You have found a wonderful hand-dyed, one-of-a-kind fabric to use as the background of your 2 Fabric Applique Quilt (2FAQ)…hooray! But how do you decide where to place the applique? Obviously, the applique fabric will cover up some of that gorgeous background. How can you be sure what will be covered and what will be exposed? Hhhmmm. Here’s some help.
Here’s what you will need: 1. Your 2FAQ pattern. 2. A clear piece of plastic* at least 24” x 36” (tape smaller pieces together if needed). 3. A permanent marker or WET erase marker, if you plan to reuse the plastic. 4. A table on which to trace and a wall on which to interview. 5. Camera.
Here are the steps:
1. Trace the essential parts of the actual pattern. In this first example we have used our Paradise 2FAQ pattern. It is not necessary to trace every detail, but at least do the inside of the frame and around the outside of all shapes. Depending on the details and your fabric you decide how much to trace, or not. Write the name of the pattern on the plastic, as a way to check that you have not accidentally flipped it in the next steps.
2. Pin your fabric to a wall and pin the plastic over it (make sure you can read the name of the pattern).
3. Step away and use your mind’s eye to block out the areas the applique will cover (looking at the pattern cover helps). Decide if this pattern placement will use the special fabric to its best advantage, or will the applique cover important areas. Ask yourself these questions, if applicable:
a. Does the horizon line of the background fabric line-up with the horizon line (implied or explicit) of the pattern?
b. Will I still be able to see my favorite part of the background? Or will it be covered by the applique? Perhaps it is the setting sun, or an interesting color change.
4. Take a photo.
5. Now, move the plastic to a different area of the background fabric, step back and analyze this position, and take another photo. HINT: Remember that hand-dyed fabrics do not have a right or wrong side, so flip the fabric over to see if that helps.
6. Continue doing this, comparing your photos until you are satisfied that you have found the best placement of the applique.(While the finished quilt will be framed by about 3 inches of applique fabric, you can move the applique slightly closer to the edge of the background fabric if need be. Just be careful not to move it too close to the edge.)
7. Now, put the plastic back in your preferred position, and place pins in the fabric at the inside corners of the applique, and at one or two other reference points on the applique.
8. Proceed to mark the right side of your applique fabric according to the pattern instructions.
9. Place the marked applique fabric on the background fabric using the pins you placed in Step 7 to position it correctly.
10. Now baste, and continue following the pattern instructions knowing that your applique is positioned right where you want it to best utilize your wonderful hand-dyed fabric.
Here is an example of flipping the fabric over. In this case, the placement in the photo at right positions the pattern’s horizon line (the peninsula on the left) with the horizon line on the background (implied by the change in color from purple to yellow). The example on the left, the horizon line is too low.
Another example using our Dragonflies in Flight pattern to show how to change the amount of orange/gold sky vs. purple/blue water by moving the pattern up or down on the fabric.
NOTE: All photos show one yard of 44” wide fabric hand-dyed by Janice Lee Baehr. Find yours here.
*Save any clear plastic bags you get. Here are possible sources: your local fabric store (most new bolt fabrics come in a clear plastic bag), dry-cleaner, or clear vinyl from your fabric or hardware store.