Monday, 13 March 2017

Secret Garden: Making Turn Edge Bluebells

 
When it comes to making the bluebells, I really think that the fastest and best use of time is to create a production line. After much experimentation, I have found that making each unit from start to finish individually takes far too long. You can half the applique time by breaking the stages up into batches.
I opted for a hand dye of blue fabric from my stash and ironed all the fusible pieces down, leaving enough room between them to add a seam allowance when cutting each piece out.
This is an individual bluebell, cut out with it's seam allowance. Now I snip the fabric seam allowance very carefully, just a thread width away from the fusible edge.
You can't see the snips, but they are there. Now I glue the seam allowance, ready to turn.
Turn the sides first by pressing in as tightly as possible
Then turn down the tip
As you turn the tip, you wiggle your stick to coax the fabric to overlap nicely and tightly in the shape of the curve. 
This is my tool of choice - an orange stick, or manicure stick, or whatever they call it where you are in the world. I find that it allows my to push edges and tight corners without worries over nicking the fabric fibres as I do so (as some metal ones can.)
Then I snip and glue the opposite edge
After you get used to this technique, you will come to understand where you should tighten the seam allowance just by looking at a shape. You can see the edges of this bluebell have some fabric overlap. You could clip away this extra bulk if it was a miniature shape where the excess could cause sewing issues later on, but it's not necessary for this shape.
Usually a nice roll over by the stick gets it all properly flat without any extra cutting away
Sometimes I hammer my applique too, with a soft hammer I have set aside just for he purpose. But with this shape, it would be necessary.
My finished bluebell
It is much faster to create batches when turning this many shapes. I find that 3 working stacks work best:
>The shape cut with seam allowance
>The shape clipped and ready to be glued (but not yet glued)
>The shape with one side glued and turned
and then you have the finished stack.
I love turn edge applique, but remember, these bluebells also look wonderful when completed in raw edge applique, so if turn edging these pieces isn't for you - that's fine!

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 


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