June 14, 2019

Project a Month: English Paper Piecing with Liza Lucy - Attaching Your Applique

Hi all! For this month's Project a Month, I am stitching along with the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug.

English Paper Piecing

When I left you last week, I had hand-sewn my hexagon flowers together, and was ready to attach them to a tea towel -

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Honestly, I'd been itching to hand sew appliques for awhile now.

I've always been terrified of needle-turn applique, so what reassured me about English paper piecing is that your corners are already neatly tucked under.

I took out my extra-fine thread and thinnest needle, and got started. You can just barely see my teeny stitches here:

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

That's the magic of this applique method - if you choose a thread color close to your fabric, use tiny stitches, just under the edge, they will be virtually invisible on both sides!

Again, I recommend Liza Lucy's explanation of this method in this Creativebug class - I don't know about you, but I have to see someone doing something before it really clicks. Her explanation was thorough and helped me understand where to put my needle. All the photos and illustrations in the world don't help me as much as a clear video can!

And here is my finished applique towel!

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Left unsecured in the center, the fabric tends to kind of flow and look a bit rumpled:

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

In a close-up photo like this, you might think it's more noticeable than it actually is. In real life, I barely notice it at all - so I think it all boils down to personal preference. Hand-sewing each edge down is a time-consuming, slow craft, but I enjoy the soft vintage look and feel of it!

Another way to applique

I had just bought some Pellon paper-backed interfacing, and I was curious to try attaching my appliques this way...

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

I traced my hexagon on the paper side...

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Gave the applique a quick press, removed the papers, and pressed it again to keep the edges extra neat...

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Cut out the Pellon...
2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Ironed it down, peeled off the paper backing...
2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

Then I ironed the applique onto the towel, and voila! My new tea towel!

applique tea towel

I like how crisp the edges look and how nice and flat the entire applique is. This is definitely a more photogenic piece...

2 ways of attaching hexagon appliques

On the left, hand-sewn applique secured only on the edges; on the right, applique secured with paper-backed fusible interfacing.

More Hexagon Projects

Hexagon placemats

When I realized how FAST and easy attaching my appliques with Pellon was, I went a bit nuts with it. :)

one more hexagon towel

I spent a whole afternoon appliquing anything that would sit still long enough! Ok, maybe I didn't go THAT crazy. But I did end up with matching placemats and another tea towel, seen above. I loved adding more than one big hexagon flower, and the bold graphic look it has.

It was in this full-tilt applique madness that I discovered that some fabrics did not take to the applique as well - my tea towels have a weave to them, so that might be part of the problem, but the edges did begin to lift and separate.

So all in all, I think the best option for items you will throw in the wash frequently is to secure with paper-backed interfacing AND hand-stitched edges. If you aren't going to wash your items, just paper-backed interfacing is probably fine.

Which Applique Method is Better?

I think both methods have their pros and cons and it all boils down to personal taste.

Hand-sewn Applique
Pros:
Stitching is virtually invisible
Finished applique is soft and moves more like fabric

Cons:
Time consuming (could be a pro if you like slow-stitching)
Fabric rumples a bit (could be a pro if you like this more vintage look)

Paper-backed Interfacing Applique

Pros:
Very fast!
Finished applique lays very flat and sharp corners are preserved.

Cons:
Fabric has a stiffer feel and look
Edges must be very neat before ironing as they will show through if they are bulky
Certain fabrics don't take perfectly, and parts of your applique may start to lift

What do you think?

Have you tried either method of applique? Which do you think looks better? Which do you prefer to stitch?

Next week: Embroidery!

Next week, I'll take you through my experiments in adding embroidery to my hexagon projects!

Hi, I'm floresita, editor of Feeling Stitchy. I'm an avid stitcher, knitter, and crafter. You can see more of my stitching on Instagram and my blog. My vintage transfer collection is on Vintage Transfer Finds.

Feel free to email me with any ideas for the blog!

June 12, 2019

Wonderful Wednesday #74: Mollie Johanson

Wonderful Wednesday 74 - Mollie Johanson EPP Ties pattern as featured by floresita on Feeling Stitchy

I hope you were inspired by my Project a Month post last week on English Paper Piecing!

Maybe you'd like to try your hand at EPP, but don't want to dive too deep just yet - well, this lovely FREE Father's Day card tutorial by Mollie Johanson is perfect for you! I just adore this bow tie - and it has me remembering with fondness my dad's epic collection of ties. Sadly I didn't keep any, but the memory of them lingers on. :)


Isn't it funny how once you start doing something, you begin to notice it everywhere? That's how it is with English Paper Piecing and hexagons lately - I see them everywhere! This is an older tutorial by Mollie, but super cute and super quick to make just in time for Father's Day!

Hi, I'm floresita, editor of Feeling Stitchy. I'm an avid stitcher, knitter, and crafter. You can see more of my stitching on Instagram and my blog. My vintage transfer collection is on Vintage Transfer Finds.

