Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hubris Never Pays: The Applique "Tutorial"

You hear me? Hubris never pays. It seems so self-evident, so why take it up? Heavens to Betsy, why?

I think it must creep up on you slowly. It must. Because you're not gonna see it walking down the street and think, "Gimme some of that!" I think it starts out as perfectly reasonable self-confidence. And next thing you know, zip, zap, zop! You're on the Hubris Express straight to hell, leaving handbasket after motherloving handbasket in your dust. That's gotta be how it, happens.
hubris -- exaggerated self pride or self-confidence, often resulting in fatal retribution. (Wikipedia)
I'm gonna level with you. I was pretty confident I'd found THE BEST WAY to get those flowers onto that heating pad cover. I did research on applique. I made prototypes. And it wasn't too far into it that I was ready to name my findings after myself: "The Best Way to Applique: A Technique for the Full-of-Themselves."

But Dr. B., you did research and tested things out. You can't then accuse yourself of hubris, what with the research.

Yeah, maybe. But no. Here's why. In the prototype phase:

MY INSIDE VOICE (kind of quiet and sinister): This is the best. Really the best! I've taken all the best parts of everyone's ideas and created a super-technique to rival even the most expert applique-master ever! I will rule the world!!

Ok, it didn't go that far. But I did think I was onto something quite good.

With my super full-of-it plan, I was going to avoid:
  1. the painstaking process of tucking the edges of the flower under as I sewed it onto the heating pad cover (a technique known as needle-turning);
  2. raw edges of the flower being left exposed, a look that our research showed many seem to despise; and
  3. a glue stick, even though this seems to be popular.
My plan looked a little something like this:

With the right side of my fabric to the paper side of my Wonder Under (we'll just call it WU), I traced my pre-made flower onto the WU. I cut the shape out of the WU, same size as the flower.

I sewed the two things together with a pretty small seam allowance.

I trimmed the corners.

Then, I got everything ready to turn the flappin' thing right-side out.

I pinched the WU, to avoid cutting the fabric when I sliced it.

I cut a slit in the WU -- not in the flower -- big enough that the turning wouldn't be horrible.

I turned the whole thing inside out.

And I pushed all the corners out so that I had this:

With a dry iron, I pressed it for about 5 seconds so that the sticky-ish sticky stuff between the paper and the fabric would adhere to the fabric.

And then I carefully peeled off the paper backing to reveal said sticky-ish stuff.

Fine. On my prototype it worked great -- I took my "flower", placed it on my "heating pad cover" and pressed it in place with a dry iron on the highest setting for a handful of seconds... maybe 10. Voila! Everything was tucked under, no raw edges, no glue stick! Just a stand-in flower stuck to a stand-in heating pad cover, ready to be blanket-stitched on for cuteness and stability!

I guess technically there's no reason it shouldn't work.

But I don't think it's the best way. It doesn't seem like there is enough sticky stuff on the edges. There are threads showing from where I sewed around. And I accidently pulled a thread out of the fabric in my zeal to remove the paper backing which, as you can imagine, yields less-than-appealing results. (I can't really blame the method for that one, though.)

I'm going to go on record as saying that I am reluctant to proceed in this manner. Maybe it's just the fear of "fatal retribution" that has me so skiddish. Maybe it's my inner wisdom telling me to turn to another technique. Hmm.

Me scared.

(In hell, if you're a grown-up who talks like a little kid, sometimes they let you eat popsicles. Other times, they don't look kindly on it at all. Using all my inner wisdom, I'm hoping for popsicles.)


Kristy said...

To my novice's eyes, this seems like an excellent plan. Are you wondering if maybe the plain heating pad cover isn't the way to go? Is this project driving you to drink yet? I am thinking maybe a bottle of merlot is in order.

kim said...

Dr. B, I bow to your hubris. (Nevermind that I looked the word up before I saw that you actually defined it in your post or that I carry favorite words such as this around with me in a book. I digress.) I am just in awe that you attempt such things. I bought a sewing machine a month ago and it mocks me as I use it as a hallway table.

tiennie said...

I think your method is great but more work than it needs to be. Really, needle turning isn't all that difficult - less materials and steps needed. Have you tried the freezer paper method? Makes needle turning faster.

Nano said...

murkourHubris, great word. I've been afflicted a few times. My quilting knowledge is soooo very limited, I can't offer any advice or ideas. You do, however, highly entertain me with your wit and commentary. I do apologize. I'm entertained by your frustration. For what it's worth, it all looks (sounds) good to me.

Nano said...

jeez... disregard the "murkour" part... I had to sign in twice before Blogger let me get through. That was part of the word verification. Me want popsicle now.

Dr. B. said...

Nano -- That was hilarious! I thought murkourHubris was a whole other level of hubris I didn't even know about. And no apology necessary! I'm glad it's entertaining.

And Tiennie -- have you been sent by the Crafting Heavens to save my every disaster? I think yes.

Meanwhile, Kristy -- I'll tell you. Your idea of keeping it simple is getting more attractive by the minute.

Kim -- Please, please no bowing! Instead, just jump in and sew something small with that fancy new machine. You'll be really happy you did.

SIL said...

Also keep in mind that this thing is BEEEAUUUTIFUL without ANYTHING additional... so with or without flowers it's gonna be gorgeous!

~Lori said...

As I tried to comment yesterday when my @#$%! Internet connection was blowing raspberries at me - I find I'm once again in perfect agreement with Tiennie. In my own experiments with applique, I found needle turning by far the easiest and most enjoyable technique.

Dr. B. said...

SIL - You rock. I am so glad you like it as is. I think that's how it's gonna stay.

Lori - Thank you for being another voice of helpful reason. I shall try needle turning thanks to you and Tiennie.