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Applique and reversing images . . . why?

Today I’m in the midst of writing my new pattern P150 Countdown to Christmas.  It’s an advent calendar and it’s going to hang in our home come Dec 1, so Lewie can turn the numbered square each day to see what fun holiday picture is on the other side . . . . I imagine him wearing out the string loop from which each square hangs, as the squares get flipped and flipped and flipped.  Ha, that’s what makes the advent calendars so much fun for little hands . . . as I so vividly recall from my childhood.

So, anywho, what was I saying . . . ?  Oh yeah, I’m writing the pattern .. cuz It’s due to ship uh, next week . .. and I’m explaining the applique portion, talking about fusible web.  I like to write the patterns so that even the greenest beginner will not get lost in the sea of “quilting” lingo.  I state that all shapes have been drawn reversed for use with fusible web.

Then I thought the greenie bees may wonder what “reversing” is and what it has to do with the FW.  Hmmm.  And then I thought “it’s been a coon’s age since I blogged, why not blog this ‘lil brain train today?”

So, applique and reversing images.  Why?  What?  Long before the technological breakthrough called “fusible webbing” was invented, we used the most common applique method known as “needle turn.”  Needle turn is where you trace the applique shape onto freezer paper, plastic lid, cardboard, any template type medium, and you lay it onto the right side (most often) of your fabric and trace around it with a pen.  Then cut it out, press and turn the 1/4″ seam allowance under, place on your fabric and blind hand stitch it in place.  Pattern designers would draw the pattern applique shapes, as they appear on the design itself, going the right way so to speak because you would be tracing/cutting from the right side of your fabric.

And along came fusible webbing, a new fandangled gadget that changed appliqueing for the better.  Fusible webbing comes on a bolt, is paper on one side and textured plastic-looking stuff on the other side.  Techie terms missing here, but you get the jist.  So with FW, you trace/draw your shape on the paper side, cut out and fuse to the “wrong” side of your fabric – ah ha – we’re now working on the wrong side of the fabric!  So, now when you cut out the shape and place it on the background, the shape is the reverse of that on your pattern.  Hmm . . . head scratching.  If you have a pattern with letters such as L if you trace/cut the L as it’s drawn going the right way, it will turn out to be backward when you fuse it to your background.  Hmmm . . .more head scratching.

This is where the need for “reversing” came up.  Pattern designers wrote the pattern for needle turn but now folks were using this cool new product and their project would turn out the mirror image of that shown on the pattern.  If you wanted it to look exactly like the pattern image, you had to reverse all the applique shapes using whatever primitive methods we had at the time.

Now a days, patterns are written most often assuming you’ll use FW as your applique method and thus, all the shapes are already drawn reversed for you.  Whew!  No need to figure that out.

And . . . so I, your trust designer here at Patch Abilities Inc, always write my patterns with the shapes already reversed for you, because fusible web is your friend.

Appliqueing is not hard.  Having a baby is hard.  If you have kids and you’ve said “that looks hard” when you’ve looked at any of our patterns . . . .then you my fellow parent are obviously the husband and did not give birth!  If you’re my fellow mommy, then pull up your big girl pants, put things in perspective and say “I can do this”.

Now go out there and get’cha some fusible web, sharp scissors and get to appliqueing, cuz I already reversed it all for ya!!

If you did not find this posting handy, may you at least found it entertaining.

~Julie Wurzer

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