Do any of you struggle with placement of your applique ?
I have been writing applique patterns for some time now and have always included a full sized pattern layout sheet. With this in mind I have been working on turning all of my patterns into PDF downloadable patterns. This causes a problem with some of my applique patterns, as the pattern layout sheets are large and you need several A4 or letter sized pages to complete the layout. ( A lot of taping together ) Also through taping these patterns sheets together it is very easy to distort the design. I have decided to take a look at how to eliminate all these pages and found that some of the patterns from other designers are done with a 1 inch grid. This gives you a guide to placement.
There are several methods, I have been playing with the pros and cons of a few of these methods and these are my results::
Light Box: For my applique placement I have always printed a full sized pattern layout and used a light box.
Pros: Exact placement and no guessing, especially when you have a lot of small pieces to place.
Cons: Does not work well with Dark or heavy background fabric. Not everyone has a light box.
Using a window as a light box is hard on your arms.
Transferring your applique design onto a clear vinyl sheet: This seems to be a popular method.
Pros: Works with any colour or weight of background fabric. Easily transported and you do not need to purchase a light box.
Cons: Pieces move easily and can be hard to get into exact position.
Some books with applique designs give a smaller picture and you can use it as a guide, making it a more organic placement.
Pros: No need to have a lot of pages taped together. No need for a light box. Your blocks will be more original.
Cons: It will take some practice to create a block with lots of small pieces. Hard to get pieces in the exact place. ( Does this matter ? )
1 Inch Grid: Using a 1 inch grid for placement.
I have seen many patterns printed this way, where the applique pattern is shown with a 1 inch grid for placement. I decided to test this method for myself. I made a 1 inch grid using a clear sheet.
Pros: Easy to print. You only ever need to make your vinyl grid once, it can be used many times. Placement is accurate. Its portable and no need to purchase a light box. Works on all background fabrics. Works well with small applique pieces.
Using the inch grid method
The pattern is not full scale, the 1 inch grid is used so you know where to place your pieces.
The first thing I did was to make a 1 inch overlay, using a transparent sheet. The one I used I got from a stationers and it is for architects. I laid this on my cutting board, I also made sure that my ruler marks and the cutting mat marks are the same.
I then marked lines in 1 inch segments, using my ruler and a fine black marking pen.
I then numbered the segments along the top and side of the grid.
After making my applique pieces I used the pattern guide and the 1 inch overlay grid to place my applique pieces in the correct position.
As you can see, this method worked out well, if you would like to try this block you can download the free Rosa Block Pattern.
I would love to hear your thoughts, and your favorite method.