Monday, April 23, 2018

Applique Handwork For a Road Trip (Part 1)

For our road trip to southern California, I prepared a few pieces of hand sewing that I could work on in the car.  As long as it's a straight highway, like Highway 5, I can sew in the car.

I found this image on Pinterest.  I really liked the design of the blocks, and thought this would be a fun way to use up some purple-ish fabric that I have.  

There was no pattern or diagram, so I had to make my own.  This is my first attempt at drawing the design.  I decided on 12 1/2" blocks, and below is the left-hand side of the block.  It took a little experimenting to get the right size for the petals and leaf.

Here I refined the drawing  so that I could make templates.  

I made templates from double layers of freezer paper.  I made a cutting template and a separate actual-size template.

Below is where I am using spray starch and a make-up sponge brush to press down the edges of the leaves.  I didn't have a proper brush when I started, so I was using a Q-tip for an applicator.  Of course, that became fuzzy after a bit and was unusable.  But they're cheap, and they do have two tips on one handle!  Then I decided to try a makeup-applicator.  It seemed to work well, but then it, too broke down after not too long.  I guess it's not intended for this purpose!

Spray starch in the can's lid.

Here are several finished pressed petals.  They look a little like small canoes, don't you think?!?

Or maybe pea pods!?!

Here is my test square.  I have lots of this purple batik fabric:  different "dye patterns" but the same colors.  I sewed the purple to a few different yellow fabrics that I had in my stash to make the background for the flowers.  

I glued down the stem and petals for the appliqué  and that worked fairly well.  But there was a definite presence of glue!  Maybe I was a little heavy-handed.

This close-up shows the purple fabric showing through the paler yellow fabric of the flower petals.  I took care of that by using a scissors to trim out the back purple fabric.  That went pretty well, until I snipped a hole in one of the yellow petals!  AAARRRGGGGGHHHHHH!  I think excess glue on the petals made it too hard to separate the petal fabric from the purple background fabric, which aided in my snipping the petal fabric.

I can fix this by removing that damaged petal and sewing on a replacement.  So the whole block is not wasted.

 Now I have about 16 blocks all ready to take with me in the car.  I have used pins instead of glue.  On this test block, I hadn't yet added the green leaf to the stem, or the light green circle to the center of the flower.


  1. Super cute! Looks like a lot of work too!!!

  2. Thanks! Actually, Harmony, it is a lot of pre-work. But good prep makes the actual sewing easier.