Thursday, March 4, 2010

Split Images

One of my favorite design elements in classic floral appliqué quilts is the split leaf. Adding just a pair of split leaves to a floral arrangement adds sparkle and movement, complementing the flowers without overpowering them.

Little Betty's Garden block,  New 
Century Sampler, by Karla Menaugh

McCordsville by Barbara Brackman

     Cut Glass Dish block in Shade Garden Sampler 
     by Shauna Christensen

Adding a split leaf to your quilt block is easy. 

1. First, draw the entire leaf onto freezer paper. Add a line down the center.

2. Cut out the entire leaf, then cut it apart on the center line.

3. Iron each side of the leaf to the back of your fabric choice, and cut out with a scant 1/4" seam allowance. 

4. Fold and glue under the seam allowance all around one half of the leaf. On the other half, leave the inside seam allowance open so it can be tucked under the first half. How do you decide which side of the leaf will tucked under the other? Look for sharp points:

Sharp points are challenging in any kind of appliqué. When I have a chance to avoid folding under all the edges on a sharp point, I take it. In the case of the drawing above, Side B has a sharp point near the stem of the leaf. So I would choose to fold under the seam allowance all around Side A (except the very end of the stem, which will be tucked under the top of a flower pot), but leave the center seam allowance open on Side B. Then my sharp point would be formed by tucking the seam allowance behind Side A, instead of by folding all the fabric behind that little point.

Here's what the the leaf looks like when the edges have been folded under:

5.  Use a glue stick to glue the leaf together. It will be easier to place on the background fabric if it's in one piece.

6.  When you sew the leaf to the background, sew around the folded edges. In the above leaf, I would sew all around Side A but only around the outer edge of Side B.

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