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Book Review: The Modern Applique Workbook

Alright my VMQG peeps! Another great book to check out for you!

I ran out and bought myself a copy of The Modern Applique Workbook by Jenifer Dick as soon as I heard it was available. I tend to stalk the publishing websites for things I might be interested in, and this one was at the top of my list. I am the type of person who prefers hard copy books to digital (hurrah for full color pictures!) and I have to say that this is one of my favorites.

The Modern Applique Workbook
The Modern Applique Workbook

As most you know, I have been having a love affair with applique. My first quilts were applique, and it is a skill I am always pulling out in the course of my quilt making. I always seem to find myself using raw edge techniques, which are fine, but I have always wanted to brush up on my turned applique. There are some projects that a good crisp turned block would be much better than raw edge. Even the stitch and flip interfacing technique just doesn’t have the same look. Jenifer explains step by step her techniques for perfecting the turned edge applique and securing the pieces with the invisible zig zag method.  A big reason I was drawn to the book was Jenifers introduction. Her journey into modern applique is very relatable, we have all had one of those ah-ha moments when a technique just works and becomes more than you ever thought it would.

 

So what is modern applique? Jenifer lays it all out for you in an easy to understand, straightforward manner. From tools to fabric selections (she includes batiks! AWESOME!), Jenifer is able to create a modern aesthetic while maintaining a balance with the traditional roots of the technique. Her instructions are easy to follow and the diagrams and pictures are clean and concise. She even includes a well rounded section about fabric prep-whether you pre wash or not, it has useful tips and tricks for fabric prep. The first 60 pages are so are all instructional and specific to the technique, which is fantastic because as far as I can tell it covers everything you could possibly need to know about Modern Applique.

 

The technique itself isn’t anything new, applique has been around for a very long time, but the process is broken down in an easy to follow, detailed step-by-step way that makes this book beginner friendly. I have other books outlining a similar process, but it seemed so daunting I never even tried. Jenifer’s writing style practically drags you by the arm and shoves you into a chair with the supplies, and holds your hand through each step, after which you look and say “Oh my gosh WHY did I not try this before?!” she comes across as upbeat and friendly, very easy to read! from sharp points to concave curves and ovals, you get everything you need to make the quilts in the book, including a well rounded and easy to understand section on reverse applique. Her bias tape and straight grain tape techniques are to die for as well. This is one I am adopting into my repertoire of techniques immediately!

OKay, onto the projects!

The Modern Applique Workbook includes a variety of projects in different sizes for you to try out your newly learned skills. Each project has a forward that includes tips on fabric choices and a list of the techniques used, as well as the page references for each, making going back to look stuff up super easy. The photography is wonderful, you get a full shot and a detail shot of each quilt, as well as specific quilting and binding tips and instructions for each quilt. That has to be one of my favorite details in the book, that each quilt is explained individually from start to finish, instead of the cookie cutter “Basic quilt making and finishing” chapters in most books. Don’t get me wrong, they are useful and probably industry standard, but the individualized attention to each quilt really makes THe Modern Applique Workbook stand out.

The written instructions are detailed, yet flexible, which I like but others may find daunting, because there are no traditional layout diagrams. Any piecing is illustrated, but the applique itself is visually placed. That is the nature of applique, you are usually going off a photo, but because the pieces nest together so well you don’t have to worry about lining up overlaps exactly or ruining your project. It definitely add a planned improv feel to your projects, but almost guarantees that no two projects will look the same.

My favorite quilt is the cover quilt, Star Bright. Such a fun retro shape with a ton of flexibility in fabric choice and layout! I can think of a few fabric pulls for this quilt, the hardest part will be narrowing it down.

The Modern Applique Workbook
The Modern Applique Workbook

I am also really drawn to Mod. Again, a fun retro vibe without feeling like your wading through the shag carpet in your grandparents living room. The quilting in each is spectacular, both done by Angela Walters.

Mod
Mod

Fall is adorable and its a good thing everyone I know is having babies. FYI, you all get this quilt!

Fall
Fall

For beginners, Birds is a easy one to start with. Cute and fun, would also make a great gift!

Birds
Birds

 

Overall I would recommend The Modern Applique Workbook to anyone. Beginners will love the step by step, detailed instructions, and experienced quilters will love making the more complex shapes and adopting Jenifers techniques for applique.

 

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Stacey

 

Book Review: Playful Petals

Hello my VMQG friends! Stacey Day here, with another book review for you! Please enjoy responsibly!

