Sunday, April 24, 2011

Making Monkeys.. And Other Applique'd Animals

One of my specialties is in children's quilts. I suppose that comes from making dozens upon dozens last year, for my local children's hospital. I love the bright colors, and the easy ways you can personalize quilts through applique. Some examples of appliques that enhance a basic pattern are my favorite monkey and a butterfly:

So how do you go about adding appliques like these to a simple design? Easy! It is much like the steps outlined in the memory tree pillow tutorial, with a little bit of detailed stitching added in.

First, you need inspiration. For the case of this baby quilt, it was found in this lion fabric. Frequently, I'll simply do a google search for something like "Monkey hanging from tree", and include key words like "clip art" or "cartoon". This seems to pull up better images to go from.

 To start, you'll need fused cotton in the colors of your applique. Get out the wonder under and iron it on!
 Next, you'll start drawing your shapes onto the paper-backing of the wonder under.

Once you have all your shapes cut out, you'll peel the paper backing off and place them on the quilt as you see fit. Make sure the side with the interfacing is DOWN... peeling interfaced fabric off your iron is no fun!

After you iron your applique shape into place, you'll start to baste. Do not baste the back to the batting, you only need to baste the front to the batting at this point. We're going to be doing some stitching details, and you really don't want that showing through to the back. Choose your basting method - pin, thread, spray, doesn't matter... just don't attach the backing!

Next, we need to trace out the areas we'll be filling in with detail stitching. Use your original image as a reference for this, and just use a plain ol' #2 pencil to sketch out where your details need to go! In my case, that involves whiskers, a mouth, and some feathering in the mane.

Bust out the darning foot!
This part is much like attaching the leaves in the memory tree pillow tutorial. A slow, steady hand is key - just take your time! Follow the lines that you've drawn on with pencil, making sure to stop and lift your foot before moving to the next detail. Don't forget to outline the general shapes, as well - a circle around the face, and trace the outside edge of the mane!

Once you've finished, snip all the connecting threads and step back to admire your work:

Now, we baste the back on, quilt the rest as desired, and viola! A specialized quilt with a motif you can't buy in stores.


Amy said...

very nice touch.

Lisa said...

It's wonderful! I'm curious though... isn't there a copyright issue since you're copying someone else's artwork?

Bree said...

I've never really thought about it, Lisa... that's a pretty good point. I mostly do them for friends and as donations, but I'll look more into it.

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