I'm in love with this week's block. It's Basket. Well, I know I say that for every block! But this block is special, because this is one of the first block I tried when I first starting patchworking. It looks difficult but it's really not.
Imagine flowers in this basket patchwork. How pretty!
For this basket block, you only need to sew all the fabric templates from end-to-end. No more Y-seams! However, we will be trying hand appliqué for the basket handle of this block. Hand appliqué means sewing a fabric onto another fabric to create a pattern or picture. Does it scare you a little just by looking at the curves and turns? No worries, it's actually very enjoyable to hand appliqué! I will show you how while we sew-a-long.
So let's start now. I will not be repeating hand sewing basics anymore so if you are new, please refer to the previous posts for explanations.
Cut out the fabrics and arranged them in your desired arrangement. *important: you have to cut fabric template number 6 (triangle) first before number 5 (handle) if you are only printing one paper. Else you have to print two papers.*
Sew according to the groups labelled A-E.
For group A, sew all the triangles from end-to-end, folding the seam towards the darker fabric (outwards in this case). **Make sure to fold every seam outwards after each triangle is sewn before sewing another triangle. This applies for sewing the rest of the block as well.**
For group B, sew the two triangles on the adjacent sides of the square from end-to-end. Fold the seams outwards too.
For group C, it's end-to-end sewing again. Take note of the positions of the triangles to the rectangles. Fold seams towards the triangles.
Now you can sew groups A, B and C together!
First, sew groups A and B from end-to-end. Always remember to start pinning from the centre to match nicely. You will be sewing through layers of fabrics to secure the seams as well. Make sure you backstitch at meeting points.
Next, sew group C to the already-patched group A and B. Easy peasy here. End-to-end sewing again.
Press all seams inwards here towards the basket. You may wish to bring out your hot iron to flatten down the thick seams.
Now we are going to hand appliqué the handle. I understand there are many ways to do hand appliqué. Most people use freezer paper, some use starch. I actually never use any. It's up to you to decide which method suits you most and that you are most comfortable with. There are also many fantastic youtube videos or tutorials on hand appliqué using freezer paper or starch. You just need to google them.
I do hand applique in the most natural way. It may seem tough at first but once you get the hang of it, it is very easy and enjoyable. I have a few tips:
1. Reduce the seam allowance to half of what you usually do. In my case, I cut all my seam allowance to about 0.5cm when doing hand appliqué.
2. For curves, you can snip the seam allowance for easier turning. However, keep in mind to only snip half of the seam allowance and not all the way!
3. Pin and sew part by part. After you sew that part you pinned, unpin and adjust, then pin the next part. Usually I only use 5-7 pins and I pin them really close together (one to two stitches apart). Do not pin all the way before sewing. It doesn't work this way!
4. If there are curves involved, you may choose to cut the fabric on bias for greater flexibility. I don't usually do that actually.
5. You don't have to pull or stretch the fabric during hand appliqué. Just let the fabric rest naturally so you can pin naturally for hand sewing.
Trace the handle outline onto the fabric. Ensure that the handle is centralised. Start sewing the lower edge of the handle first. Sew from end-to-end.
Remember to sew a part by part using 5-7 pins at a time to guide you before you unpin and move on. Use running stitch and do one back stitch every 5-7 running stitches. There should be no crease or bulging of fabric if you do this way.
This is how the back should look like after sewing.
Now sew the upper edge of the handle. Flip the handle fabric and fold in the seam allowance using the traced lines on both sides as guide (my fingernails help a great deal here!). This is called needle-turn technique.
I actually only learnt about the name "needle turn" in English a few months back! Needle turn sewing is folding in the seam allowance (with fingers) and sewing very close to the edge of the fold to secure an appliqué. You are encouraged to google videos on this technique if you wish too!
I would also encourage you to snip (halfway and not all the way!) the seam allowance at intervals for easier twisting, turning and sewing. And for needle turning, I prefer to pin half of the appliqué to secure it down, unpin then pin the other half and sew all the way.
This is how to hand stitch down the upper part of the handle. The stitches will be slightly visible and it's perfectly normal.
There you are, you finished hand appliqué-ing the handle! The stitches will look different from the back for the upper and lower edge of the handle.
Now comes to the last part to combine all the patches together.
Always find the centre by folding the fabric template into half and mark the crease. Pin the centre first then the rest. Sew all the way from end-to-end.
That's it! You have completed the basket block!
Look at the front and back. Isn't it cute!^_^
Take your time to sew this block but I think it wouldn't take too much of your time because it is pretty straightforward. Perhaps only the hand appliqué will slow you down a little. Just relax and enjoy the sewing process!