Friday, April 8, 2016

Wool Robin Applique- So Pretty!

As you may have guessed....I love to sew.  I also enjoy gardening during our lovely Western New York summers.  This was the view out my window this morning....

I may have to wait a bit longer to start digging in the dirt!  I know, I know...I'm rambling but there is a point I am trying to make.  With the beginning of spring, I also love the return of the songbirds. Robins, bluebirds and orioles....Yes!  You can imagine how excited I was to find this adorable applique pattern. The pattern is called Awakenings by Crane Designs.  If you like wool applique like I do, you will want to check out their amazing patterns!

I am particularly proud of myself because I bought this pattern last summer and have it completed in time for spring!

I thought that I would share some of the things that helped me in making this project.
It was a bit tedious cutting out all of the tiny wool pieces but I think the finished project was well worth the effort.  I cut all of the pieces, labeled them and kept them organized in small sandwich bags. It was helpful that all of the pattern pieces were labeled.

Another nice feature of this pattern was the layout guide and pattern to make the oval shape.

I was unable to find a piece of background wool in the exact color that I wanted but I did find a really nice flannel so I decided to use it as the background.  I fused a piece of medium weight interfacing to the wrong side of the flannel to give it a bit of stability for stitching.  I then traced the oval on the interfaced side of the flannel and basted carefully on the outline that I drew.  I will explain why I did this basting later.
Look will see my oval!

I then started placing the cut shapes on the right side of the flannel.  The stitching allowed me to see the oval so I had accurate placement.  I used a tiny amount of  glue to secure each piece.

The pattern suggested using a blanket or buttonhole stitch around the outside of each piece. These pieces are quite tiny and I don't like my stitches to look heavy so I used a single strand of embroidery floss and just took tiny stitches around the edges to secure each piece.

I decided to use a print cotton for my backing.  I started with a 1/2 yard cut of this cute Jo Morton print.  

I did not want to leave an opening for turning on the side of the curve because I was pretty sure that it would leave a bump or bulge and I wanted to have a perfect oval.  So...I cut the backing piece in half and sewed it back together again right sides together with a 1/2" seam and leaving a 6" opening for turning.

I then placed the completed appliqued flannel piece right sides together with the backing piece and pinned carefully around the curves.

I then sewed carefully just inside the basting line.  I used my edge foot to keep the stitch line very close to the basting and stitched all the way around the oval. You will notice that I didn't cut the oval shape but instead stitched around the oval using the basting as a guide.  I find that this is easier than trying to manipulate and oval.  It seems to lay flat with no shifting using this method.

The next step was trimming around the oval.  I trimmed a scant 1/4" from the basting line.

All that was left to do was turn through the opening in the back, press well and slip stitch the opening closed.  One word about the pressing....all of the handling of this piece can leave it looking pretty wrinkled.

 I didn't want to press it too aggressively because I didn't want to "squish" the applique pieces.  Thankfully, I just recently learned about this ironing mat from Bo-Nash.

I have been using it for hand and machine embroidery projects and think it is awesome! It defuses the steam from your iron so it removes the wrinkles but doesn't crush you stitching and fibers.

This is absolutely one of my new favorite tools! 
I loved making this little mat and think the pattern was very well done.
Snow outside?  No problem! It looks like spring on my coffee table!


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