*Sorry for this late post! I'm a week late to post this block due to some hiccups in my daily routine last week. Nevertheless, this week's block should be not too difficult to complete!*
Shakuyaku flower is also known as peony. It's a really beautiful flower that grows very well and healthy easily in normal soil conditions (not too waterlogged or dry). I love this flower a lot especially during Chinese New Year season because it represents good fortune and good luck! So when I saw this patchwork in the book, I had to make it! It's just so pretty to look at!
There's nothing new in this block. Only Y-seams and hand sewing appliqué. I had intended to make this after the basket block but there were some issues with hand appliqué-ing the basket handle so I chose a simpler ribbon block for previous week. Now I think most of you already master how to hand appliqué? For the stem of this peony flower, it's even easier because it's not so curvy.
And for the diamonds, perhaps most of us are used to english paper piecing (even for hexagons and octagons). But it's actually very easy to do it in the Japanese way. Only Y-seam! So don't worry. You will realise another kind of enjoyment to sew diamonds or hexies in a new way.
I'll not repeat the steps to hand appliqué in this post. Please refer to block 5 basket for explanations and pictures.
Let's get started now. Download Block 7 Shakuyaku Flower. (note: I hand-drew the stem and leaf using a compass mathematical tool because I still cannot seem to use TouchDraw to do so. You can re-draw the leaf to your liking. It doesn't really matter.)
Cut templates according to the labelled numbers. Remember not to cut out the stem and leaf templates first. Paste them on a cardboard, cut and trace them on your desired fabrics. Leave 1cm (or 1/4in) seam allowance throughout and cut the fabrics out.
Arrange the fabric templates before you start sewing. It's easier to visualise in this way.
First we'll sew group A. Sew the two diamonds together from point-to-point. Fold seam towards darker fabric (all seams will follow this direction for rest of diamonds).
Then sew the triangle using Y-seam technique from end-to-point then point-to-end. Fold seam downwards towards the diamonds. Repeat for the other group A.
Now to connect the two group As together. Pin and sew from point-to-point. Fold seam in the same direction.
Now sew the corner square. It's Y-seam technique again. So sew from end-to-point then point-to-end. Easy peasy! Fold seams downwards towards the diamonds.
We will sew the group B leaves now. I'm doing this part and the later stem/leaf hand appliqué part different from the book. If you do realise, my templates are divided slightly different from the book too. For me, it's much easier to do it in my way. You can choose to follow my way or the book's instructions. Both ways will still produce the same block anyway.
Sew small triangle (number 4) to the leaf diamond from end-to-end. Fold seam towards the leaf. Repeat on the other group B.
Now sew the leaves to the flowers from point-to-point. Fold seams in the same direction.
Then sew the corner squares to join the flower to the leaf from end-to-point then point-to-end (Y-seam skill). Fold seams towards the flower.
See, you have completed the flower (sans the stem and small leaf)!
Here comes the hand appliqué for the stem. We will use the same technique of sewing the basket handle to sew the stem here. Just remember to flip the stem template when drawing on the fabric because it's mirror image..
Before I forget to show, this is how the stem and leaves are sewn in the book.
For the leaf, it will be very much preferred to use needle turn technique but I was too lazy to do so. So I used the "yo-yo method" by using running stitch around the leaf template (together with cardboard as guide) then give the thread a tight pull and tie a knot. Use hot iron to iron it down.
Remove the cardboard, pin leaf fabric template down to desired position then hand appliqué.
++I'll show how to do proper needle turn for the leaf in another post!++
Now for the final part is to sew everything together! Remember to fold seams towards the flower!
Here you go! The pretty Shakuyaku Flower!
^^For cross referencing if you have the book, this patchwork block is at page 78.
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