Feel free to email me with any ideas for the blog!

June 7, 2019

Project a Month: English Paper Piecing - Liza Lucy on Creativebug

Project a Month 7 - English Paper Piecing a Creativebug class with Liza Lucy as featured by floresita on Feeling Stitchy

Here's something I thought I'd never try - hand-sewing and paper piecing- but after following along with the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug, I finally felt confident enough to give it a try!

About Creativebug

This is not a sponsored post - I've had a monthly subscription to Creativebug since January - and I highly recommend it if you are looking to jumpstart your creativity. Cheaper than Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu, cheaper still than individual crafting books and kits, and time very well spent, in my opinion.

If you have any doubts about a monthly subscription to Creativebug, do look around first and be sure that there are classes that pique your curiosity - Creativebug is light on hand embroidery, but I am enjoying supplementing my creative skills in general, as with this English Paper Piecing class.

My final project will include not just paper piecing and hand-sewing, but also of course, some embroidery!

My Materials

English paper piecing

My materials for this project (a few pictured above):
scrap paper (for piecing)
hexagon template
needle
thread
scissors
rotary cutter
self-healing cutting mat
thrifted men's shirts

This spread in a book called Patchcraft by Elsie Svennas was what first inspired me:
Patchcraft by Elsie Svennas

I got the general idea, but wasn't sure about the little details...

Enter the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug -  her class is so clear, so detailed, so easy to understand. I am sure you can find many online tutorials and resources out there, but I think what sets this class apart is the quality of the content and Liza Lucy's eye for color and detail.

What is Paper Piecing?

Some of you may be wondering (as I always was) what the heck is paper piecing? Just hearing the word gave me jitters, and I'd skip over anything that required this skill because I was so intimidated by quilting in general.

But it's really so easy!

Paper piecing just means using pieces of paper cut to a specific shape to serve as a template to wrap your fabric around and keep it in place while sewing it together. It helps keep your edges sharp and neat and keep your fabric from going all wonky. You tack your fabric around the paper piece using either temporary glue or basting stitches. The last step is removing the papers and basting stitches, just before your item is finished.

My project

Project a Month June

I started by cutting into my 7 thrifted men's shirts - cutting the hexagons with my template and rotary cutter was time-consuming but fun, and I had a good time moving all the pieces around like a little puzzle.

English paper piecing

Then, using scrap paper cut to the size of my template I folded the fabric over the edges of my paper and hand-basted them using long, quick stitches...

English paper piecing

DON'T do what I did here and DO use a heavy thread in a contrasting color - use the cheapo stuff in the wacky colors you never use, since it's all going to come off, anyway. I only had white with me, so I used white, which is a bit hard to see.

English paper piecing

I was three hexagons in, and totally itching to do more! I loved the look of all the contrasting stripes and checks together.

By the next morning:
English paper piecing

I was 35 hexagons in and I was utterly hooked! I'd spent the whole night basting these little hexagons, and only stopped when I was too exhausted to lift my needle. I had so much fun moving the shapes around and experimenting with the flower shape.

Once your hexagons are basted, the next step is to sew them together!
English paper piecing

English Paper Piecing

The paper provides a firm foundation, keeping your shapes crisp and neat as you sew. Don't take them out until you are absolutely finished!

English paper piecing

Here's the thread I'm using, if you're curious - it is extra fine. I used the thinnest needle I had, from a lovely vintage stash I bought recently.

English paper piecing

And here is a completed flower!

English paper piecing

And another!

A word on imperfection

On Instagram, some people commented on the neatness of my stitching - but don't let these pictures fool you - they are far from perfect. I really like that Liza Lucy talks about this in her class and gives you a bit of confidence that even when your shapes don't match up exactly, it's not the end of the world, and you can probably get them to line up just fine when you sew them together.

My scrap paper hexagons were not exact and my edges were wonky, but I still got some nice flowers out of them, so beginners don't freak out if your edges don't completely match. My more advanced stitchers know that the crucial thing to getting pieces to match up are templates of the exact same size - there are store bought pieces if this is very important to you.

What I love about these hexagon shapes is that the possibilities are endless - I'm just using fabric scraps - but imagine what you can do, in your favorite colors and textures! I love the idea of re-purposing something old and making it new again, which is why I'm using scraps, but how many of you have a huge fabric stash waiting to be used? This is the technique to try if you've always wanted to try patchwork or applique!

Stitch along with me!

Again, I am stitching along with the English Paper Piecing class with Liza Lucy on Creativebug, this class is well worth your time if you'd like to learn this method. Next week I'll show you what I did with my hexagons!

Have any of you tried English paper piecing? What are your likes and dislikes? Do you have any suggestions or questions? Leave a comment for us!

Hi, I'm floresita, editor of Feeling Stitchy. I'm an avid stitcher, knitter, and crafter. You can see more of my stitching on Instagram and my blog. My vintage transfer collection is on Vintage Transfer Finds.

Feel free to email me with any ideas for the blog!

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