Sunday, June 8, 2014

Freezer Paper Applique' - From Concept to Finish - And a GIVE-AWAY!!!!!

I know we're in the midst of a MODERN QUILT movement, but, I guess I'm just old fashioned.
Actually, I just LOVE handwork.
I can't seem to quit stitching, for some reason.
Is it because I don't smoke?

Well, anyway, here's the Freezer Paper method from concept to finish.
First, it started with a sketch, then a drawing, then a design in Electric Quilt.

I traced the applique pieces (horse, sleigh, driver, swags) onto freezer paper and cut them out. Then I ironed them to the back of the fabrics I chose to represent the pieces in the picture.

Next, I clip the inside curves and angles only (not the outside curves....those seem to lie right down by themselves).

The horse is rather complex, but just follow along. It looks rough, doesn't it? I don't iron the seam allowances....just finger press and stitch.

The hemming process on a piece like the horse can be a little bit of a challenge.

It's good to not handle the material too much....don't belabor it or things start to fray.

Just work right along...turning and stitching. I'm using a quilting thread to hem with.

Here's an inside angle that needs a little convincing. I don't mind the time it takes to prepare these pieces for the final stitching to the background. I try to find a good radio program, computer broadcast, audio book or a friend to keep me company.

You can learn a  lot and create some warm friendships while stitching.

The legs are almost done. See that the points are sticking out? That's okay. I'll show you how to tuck those in as we go along. And the angles on the curves can be rounded out during the blind stitching process.

Oh, be sure to leave your knots on top, always. Your basted hem thread will stay in, with the paper, until you finish blind stitching the shapes to the background.

Another inside angle....

legs done....giddy-up there!

The rest is easy....

....even the ears.

I creased the background to locate the center. Also, I always make my background a couple of inches bigger than I need it to be to allow for shrinkage from the stitching and errors in centering. Here, I've laid out the pieces to see the order in which they should be stitched down.

See, the points are almost all still sticking out.....

The old gray mare is looking very frisky.

It takes a little pushing and pulling to get everything just right....

I thought the runner would be more difficult but it was easy.....

So, after I get them where I want them. I remove all but the first pieces, the hat, mitten, sleeve and runner.

I choose embroidery floss that matched the fabric. You can also use invisible polyester threads for this but I didn't have what I wanted of that when I was working on this project.

Also, some of that thread is so invisible, I CAN'T SEE IT....and that's not good.
Aged eyesight, you know what I mean? 

I pin the pieces down with little applique pins. Sometimes I use fabric glue. Be sure, though, when using glue, not to glue the paper and stay away from the basting threads. Pins are easier in a way, even though they make a bit of a "wave" in the fabrics.

Using one strand of the floss,

take tiny stitches....

around each piece, right on the very edge....

....see? Notice the hat is completely closed piece, while the mitten has one end open. I've slit the background fabric on the hat, to remove the paper from the back (be sure to remove the basting thread from the front, first). The mitten paper, I can remove from the front without slitting the background. This doesn't hurt the quilt. Some appliquer's remove all but the seam allowance from the back of each piece to make the quilt lie down flatter.

When a piece is completely anchored, and before you add another layer, remove your basted hem thread knot....

pull out the thread with your tweezers.....

and remove the paper from the open side of the shape.

All the shapes which have an open side can be removed this way. Because the runner was so thin, I took the paper out before I blind-stitched the edges down.

I pinned them and stitched them.

Next, add the upper layers....I'm laying the sleigh over to see where the scarf should go....then pinning the scarf down.

To do the points, stitch up to the point going counter-clockwise and including the point, itself. Then, using the needle, tuck the extra fabric in. Don't trim it. It looks like a lot, but it will go. If you trim it too small, you'll have a "hairy point" and that's not good.

Tuck and pinch it down with your fingers, nice and tight.....


then, stitch just the edge of the shape.....

and pull the thread tight....but not too tight....

and continue on your way....

Once the sleigh was done, I started on the horse.

Pin her down good....

so you can see where the bottom pieces, the mane and tail, should be placed.....

Stitch them down first.....

Then start on the horse's body......stitching the ears is just another point thing to do.....

Stitch counter clockwise....

like I showed you on the points of the scarf....

You'll make it just fine.

One ear....

at a time....

heading down to the inside angle between the two.....


Well, eventually, the piece was completely in place, embroidered and embellished - see the bells?  Also, I used some colored pencil on the horse to show her shape and coloring.....

 Didn't the quilting make a difference in the center of the piece? I drew a bit of landscape with a Frixion pen and Lise Ott, who quilted it, used that as her guide to produce a frozen landscape.

You can see the embroidery details.....

and a bead I added to the blanket.

And here's the finished center. Was it worth the work? Yes, I believe so. 

I'm exploring a change in this technique, though, and I'll keep you posted on how that goes. It's a secret right now but it should shorten the process.....and I love the process of hand sewing. Don't ask me why. My mother and my grandmothers, before her, loved the process of hand stitching also. It might be in the genes, even though I thought, all my life, I would probably not ever be a quilter. Life changes us, doesn't it?

It's high time we had a contest!

 Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite quilting process and win the pattern of your choice from our collection.

I'll draw the winner on Monday, June 16th, at 5 PM Pacific Daylight Time.

Keep on stitching!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Gill. What kind of quilting do you like best?

  2. Well you sure make it sound easy, that's for sure. Guess I better get my freezer paper out and give it a try! Thanks for breaking things down so well for us!

    1. Hi - I'm glad it sounds easy. It is that......easy. It just takes a little prep time. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Your wall hanging is gorgeous.


    1. Thanks, Sandra. Wall Hangings are a lot of fun. What kind of quilting do you like the best?

    2. Hey, Sandra! Your name was drawn and you have won a free pattern of your choice! Congratulations!

  4. What a great tutorial and what an adorable quilt. The quilting and embellishments are the perfect finishing touches!

    1. Hi Karen - Thank you for the compliments. What kind of quilting do you like the best?

  5. The quilt is so adorable.I really like all the embellishments that you added. I love to do needle-turn applique. I think it is much faster.LOL

    1. I think needle turn is quicker, too. I have been learning it but haven't been teaching it. It seems like there are lots of tutorials around, already. In my patterns, I don't give instructions for it; just freezer paper and fusible. For a larger piece, though, I would include some guidelines for needle turn. Thank you for stopping by.

  6. What a gorgeous design! My problem is that I love all the quilting processes, needleturn is a favourite though!

    1. You are diverse. That's a good way to be. Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us.

  7. i want to learn to do this, but spend all my time making quilt's. love that !!!

    1. So many scraps, so little time. I feel pressed for time all the time. I see quilts I love and I love them whether they're modern, applique, pieced or glued. Just can't help it! Thanks for coming by and leaving a word or two.

  8. that is such a cute pattern. great tutorial too.

    1. Thanks, Carrie. The results are the funnest part.


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