Yesterday I sat down and pulled out my copy of Playful Petals by Corey Yoder. I love applique, and I love orange peels so of course I was keen to dive in. I was definitely curious as to just how many projects could be made using a single shape. Quite a few would be the answer. You can find some great pictures here on Corey’s blog.

Playful Petals

Corey uses the single petal shape in lots of fun, innovative ways. The book includes both quilts and matching pillows, which is fun if you want to have matching throw pillows with your lap quilt. (I can never have enough!) The quilts use a combination of piecing and fusible web applique to keep things interesting, and to save you from the monotony of just press, peel, stick, press, repeat. There are multiple petal templates included, so you could scale down a project if you wanted by choosing a different petal shape. Most of the projects are pre-cut friendly, and will tell you which precut in the fabric requirements, so getting started is as easy as grabbing that fat quarter bundle or layer cake that has been languishing in your stash and put it to good use. The petals are also scrap friendly. What a beautiful way to use all those little bits and pieces!

The writing is easy to read and understand. She outlines her process and includes a fun bit of history as to how she got started quilting and why she centered on applique. She explains her method and shows you different options for stitching the applique pieces to the background fabric. The stitching instructions also include tips for perfect stitched petal points. She also gives you a layout for optimal petal placement that you can refer back to at need. Her method uses less fusible web than you might think, and ultimately creates less layers to sew through in some of the multi-petal patterns. She also gives you tips on picking a good fusible web, choosing threads and the effects they have, and some tips for using pearle cottons and decorative stitching.

Scattered Blossoms
Scattered Blossoms 

Corey also includes a great section on precuts and fabrics. Each of the common precuts has a small overview, and then she goes into other printed fabrics and how to use the different scale prints to your advantage. The fabric section may be a bit small, but it is to the point and includes all the information you need to help pick fabrics for the included projects.  The finishing section is complete and her techniques are pretty standard, but she has included a fantastic pillow cutting chart! It gives you the backing sizes to cut for square pillows from 12″-24″, and a rectangle pillow as well. It’s super helpful when you want to resize your pillows.

Daisy Feilds
Daisy Feilds

This book is definitely beginner friendly. The technique is easy to learn and remember, and it can be applied to any shape not just petals. The patterns aren’t over-complicated, but they are fun! You could easily make a quilt in a weekend, and the pillows could be done as a same day gift for sure. The written instructions are very easy to understand and follow. The quilts are made of blocks with applique that are sewn together, making construction easy. It also makes it very easy to resize a project by adding or subtracting blocks.

My favorite quilt in the entire book as to be the cover quilt, Rainbow Petals. It is so fun and cheerful, the petals are plump and can only be described as jaunty!  I can see myself making this to use in my nook (aka the armchair in the sewing room) to read under.

Rainbow Petals
Rainbow Petals

Second upon my favorites list, and another want to make, is Tossed Petals. This reminds me of a garden path strewn with petals. There are hundreds of cherry blossom trees in Vancouver, and the streets would be littered in blossom petals in the spring. This would be very fun to do with  bright petals and a low volume background. The block is easy to construct and the layout is straightforward.

Tossed Petals

The tossed petals block is my favorite petal block in the book, so I decided to whip up a pillow following Corey’s instructions to the letter. I have been doing fused applique for years, I made my first quilts with fused applique and almost no piecing, and I still found some tips and tricks that make the construction that much easier.

PLayful Petals Pillow 009
My Scattered Blossoms Pillow

PLayful Petals Pillow 011

I picked some of my favorite blenders and prints for the petals, and I used a pair of fat quarters in Kate Spain’s Cuzco for the back and binding. That bright pink is my favorite! I used a simple orange peel motif for the quilting, and using Corey’s suggested sewing lines I quilted the entire thing without backtracking once. I chose to use a raw edge straight stitch to secure the petals. Mostly because it was way too late to pull out mymulti stitch machine. It came together easily and I love how it looks!

Overall these petals certainly live up to the description of Playful. It is beginner friendly and has some tips and tricks for the experienced quilter as well.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Stacey

*I would like to note that it was next to impossible to find stock photos to use here. I finally stumbled across some on a Pinterest board that linked back to a file on Connecting Threads. I do not know the origin of the photos, but can only assume they were taken by the photographer who shot the book.*

Photos reprinted from Playful Petals by Corey Yoder.  Published by CT/Stash Books.