Welcome! This is the blog of Wendy Whellum and Legend and Lace Designs

Welcome to the Blog of Wendy Whellum and Legend and Lace

To find out more about Legend and Lace please visit the website http://www.legendandlace.com/

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Gone to the Dark Side?

or have I simply seen the light?  I have always done hand applique.  Hand work, for many reasons,  appeals to me.  It is portable, sociable and I like the way it looks are amongst some of the reasons.  However, just lately I have had a hankering to learn machine applique.  For about the last year I kept thinking about joining a class or something to learn.  When I started talking to people about it I decided to teach myself.  Everything else I have ever done (in the craft line) I have taught myself, so I figured I could do this as well.

This is what made me hasten things along.
 It is Kim McLean's Flower Pot quilt.  There was discussion on my Yahoo group Repro Fabric Lovers, that Cabbage Rose quilt shop in Texas was offering this as a Block of the Month, with fabrics already lazer cut with vlisofix applied - all ready to just stick and stitch.  How easy is that?  Must be the ultimate lazy BOM!  Of course, you have to know how to do machine applique, or at least be ready to do hand buttonhole, in order to do it.  I could not work out how else to do it, so I paid my money and off I am going with something new to learn.  The first block arrived last week, and I really was torn between doing buttonhole by hand and risking making a mess with it on the machine.

The first bit I did by hand, and I did not like how it looked, and it was a bit tedious.  I have not taken these stitches out yet, but I will
The rest I did by machine and it was done in a flash!  No wonder people love doing applique this way.

Even the circles turned out well.  The next challenge is the threads.  All the people I asked gave me lots of different tips on threads, and stitch size, and bobbins etc.  I listened to it all, and just played about with threads.  I used Bobbin fill underneath, and on top just any thread that looked about the right colour.  See with these circles the one on the RHS the thread is a little darker, that was the first one I did, and then changed threads to something lighter.  I think it looks better.  The stitch size I varied (in the Bernina) between 1.5 and 2 wide and long, depending on how little the piece was.

My thread box got a going over.  There are cottons, and poly threads there, and some silks - I used them all to get the right colour.  However, I must tell you that my favourite is DMC machine embroidery thread.  I use it for hand piecing and applique, and I think it was pretty good for this job as well.  As yet, I have not found a place in Australia where I can buy it.  I did buy some when I was visiting the USA, then purchased online at Soft Expressions.

In no way am I attempting to tell you how to do machine applique like the experts, but I am telling you to have a go and experiment if you are in doubt.  Play about with the threads, and the stitches and see what you can come up with.  I love this project, and the fact that you can get a block done in less than a day has me hooked good and proper.

Just to prove that I have not totally "gone to the other side" I have got one whole border done on the Little Sisters quilt, and another one ready to do.


  1. I have never heard of a BOM with pieces already cut with the iron-on film attached. Next they will come up with a sewing machine that is programmed to stitch it for you too.

    1. It is disgustingly simple. I was in horror when I first heard about it, but I figured it was an means to an end.

  2. That is going to be a gorgeous quilt as are all of Kim's. I prefer hand applique too, but in a quilt with this much applique, I can see why you would want to try it by machine. Have fun with your progress!

  3. You are so talented I am sure you can teach yourself. It just takes practice. I have done it when it seemed good for the project. Like holiday wall hangings.

    The BOM pattern is pretty. I did an online survey recently about precut BOM and fusible. I was not for it and I was in the minority. I can see where it has it advantages especially for the disabled. Now that I am disabled. :)

  4. Wow! They really have taken the sting out of cutting all those pieces with it pre-cut and ready to go - I love the look of the hand stitching, but with a piece this large machine button-hole stitching is definitely the way to go! It's a great design! I was interested in reading about which threads to use for this work, I'll have a look at the link for the DMC, as I really can't decide which thread I like best that is locally available.

  5. I am making Kim's Flower Garden quilt, part of me wishes a BOM was available for that quilt :) but I have to say that I do enjoy selecting each fabric for each piece and that choice would be taken away with a BOM such as this one, BUT it is such a pain cutting everything out and positioning it and then appliquing. I think it is a great idea and the quilt is so gorgeous so why not try it out, looking forward to seeing the progress, by the end your machine applique will be just wonderful.