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Placement of Applique Pieces posted: 2/24/2003
by Ila McCallum Printable Page
Category: Applique Method: Hand
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There are many methods of indicating the placement for appliqué pieces. Some methods involve marking on the fabric and some do not. Below are several methods. Each person works differently and one person may use one method for a given piece and another person another method. I find that I use different methods depending on the background fabric, where I will be doing the appliqué (I appliqué while commuting), and the design.

Marking on the background fabric:

  • Method 1:
    • Tracing the entire pattern on the background fabric.
    • This method works well when the background fabric is a plain or lightly patterned fabric and light marks can be seen.
    • It also is helpful when there are many smaller pieces and placement is critical.
    • Be sure to test the marker that you use before you start to make sure that the marks will come out of the fabric if there are any lines not covered by the appliqué.
    • I use this method in my beginning classes as it helps the students visualize the entire block while working on it.
  • Method 2:
    • Instead of tracing around the pieces, you can put locating marks on the background.
    • Mark points of leaves, centers of flowers, and centers of stems.
    • You can use a system of dots to be aligned with corresponding dots on the templates for the appliquéd pieces.
    • This does not work if you have a background fabric with a small print or dots since the marks will get lost in the pattern.
    • This method works well if exact placement of each line is not a must and you can see the marks.

Not marking on the background fabric:

  • Method 3:
    • A light table or window is a great tool for placement of appliqué pieces and not marking on the background fabric.
    • Pin the pattern to the back of the background fabric being careful that the pattern is correctly placed in the block.
    • Place the pattern and background fabric on the light source and carefully pin the appliqué pieces onto the background fabric.
    • This does not work if you have dark background fabric that you cannot see the pattern through.
  • Method 4:
    • Trace the pattern on a piece of clear plastic or make a transparency on a copy machine.
    • Put the plastic over the background fabric and slip the appliqué pieces under the plastic using the pattern on the plastic as a guide.
    • This also works quite well for small sections of a pattern or working on pieces that are assembled before placement on the background fabric.

©2003 Ila McCallum
Ila's Quilt Studio

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