Monday, February 27, 2012

Invisible Machine Applique, Check! Scrabble Label Attached to Quilt Backing

Pieced Scrabble Label Appliqued to Quilt Backing
I spent so much more time thinking/planning/agonizing and researching this step than I spent actually doing anything.  I pieced together this "Mommy Loves Lars" label at least a week ago and set it aside while I prepared the backing fabric and mulled over how best to applique the Scrabble label to the back of the quilt.  Other than some little maple leaf stems that I appliqued onto pieced blocks several years ago by hand, I have no prior experience with applique whatsoever.  When I took the mastery classes for my nifty sewing machine, I remembered them showing us how easy it was to do machine applique, but this was my first try.  My biggest concern was making sure that the appliqued label was perfectly flat to the backing fabric, with no bubbling or puckering, because it's going to be upside down on the bottom of the quilt throughout the quilting process and I won't be able to see if I'm getting pleats and puckers in the label until it's too late to do much about them.

So, I researched my options.  I decided to use Pellon Wonder Under fusible web to secure the applique in place prior to stitching instead of pins, and then I adhered tearaway embroidery stabilizer to the wrong side of my backing fabric with temporary spray adhesive for more support.  I used the monofilament nylon thread in a size 60 Microtex needle, with cotton thread in the bobbin, and reduced my upper thread tension from 4.0 to 3.0.  I used a preprogrammed invisible applique stitch on my machine (Sitch #1331 on the Bernina Artista 200/730) with stitch length and width both set to 1.0.  Foot #20 gave me plenty of visibility, although sewing with invisible nylon thread is kind of unnerving because you can't see the thread -- you just have to watch the needle and trust that there is, indeed, thread in it! 

Honestly, this wasn't hard at all once I got started.  I'm really glad that I fused the applique in place instead of pinning and that I remembered to use stabilizer under the fabric.  The most difficult part was that, unlike appliqueing small shapes onto a 10" or 12" quilt block, I was appliqueing a piece that was about 10" tall and wide onto a background fabric that was 80" x 115", and I had to bunch all that fabric up so I could keep turning it under the sewing machine until all sides of the applique were stitched down.  Once I had sewn all the way around the applique shape, I threaded the thread tails through a hand needle so I could pull them to the wrong side and tie them to the bobbin thread tails.  Piece of cake!

In hindsight, I probably should have appliqued the label onto one side of the backing fabric before I seamed the two fabric widths together, but this method worked just fine.

Next up: the "Drunken Dragons" quilt title, my name, and the year need to be embroidered someplace inconspicuous on the quilt top, near an edge someplace.  Then the quilt top can get a final pressing and starching, and I can layer and baste the quilt top, batting and backing and get started with the quilting part.

1 comment:

Ivory Spring said...

Oh my, I love the quilt scrabbles!!! You are so creative. It's so good to hear from you... I am finally back, and hopefully back to Eastern Time, instead of Asian time. ;)