Happy February! I'm introducing, in part, the BONUS pattern for this month with a "hearts & flowers" theme. This lavish cutie, resembling an old-fashioned Valentine, was originally designed in the 1950's for HIS and HER pillowcases. I still think that's a charming idea, but decided to put those personalization’s aside leaving the heart open for interpretation for whatever tickles your fancy. Just fill in with your heart's desire. I had some rather fanciful ideas of my own and with the magic of CGI have some examples to show you:
However pretty though it may be, applique I realize, is seriously scary unknown territory for some. Especially when it comes to hearts which require a certain amount of finesse and precision. But the good news is, there are techniques that make it less fussy.
I admit I'm still a fan of freezer paper for small patches, but for larger appliques, and especially when sewing hearts and keeping those lovely curves smooth and symmetrical, I have embraced the 'fusible interfacing method' whole-heartedly. In fact, I love it! I discovered this method last year and blogged a bit about it here. There's a link to the Eleanor Burns tutorial giving a hands-on demo. I'm giving you the short version for making a heart as a starting point, but in general this technique can be used for most large applique pieces. Yes, even the butterfly wings for this block. I know...exciting!
So here's how to get started:
1. Trace heart (or other shape) onto the WRONG side of fabric matching straight of grain as shown. Make sure your fabric is at least one inch larger all the way around your pattern to allow for seam allowance, and for any shifting that may occur while stitching.
2. Place your fabric and the light-weight fusible interfacing together with RIGHT sides facing; pin. Stitch around the entire piece following the traced line on the fabric as your guide. (Reduce stitch length to navigate around intricate curves to keep seams smooth.)
3. Trim around heart leaving a 1/4" seam allowance, cut off tip of point and clip curves.
4. Cut a small opening in the middle of the interfacing and turn the applique right side out. Gently push out point and curves with a bodkin, wooden chopstick or use the eraser-end of an unsharpened pencil. Smooth out by hand, don't press yet.
5. Place applique into position on background fabric; press with hot iron. The fusible interfacing will stick to the fabric making basting unnecessary. (I place one pin in the center though, just in case it shifts). The edges of the applique can be sewn by hand using a basic Blind Stitch, an Applique Outline Stitch, a Blanket Stitch; or machine-stitched with zigzag or another decorative option.