WEEK 2: Mermaid applique block #1!
In week 1 we covered the gathering and cutting your fabrics. This week we begin appliqueing all the blocks! Since there is so much to applique for this quilt, I’ve broken down exactly how I do it for this first week. Then you can just rinse and repeat for the following weeks 😀
1. Print & trim the pattern. Print off the pattern for this week’s block by clicking off the icon below. Be sure to print at 100% scale so it’s true to the actual size of the project.
Once it’s printed, trim off any of the margins that didn’t get printed on. This will make the next step much easier.
2. Tape the pages. Each block in this project is made up of two pages, so this part’s simple. Just align the two pages together so the A1-A2 segments align. The paper should overlap just a bit. You can double-check your work by making sure the gray corners at the bottom and top of the page line up as well. When everything’s aligned, tape the pages together.
3. Trace the design. Layer your fusible web over the paper pattern with the adhesive (bumpy) side down. The smooth, paper side of the fusible web should now be facing up. With a pencil, trace the lines from the design onto the fusible web. If you have trouble seeing the lines, you can consider moving to a light box, over a window, or even just working off of a lighter-colored table can help.
4. Trim around the outlines. Generally cut out the shapes from the paper. If your mermaid and cameo are to be different colors, be sure to cut them out separately.
5. Iron the fusible web. Place your fusible web with the tracing onto the back of your chosen fabric, the adhesive side facing the wrong side of the fabric. Fuse it in place with your iron using a medium heat and moving the iron around every few seconds until you have a complete bond. Repeat with the cameo piece as well if you’re using a different fabric.
6. Cut the shapes. Allow the piece to cool for about 5-10 minutes, then cut out the shape. This is the part that can take some time. The pieces are detailed, so take it slowly and carefully.
7. Prepare your background block. Take one of your 15½” x 15½” (A) blocks from Week 1 and fold it in half lengthwise and widthwise, creasing the folds with your fingers or the light touch of an iron. This will make creases as shown that point out the center of the block.
8. Place & fuse the applique. Lay your cameo frame first onto the background block, using the creases to center it up horizontally and vertically. You’ll see most of the cameo frames have details on the bottom and top that mark the center, such as the little flower shape in the photo here. Once you have the frame all centered, place the mermaid inside. Smooth everything out, then press it lightly with your iron – heat for a few seconds at a time, then lift and move to another area to avoid shifting the applique.
9. Stitch the edges. Of course there are loads of ways to finish off an applique, but the way I’ve chosen for this quilt is to do a basic zigzag stitch around the edge. After washing, the edges will get a little fuzzy, but aside from that I feel this method creates a very unnoticeable finish.
I set my machine to a stitch length of about 2 and a stitch width of 2-2.5. If you have an applique foot, now would be a good time to break it out as you’ll see here. Sew the zigzag around the edge of the applique so the outside of the zigzag lands in the background fabric and the inside edge lands in the applique fabric. If you get to a tight corner, don’t hesitate to stop and pivot your work so you can manage the curves more carefully. Keep going like this until you’ve sewn entirely around both the mermaid and her cameo frame.
10. Finish the block. This is what your finished block should look like 🙂 It helps to give it one final press, as all of that zigzagging can sometimes warp the fabric a little. When you finish the block should still be 15½” x 15½”, but you can trim it if you need to.
That completes the first week of actual sewing! Pat yourself on the back ^-^ Next week we’ll be tackling a much easier block, so that’ll make a nice break from all the details of this one.