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Crow on Berry Branch Applique

Crow on Berry Branch Applique

The Crow on Berry Branch Applique tutorial is a versatile applique pattern that you can use to create blocks for a quilt top, an applique wall hanging, or an applique pillow. This tutorial uses freezer paper for an applique version of English paper piecing.

Project TypeMake a Project

Quilt Size9 inches wide x 9 inches long

Time to CompleteIn an evening

Primary TechniqueApplique

Easy

Materials:

  1. 10" x 10" square of background fabric
  2. Scraps of fabric for appliques
  3. Freezer paper
  4. Glue stick
  5. Fabric basting glue (optional)
  6. Invisible thread (or Invisafil thread)
  7. Pattern

Instructions:

  1. Click on the pattern, print preview, and adjust the scale and margins so that the image fills the page (there is a 1" scale on the pattern to make sure the pattern is relatively accurate). You could also enlarge on a photo copy.
     
  2. Trace all the pattern pieces onto the dull side (paper side) of freezer paper (a plastic coated paper), except for the stem - it is a 1½" wide bias strip of fabric, about 7" long. With this applique method the pattern is traced on the right side of the pattern (for some techniques it is the reverse).

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  3. The 5 berries are traced around a nickel (about 3/4") to make it easier.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  4. Cut out all the paper pieces. Lightly, in pencil, on the plastic/shiny side of the paper, label the three leaves. I also marked the crow's feet to make sure not to add the seam allowance in that section.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  5. Apply a couple small dabs of glue stick to the dull/paper side of the pattern and stick it to the wrong side of the fabric.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  6. Trim the fabric around the pattern leaving an extra ¼" (approximately). Notice on the bird there is not much extra where the feet are - this is because it will be behind the stem and doesn't need a seam allowance.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  7. Repeat for all pattern pieces.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  8. To make pressing the seam allowance around the berries easier, run a small basting stitch in the seam allowance. I leave a long tail on the thread when I start and gently pull both ends of the thread to gather the fabric - I am less likely to bend the paper this way.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  9. With a hot, dry iron, carefully press the seam allowance so that it sticks to the melted plastic on the freezer paper. I find that it takes longer to heat on gathered pieces like circles than regular pieces.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  10. Carefully press all the seam allowances on all the applique pieces. Your fingers will get hot! That is why no steam is a good idea. You can use a stitch ripper to help hold the seams. Use just the tip and edge of the iron - a mini iron would be good for this.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  11. Clip curves. Press down points first. Work around just the edges of the pieces; you don't want to run the iron over the plastic on the paper. (Remember no seam allowance at the bird's feet.)

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  12. On outside curves I stick a few sections down and then ease the rest of the fabric in.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  13. Don't worry too much about the points and curves for this applique - it is in a "Primitive" style.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  14. Press the bias (a 1½" wide bias strip of fabric about 7" long) strip for the stem in half, wrong sides together. All the pieces are ready for sewing.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  15. Starting with the bird, pin the appliques in the correct position. I fold the background square of fabric in quarters and press to make center marks that correspond to the pattern. You could make a tracing of the pattern on a clear plastic sheet/transparency to help you with the placement of pieces - but this is a very forgiving pattern so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  16. Lift the edges of the pinned piece, and using the glue-baste glue, apply small drops on the seam allowance. The bottle comes with a needle applicator, but it needs to be cleaned all the time, so I just use a large pin dipped into the glue. You can omit this step and just pin the piece, or maybe try regular white glue. Glue just makes the piece lie flat and makes sure it doesn't shift. The glue dries very fast.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  17. For appliqueing you can use invisible thread (these ones are Sulky polyester mono-filament and are softer than nylon - I think they can take more heat too) in clear or smoke depending on the colour of the fabric.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  18. You can also use Invisafil thread in the appropriate colour (I bought a couple of the mini packs and they match everything!). I find the Invisafil softer than invisible thread, and it tends to reflect the light less and so is less visible. The bobbin thread should match the background fabric. I use a #70 Microtex needle, but a universal needle works fine.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  19. Set your machine to a very small zig-zag and decrease the tension. I use stitch length 2 and width 1, with the tension set to 3. Try a test sample for your machine. The needle should zig a few fabric threads onto the applique piece, and zag just off the applique piece and into the background.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  20. Use the open toe/embroidery foot on your machine (in the picture the needle is just off the applique). Carefully stitch around the whole applique piece (for the bird I started at the foot because it doesn't need to be stitched down across that section).

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  21. On the back of the piece, carefully cut out the background fabric using small scissors and leaving ¼" seam allowance.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  22. Remove the freezer paper; tweezers help get all the little pieces out. Take care not to pull the seam allowances or stitching.

    CRow on Berry Branch Applique

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  23. Pin the stem in place. The folded edge is on the bottom in the picture (it has to do with the curve and working with bias). The stem will be stitched ¼" from the top/cut edge so make sure the feet of the crow won't be stitched through - trim that edge if need be.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  24. Stitch ¼" from the cut edge along the stem.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  25. Trim the seam to 1/8".

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  26. Make sure the crow's feet are not in the seam, but that the edge will be covered by the stem.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  27. Press the stem over.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  28. Pin the stem down and position the leaves. Trim the ends of stem if any extends beyond where the leaves will be. The leaves should cover the ends of the stems.
    (You could make bias tubes and use presser bars to make stems also.)

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  29. Remove the leaves and stitch down both long sides of the stem with the applique stitch. The stem would be too narrow to use freezer paper and try to remove it from the back.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  30. Glue on two leaves and the wing. Stitch around these three pieces.
     
  31. On the back trim and remove the freezer paper. You will be cutting through the bird applique and the ends of the stem.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  32. Attach the third leaf.
     
  33. This picture shows the small scissors that I use. Make a little snip in the fabric to get started.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  34. The berries are next - I put drops of glue on little pieces before I set them in place. I find that they are too small to use pins. Stitch around all five berries.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  35. Remove the paper.

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  36. The applique is complete. Press (be careful depending on the thread that you used).

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique
     
  37. Trim the block down to 9½" (it will be 9" when finished).

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique

    Crow on Berry Branch Applique

 

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