Friday, March 1, 2013

The Bib Series: Appliqué

Full disclosure:  Grad School is HARD this semester.  Last semester was so relaxed compared to the work to be done this semester.  What makes it worse is the work never stops, so the free time I usually devote to projects and dinners has been taken up by writing, reading, more writing, more reading, interviewing and other time spent away from home in the form of practicum, class, and teaching.  (Not to mention I'm defending my Master's Thesis this semester too)  So, apologetically, Quinn Stitch has not been that fruitful the past month or so, and may continue that way for the next couple of months.  It's about getting through this until glorious summer returns and I have tons of free time again!  Anyway, back to the matter at hand: BIBS.

I've been meaning to do a tutorial on my bibs since I started this blog, but I have not yet had the chance! Considering that I've had a few of them on sale in my Etsy shop for a few months, it's really about time.  This month I attended the Baby Shower for one of good friends, and wanted to make a special bib for her baby.  Even though I've been crazy busy, I found some time to make a brand new bib.  Up to this point, I have made bibs with three designs:  Bird, Bee, & Fish.  Now, my friend Melissa and her husband have had this thing for years where they call each other "Panda".  So it was an obvious choice for the design of the bib.  Up until this point my designs have been one simple shape, but the panda was going to be more complex.  There were going to be applique ON TOP of applique.

What is applique?  "An appliqué is a smaller ornament or device applied to another surface" -Wikipedia  Basically you are sewing a piece of fabric on top of another piece.  But to begin, let's start with the design.  I browsed the internet for ideas, and finally came up with this as my template:

I cut my design out to use as a template.  I started with the eyes.  I only used one eye to work off of, because I drew this free-hand, and wanted the eyes to be uniform (but mirror opposites).

Put the eye template on the fabric for the eye.  I'm using black for the contrasting panda features.  Draw around the template and cut out leaving about a 1/4 inch margin:

I did the same thing with the nose of the panda with the black fabric.  For the face of the panda, I repeated this process while also making light marks where the ears will go.  The only nice white fabric I had was this eyelet white, which was rather cute.

Next for the ears.  I wanted these ears to "pop out" of the face, so they're not going to be applique.  I'm going to make two sided ears with both black and white fabric.  Here's my ear template simply cut off the original drawing:

I went ahead and stenciled the ear pattern from the black part of the ear.  I cut two layers according to the red dotted lines below:

Here you can see that I sewed along the top edge only of the ear, because I am going to flip it inside out.  I cut the curve of the ear so the fabric did not bunch:

Here's the black part of the ear flipped inside out:

I repeated the process for the white part of the ear (only smaller) and pinned the ear pieces together.  I top stitched the white part of the ear on top of the black part.  It's not shown here, but you'll be able to see it a couple pictures down.

Now for the next step:  Begin to applique!  I really don't have a good way to describe this in pictures (and the below picture is a little hard to see).  In a nutshell, the way you do this is:

  1. Use the color thread of the fabric you are appliqueing with.  For example, I used black thread below.
  2. Hand stitch this. (there is a way to applique with a machine, but it is a little involved and my sewing machine is not nice enough for it.
  3. Top stitch by hand slowly by gradually folding the applique piece under at the stencil line you drew.  Eventually, the finished product will look like the left eye here:
There are a lot of great tutorials on how to hand applique on youtube.  Here's one here.  I luckily was able to learn this technique from my mom last year.

Here's what the back looks like after appliqueing the front.

Here's all the finished applique!  I used a simple embroidery technique to put the mouth on.  Notice the face is pinned down on the guide line in front of the ears.  I will applique around the guide line of the face, but not on the edges of the ears so the ears can pop up.

Now that I'm ready to applique the face, let's get the base of the bib ready.  I have a template that I use to cut out my bibs that looks like this:  

I am cutting two layers, one for the front and one for the back of the bib.

Now let's applique the face onto the top layer ONLY of the bib.  I am using white thread for this because the face is white.

Here's the finished applique of the face.  Here's it's easier to see my stitches around the face and the general applique technique.  You can also see the folded down white fabric behind the applique stitches (because the fabric is sort of see through)

Notice the ears pop!

Here's what the finished applique looks like.  At this point I used white thread to make small eyes in the black areas (not pictured here).  You'll be able to see that in the next installment, so stay tuned!

If you liked this, please let me know in the comments!  Stay tuned for the next two installments:  Making Bias Tape and The Finished Product.

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