Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stitchin' Queen 2014 #2

Hello again! Has it been a month already??? How time flies when you are stitching! I can't wait to show you what I have been up to, but I will save that for next week when my project is finished and ready for print.

On to this months lesson of becoming a Stitchin' Queen! This month we are going to be making another label (I sure hope you are coming along with me on this journey. It is going to make a really cute project by years end.) This time we are going to start with something just as simple, and can be done the in the same way as last month, but I really want you to focus to see if you can give this new method a try. This is my go-to method and I use it most often on the projects I create.

We will be using a freezer paper technique this time. We will be making another label that you can use on a dish towel, bag, or a quilt block. I am designing a project for these pieces to be incorporated in, so hang on to them if you are planning on making the final project at the end of the year with me. We are starting with the easy things first.

This method is my very favorite method. It uses freezer paper just as we did last month but without the preparing part. We will be turning the edge of the fabric under to match the freezer paper, the freezer paper takes on a leading role this month. This project took me about an hour to complete from start to finish.

Pros of this method:
1. This method takes little time to prepare before beginning to stitch.
2. This method is quilting freedom. The options for applique shapes are limitless. Whatever you can trace/draw you can applique.
3. Using freezer paper on top of your fabric helps by stiffening up the fabric and making it easy to turn under along the edge of the freezer paper.
4. This method speeds up the process. You only have to trace your design once allowing you to use the piece to aid in overall placement, and also to transfer embroidery lines to your project.

Cons of this method:
1. You have to stay close to an iron to prepare the additional pieces as you create more complicated designs.
2. Pins catch up your thread as you are sewing.
3. The freezer paper can be cumbersome.
4. A bit of shifting of the fabric can occur making it more challenging to replicate your design exactly as printed on the pattern.

Lets Begin with the same steps as last month. First print out the design for this month HERE.

Materials List
Printed pattern from the website
5" Square of white printed fabric
4" square of red fabric for strawberry.
Matching red thread
Embroidery floss in red, white, and green.
Freezer paper
Fray Check
Cardboard template of outer circle from month 1 - or perfect circle template if you have one.
Scissors - paper and fabric
Needles - applique and embroidery

Follow steps 1-3 from my post  HERE  using the strawberry design instead of the orange design, and some red embroidery floss instead of orange. Then follow the steps below.

Remove your freezer paper and cut out the strawberry design using the faint line of the strawberry under the green leaves.
 Iron the paper strawberry to the right side of some red fabric and cut out 1/4" bigger than your paper strawberry. 
Make a small cut 2-3 threads away from the inner curve at the top.
Apply a tiny dot of fray check to the cut so it looks like the picture below.

You don't want to apply too much to your cut. This product dries hard and is difficult to sew through. You just want enough to keep the fabric from fraying when you applique it. The fray check will also keep your applique fabric strong. Each cut you put in your applique weakens the fabric and can help your applique to deteriorate faster over time.
Iron your outer paper template back onto your fabric square. Then use a pin to loosen up the edges about 1/4" to make room for the seam allowance to fit under.

Position your strawberry into place by sliding the seam allowance back under the outer paper template. The cut edges of the paper should line up exactly where you cut it out of the paper.

Use the pin to move the applique and make any adjustments while positioning the applique into place. 
When your applique is into place, pin it to the background fabric keeping in mind that you are going to turn under the seam allowance. You don't want to place your pins too close that you would have to move them while stitching.
Remove the outer paper template and set aside. You will be using this piece later on.

Start on the straight side. I start here because this makes a good place to line up the fabric edge near the end of stitching. Use the tip of your needle to grab the seam allowance and tuck it under the applique.
The fabric will naturally fold at the edge of the paper. The paper tends to make the fabric stiffer allowing the seam allowance to turn under. If your paper is not adhered very well, consider turning up the heat on your iron so that you get a real nice adhesion of the freezer paper to the fabric. When the fabric edge matches the paper edge, bring up your needle from the back side through the fold of the applique. Make sure you use thread that matches your applique color.
Use the tip of your needle to tug the fabric under until it matches that paper edge and then hold it into place with your thumb and index finger.

