Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Oma's Blues Progess; making templates and starting to sew.

I set aside a couple of days for sewing this week. I fancied a quiet time to recover after the stress of my father's illness and appliqué hit the spot nicely.
I had been studying Simply Successful Applique by Jeanne Sullivan for the best way to make templates. I decided to try a few different ones to find which suited me best. Initially I thought I would use fusible Wash-Away sheets for templates but there had been several comments on the Yahoo group that this product might not wash away completely so in the end I chose to use freezer paper. The book suggested that ironing two sheets of freezer paper together would provide a more stable template.
Mike had acquired a rectangular wooden wine box and it struck me that it would be ideal as a light box. The wooden top was replaced with a perspex sheet and a 10 watt fluorescent light was fixed inside. Ridiculously easy and saved us a whole lot of money too. I look a bit studious in the photo but I was concentrating and not posing.

Tracing the freezer paper templates
The central medallion is a basket of flowers and a bird surrounded by the triangle pieced ring with so many small elements so I needed to be organised. I labelled and numbered the various elements on the plan of the design and as I cut the templates I also labelled them and placed them in ziplock bags.
Selecting the fabrics was the most difficult part for me. I was trying the base the tones on the colours in our Chinese plate with a good range of dark, medium and light blue tones. I had found the ideal fabric to fussy cut for the bird's wing but trying to get a good range of blues with similar tones was hard. Some were too green, others too lilac.

Once the fabrics were chosen I ironed the freezer paper templates on the right side of the fabric. These were cut with a scant ¼" border for the majority of the shapes and ⅛" for the tiny pieces. The freezer paper templates were then detached, the material turned to the wrong side and the templates laid down with the shiny side up.
Concave curves were snipped to a couple of threads from the template. I turned the border over and 'tacked' the straight sides with a touch of the Clover iron. The edges adhere to the freezer paper to stabilize the piece.  Using the Apliquick tools I turned the curves over and used spray starch liquid applied with a paintbrush and the Clover iron to set small gathers to make a smooth curve. I hope I have described that adequately and I highly recommend the book for lots of information and great photos of all the techniques.

The background fabric was marked with lines of running stitch from corner to corner diagonally and from top to bottom and side to side to find the central point. These lines are to help with the placing of the templates. I also traced a vinyl overlay as in the photo below so that I could slip pieces under to the correct positions. Another easy way to place the pieces is to use the master pattern on the light box and place the block on top. The pattern is seen easily through the fabric. The stems, bird and leaf were stitched first then the basket and large flower.

appliqué with vinyl overlay
So, my progress so far is slow but very satisfying. I really feel I am getting to grips with some new techniques.

If you fancy having a go at this there is a link to the Oma's Blues group in the side bar on the right. If you join the group there is access to the pattern for free plus some great Easter projects.

Enjoy your week,


I'll be linking with Esther Aliu's WOW party on Wednesday. If you have any WIP's you are working on why not add your link as well? Click the image for WOW in the right hand column to go to Esther's blog.

I'm also linking to Celtic Thistle's New to Me in 2015 (see the link button on the right). I thought I had nothing new until Fiona suggested the lightbox and the matter of a few new to me appliqué techniques!


  1. Hello Catherine,

    I love your appliques very much. I think it is very hard to make them and yours are perfect.

    Cheers, Sandra

  2. I love, love, love your color choice. I wanted to join in but knew I would not have the time or patience to follow through to the end. I know when I see yours finished I will want to kick my self. The wash-away, do you use it the same as freezer paper starch method but just don't remove? I have heard that even though all does not wash away it becomes softer over time unlike fusible. Have you used it before?

  3. Very good post, Catherine, thank you for sharing your progress with us. I haven't started my Oma's project yet, want to get on with some current projects first, but I am also finding a choice of fabrics little difficult in this case. I have many fabrics ready and waiting, but I know it is not going to be easy to choose. :-)

  4. Such an informative post, Catherine; thank you! Oh my, your applique is looking lovely, so much intricate work involved. Your fabric choices are superb!

  5. Fabulous applique Catherine, all that concentration is paying off :)

  6. This is coming along beautifully. Thank you for the tips too. Double layer freezer paper is a good idea and your wine box/light box is genius. I laugh now to think how I've struggled with holding bits of paper up against the window :D

  7. Catherine your Oma's Blue is beautiful. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  8. Wow, some beautiful work!

  9. that looks beautiful already - what a fantastic project!

  10. Love the applique and colours pretty

  11. Catherine-- I'm in awe-- this is amazing! I couldn't do this in a million years. I love the blue fabrics-- this is going to be just gorgeous:)


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