Cut on the seam allowance line around each melon.

I tend to cut scant seams without checking the template. For beginners, please be sure to cut the full seam allowance on the original template. You can always trim a bit more later but you can't add any if you need to. :)
Ironing your seams for freezer paper method. If you have a clover type craft iron, plan to use it. I'll show you how to work with that and the regular iron to complete the melon shaped prep.