 Stitch down the applique using the blind stitch. Go down through the background fabric just under the fold of the applique and back up through the fold. My stitches are about 1/8" apart. 
 Sometimes your fabric does this as you are going around an outer curve. Try to avoid making these points, because it will alter the look of your applique.
As you are tucking the seam allowance under with the tip of your needle, the fabric will fold over itself and make a point. I have folded down the edge to show you what is happening under your applique when a point is made.
 To get this point to smooth out, you will take the tip of your needle and pull out the fabric under the point using a counter clockwise motion. I turned over the applique just to show you where you want the tip of your needle to grab on the fabric. You will be working from the top at all times.
 Using this counter clockwise motion, manipulate your needle in this fashion to pull out the fabric from under the fold and smooth out the edge matching up the fabric to the paper edge, and continue to sew down.
 When you get to the inner curve, use this same motion - counter clockwise - to smooth out the fabric to match the inner curve of the paper. Grab the seam allowance with the tip of your needle; pushing upward with your needle against your thumb, sweep the seam allowance under to match the paper edge.
 Continue sewing and tucking the fabric under with the tip of your needle as necessary.
Once you have completed the stitching, peel away the paper to reveal your beautiful work!
 Press your work from behind to keep it flat.
 Next cut out the leaves to transfer your embroidery lines. I use an old pair of embroidery scissors that have lost their sharpness for thread to cut out these lines.
 I use a pin to poke a small hole for the dots.
 Also cut out the leaf design from the outer template and iron both pieces back onto your fabric square. Then with a pencil, trace the embroidery design onto the strawberry within the cutout.
Peel the paper off, and now you are ready to embroider.
 Lets start with a French Knot for the dots. With two strands of matching floss on your needle, come up through the fabric at your penciled dot mark.
 Wrap the thread around the needle three times and keep taunt.
 Angle the needle towards the background fabric a thread or two away from where your thread comes out.
 Position your needle upright keeping the thread taunt and push your needle down through the fabric.
 Holding that thread taunt slowly push your needle towards the back. Hold the knot into place while you thread the additional thread through the knot towards the back.
 Your knot should tighten nicely against the fabric. Don't pull your thread too tight from underneath on this stitch, because it can cause your knot to tighten changing its look.
 Embroider the highlight in white floss using a satin stitch with two strands just like we did last month.
 Embroider the leaves in green floss using a satin stitch as well. If you hate this stitch, you can always eliminate a leaf on each side so you don't have to embroider so many if you like.
Trim off the corners of your square to make a circle and sew a basting stitch all the way around your circle just like the instruction last month.
Pull your threads tight over the template of the outer circle, leaving them long. Starch and iron the circle until dry, then remove the template and re-tighten the strings to hold all of that seam allowance in place.
You have finished your second lesson! Next month we will be combining lesson 1 & 2 to create our final label. Are you having fun yet?

Whenever I stitch strawberries I feel blessed. I was fortunate enough to have the love of my life work hard for our needs in order to give me the time to do what I love. I think of that rhyme....

Curly locks, curly locks wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash dishes nor yet feed the swine,
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
and feed upon strawberries, sugar and cream.

And.....to be honest that is what I am doing. Dirty dishes in the sink and no dinner made, but I am sure enjoying my stitching and fresh strawberries!


  1. Thanks so much for doing this. I read about the needle tuck technique on another website and have been doing my own version of it for the past two quilts. As you know the one I am working on now is taking all my skills and this workshop is a huge help. You are filling in the blanks for me once more. Thanks
    Pam Tippen

  2. oh my word...your superpower is the BEST in the Quilting world who does needle turn ...OH MY WORD Cori...it has been YOU who has kept me inspired and now doing more and more of this..your berries are just succulant

  3. I stumbled upon these today and was really curious what you did with them in the end. They are adorable and I printed out all the patterns for the strawberry jar. Not exactly sure what I will do with it, but it is calling out to me to do some practicing on my applique.