Sunday, July 1, 2012

Strip Quilt Tutorial with Owl Applique

This was my first attempt at an applique. Another reason why I'm so glad I purchased a new sewing machine back in February! This new machine has opened up so many new craft possibilities, its a little overwhelming. For the first time in my life, I'm using my sewing machine on a weekly basis. I don't think I've ever used an entire spool of thread in my life until two months ago!

Anyway, back to the quilt. My sister-in-law is having a baby girl in a few weeks and since I just made this Monkey Quilt for her sister's baby that was born in April, I wanted to do something a little different. While researching baby quilts online, I continually came across strip quilts. I had been given a quilt like this when Evelyn was born last year and loved it. So, I decided this was the avenue I would take for this quilt. For the applique, I googled owl appliques and drew a pattern for one with my favorite elements from all the pictures I found.

Don't get overwheled by all the steps...from start to finish, this quilt took me five days to complete. At most, I was able to devote 2 hours a day to it. So, its completely doable to finish this in a week if you're motivated.

Supplies- measurements for a toddler size blanket:
3 coordinating fabrics 3/4 yard each
batting or an old blanket
flat sheet for the back of the quilt
3 packages of double fold quilt binding
coordinating thread
rotary cutter
cutting mat
sewing machine
scrap fabric for your applique
wonder under
dark marker & pen

First, make and assemble your quilt. Once the quilt is all put together, we'll add the applique.

Cut your fabric into 3 1/2" strips. Based on the size I wanted my quilt to be, I went for the strips to be cut on the longer side, so I had 3.5 x 43" strips. I fold my fabric, so that it's easier to cut as you can see to the left.

Lay out your strips into your desired pattern. Sew together using a 1/2 inch seam. I divided my quilt in three sections and sewed the strips together and then sewed the 3 sections together because as you sew on the strips, the quilt gets heavy.

Press your seams.

Lay out your flat sheet on the ground. Place your batting or old blanket on top, matching two side. If you have a carpeted floor, I recommend sticking straight pins into the floor on the corners to pull the blanket tight. Top with your strip quilt panel. Pin down. Cut bottom layers to match the top. Using quilting safety pins, pin the three layers together all over the quilt to keep them straight.

Sew your quilt in your desired pattern. I chose to sew lines directly above and below every three seams.

Now for the applique...
Draw your design on a piece of paper or download a pattern from the Internet. I recommend to go over it with marker to make your lines bold.

Place Wonder Under over the image and trace each item you will cut out for the applique. Be sure to recognize that this will be mirror image, so trace on the rough side of the Wonder Under. Iron to chosen fabric according to wonder under directions. Cut out the pieces being sure to trim a little of the Wonder Under so you won't have any loose edges.

Layer and iron your pieces together. If there is a particular piece that you want to stitch under before the top piece is applied, do this. For example, I sewed on each piece individually so that all layers were sewn. This is done using a zig zag stitch with the stitch length placed as close together as possible.

Once all your pieces are sewn together, iron in place on the quilt. If there are a lot of layers of thick fabric, you may need to pin it to the quilt as well to keep it in place.

Using a zig zag stitch again, Outline the outside of the applique to stitch to the quilt. If desired, re-stitch a piece in the center to ensure the applique is firmly attached to the quilt.

At this point, I added more quilt stitching to my quilt where I felt it needed it. 

Using a zig zag or another overcast stitch, stitch all the way around the perimeter of the quilt. This isn't needed, but I do it to reduce the chance of fraying with many washes.

Add the quilt binding using a straight stitch.

Using a close zig zag stitch, similar to the applique, stitch all the way around the binding to encase the binding. This is the first time I've ever added this step and I think it makes for a more finished looking quilt.

And you're done! Good luck! Hope this inspires you!

I'd love to know what you think...please leave me a comment!


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