Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Appliquéd Onesies

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. -Leo J. Burke

I'm torn between posting three more finishes for March and keeping a secret. I'm hoping I can get away with both. Two of these little Onesies with appliqué fronts are baby gifts for a couple of sweet friends who I hope don't read my blog until after they get their goodies in the mail. The third (which was really the first) is my 'practice' Onesie and it is currently an orphan.

I was trying to imitate (the sincerest form of flattery) the technique Little Miss Shabby used on the appliqué birds on her Cathedral Windows pillow (photo courtesy of Corey -- thank you!). She mentioned 'free motion foot' and 'drop the feed dogs.' Free motion foot. I've got one of those -- I've even practiced with it. Drop the feed dogs. I know how to do that. New technique. Piece of cake. After all, I've been sewing since I was eight. I didn't realize there's a learning curve involved. I did plan ahead a little and had some water-soluble stabilizer that I put behind the fabrics and I put a hoop around it to keep the stitches from distorting the knit fabric of the Onesie. Remembering from my class that free-motion was easier at a higher speed, I set my pedal-free machine at a pretty fast speed, positioned my needle and pressed the start button. About half-way around the elephant I realized that it was no good. I pulled out the seam-ripper and painstakingly removed all of the stitches. Then I put it away for the night. The next morning, I tried again, remembering further that when we practiced free-motion on stencils at my class, it was easier to follow the lines if I went slower. This time was better, but my lines of stitching still weren't getting that pretty 'wavy' quality like LMShabby's, nor was the design 'popping' like hers. I went around and around and around the elephant, hoping that my grey thread would eventually pop. But it didn't.

Frustrated, I went to my thinking spot (the shower) and came to the conclusion that I'd been around the elephant too many times and the thread wasn't dark enough. In the interest of testing out my theory and not wasting any more Onesies, I went around this little elephant again, three times in a darker thread. It seemed better. I decided that this 'experiment' could go to Goodwill. I'm sure they could get a quarter for it. After all, the sleeves are hemmed on the Onesie.

Then I gave this adorable Chicken a try. The pattern is called Chicken & Stars and was free at FatCat Patterns. Sindy has a whole section of appliqué chicken patterns there. I decided on black thread and went for 'less is more' in stitching (something I have not yet achieved in my blog posts), going around the design three times. I traced it out beforehand with my finger to decide which direction I would go and also to avoid starting and stopping as much as possible. I also followed the 'rule' from Mary Ann, the teacher at my free-motion class and did not turn the design (practice for when I have a whole quilt in there and can't turn it) but moved it up and down, back and forth, left and right as I followed the edges. I was very pleased with the way this design came out. It has a much more 'messy on purpose' look to it. It is a little closer to Little Miss Shabby's adorable birds.

Then I gave the elephant another try, forgetting that I had not flipped the pattern the first time because I wanted the elephant to face left. Oh well. This way you know I didn't just photoshop a third elephant Onesie in so I could count another finish for the month. Elephant No. 2 came out much cuter than his older brother (isn't it that way with kids sometimes too? Oops, did I say that out loud?).

Chicken & Stars and Elephant No. 2 will be in the mail tomorrow, on their way to exotic destinations. I got to post about this over on Sew&Tell Fridays and chalk up three more OPAM finishes for me in March!


QuiltNut Creations said...

so cute!

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

Elizabeth they are just so cute...well done on your finishes...

Jennifer Lovell said...

Wow, these are really professional looking. Very cute. What a joy to have these new skills under your belt : ).

Vicki @ DottyJane said...

They're very cute! I've tried this and it's not as easy as I thought it would be:)

Heather said...

those look great. loved reading the notes of your process. Thanks.

Rene' said...

These are so cute. Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

P.S. Love all your Twilight blocks!

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