I've always loved to create flowers in applique techniques and so way back in 2013 I started creating a new applique flower block every Friday. This adventure continued every week of the entire year thus amounting to 52 different flower blocks. Since then, I've added several more and my plan this year is to do add even more.
My very first block was pansies and so the journey began. I have always loved pansies but for some reason never used them to make a quilt.
Whenever possible I take my own photos to work from. It is often easier this way because then I can get exactly the right image I want.... the right shapes for the leaves, the petals, and even the stems... and of course, I can zoom in on the detail. It also avoids any copyright issues when using your own photos too.
I capture photos wherever I can. I took the following photos of pansies in my mother's garden.
I love the colors of these flowers, so bright and vibrant.
From the photos, I can sketch the applique shapes. I simplify the edges a little. You do not want it too complex. Then once I have the general outline I darken it with a Sharpie pen. This makes the lines visible on the back of the paper so I don't have to reverse it when it comes to tracing it onto the fusible webbing.
The photos also inspire me in choosing the right fabrics. I've collected some from my stash to work with. You notice I mostly use batiks, but sometimes I add in prints too.
Next, I transfer the pieces onto fusible, extending the edges of the pieces underneath to make the fabrics overlap. This is so the background has no chance of showing through. Remember, the pieces need to be reversed when using fusible webbing.
I arranged the first flower onto the background fabric in numeric order and pressed it in place.
Then I add a little stitching to the center for extra detail. The actual applique stitching is yet to be done and usually I'd do this first but I couldn't help myself, I just needed to see how this would look. Besides, it is always good to practice to audition your work while designing.
Now it's time to make the other two pansies. Here's what they look like.
I used a 10" background square for my pansies, adding some leaves and stems to finish them off. I really think this could make a great border around a quilt or be enlarged to make a bed runner. Hmmm... that gives me an idea!
So now that I have cut out and pressed all the sections, it's time to start stitching. First I need to select a variety of threads that will work with my fabrics. I select threads that are close to the fabric colors as well as darker threads.
My favorite stitching is free motion. Mainly because it is so free with few restrictions. No corners to turn, you can stitch sideways, front and back, without even turning the block. It makes stitching fast and easy to maneuver around the block.
I stitched around all edges twice. I do this because it prevents fraying. The first stitching which is just in from the edge holds the applique shape in place. The second stitching holds the raw edge flat with the background. There is very little distance between the two.
After the edging is stitched, I can add the highlights. I added some black to the center of the yellow and purple pansy. I added yellow highlights around the bottom petal on the red pansy (you can see this in the above photo) and added extra stitching to enhance the purple pansy. I also edged the purple pansy with the dark thread which really made the petals stand out better so I decided that the red pansy needed that too.
The outlining really made a difference!
Here's my finish block.
Now for the exciting news. I have made this pattern with all templates available on my website. It is available for just a few dollars. You can find it here Individual Pansy pattern and my whole series of flowers on my website too. BOW flowers