Apply Yourself

I’ve always loved applique–on anything, anywhere, anytime.  People who sew (please note I don’t call us “sewers,” for obvious reasons!) have been using the technique for centuries, and yet applique designs are right at home in 2011.

I made this market tote for Eliza. The pattern is from Applique Your Way by  Katye Terry,  who very skillfully incorporates traditional applique into modern style.  If you love the home section at Anthropologie, you’ll love Applique Your Way.  Hers is the brown bag shown on the cover; I used printed fabrics, not solids, for the apples.  Smaller than most market totes, it’s perfect for a one-person grocery run to Whole Foods.

apple detail
                             Here’s an apple, ready for its close-up:

Every sewing enthusiast has a a collection of leftover fabric.  We’re the ultimate recyclers.  In a previous life, the apple prints were a tablecloth and napkins I made for Thanksgiving.

tablecloth and napkins

As you can see, the floral and paisley match my china perfectly.

While I do all my applique on the machine, you may choose to embroider by hand.  Mostly, I use the applique stitch on my Bernina 240.  In this applique tutorial, Vicki Bellino used the blind hem stitch, number 27, circled in red.  For the apple bag and the “crochet” bag below,  I used the number 26 stitch on Vicki’s machine.

Mom's crochet bag

I made this for my mom, so she’d have somewhere to store her favorite projects.  The bag on the cover of this book , The Best of Sew Simple,  is made from the same pattern I used.   Of course, the embellishments might not be to everyone’s taste.  Covered buttons, shown here, are an easy way to personalize your work.  I used a couple of small Dritz kits from JoAnn, but you can find them just about anywhere.

This laptop case is my latest effort–note that I’ve used the same fabric as  the crochet bag, with a different lining.   I adapted the pattern from a laptop case in Cassie Barden’s  The New Handmade, the source of my last post’s patchwork bag patterns.   Here are two views, inside and out:

Lining view, quilted laptop case


Outside view, with appliques in place
I cut the flowers from the lining fabric, and I plan to finish the case with bias tape made of this fabric.  Nancy Zieman, of  “Sewing with Nancy” and Nancy’s Notions, demonstrates the technique in this video.  Self-binding is simple, and makes anything look more professional.
So go ahead–apply yourself to applique, and make all your projects beautiful.

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