Okay, so I've made a couple of quilts before, but I'm feeling intimidated by my next quilt because it involves appliques and I've never done appliqueing before. This one's for my niece and I got a bunch of different types of light blue fabric to make up the background and tons of all sorts of different butterfly appliques. My plan was to just sort of put the butterfly appliques on all over the place, kinda randomly and not too planned, but I'm not sure where to start. The appliques are different shapes and sizes, some of them have fusible stuff on the back and some don't. I don't know where to begin. Should I put the appliques on blocks before I sew them together, or after the rest of the quilt is done? Should I put fabric glue on the ones that don't have fusible stuff on them, and stick them all on and then sew them on? Would it be easier to sew them on by hand or machine - some of them are quite shapely and it seems like it would be hard by machine. But what kind of handstitch would I use? If I do it by hand, is it going to take forever and look sloppy? Do I have to turn the edges under on them? That looks hard. Are there any secret tips to make this go more smoothly? What kind of problems am I going to run into? Any advice would be appreciated!!!
1. Online communities are great - and so are books - but sometimes when you're new to something you can look online to see if there's a local guild or group that meets. See if there's a nearby quilting group and go and watch people and ask questions and you won't feel so intimidated by jumping in.
2. I highly recommend making a doll's quilt first or something other kind of small practice quilt so you can see how it goes together and get ideas for the real thing.
3. When I made my first quilt I did everything without sources and it still turned out fine - although I found out later I went about it the least efficient way possible. I used cd cases as a template and cut out each individual square, sewed the squares into rows with my machine, sewed the rows into the top sheet (with my machine) and put it together the batting and the back like a giant pillow (put the right sides facing each other and the batting on top of the wrong side of one of the wrong sides, and sewed three sides with my machine), turned it right side out and handstitched one side together. Later I got a quilting book and realized there are much easier ways to go about it - but even though I did it "wrong" I still ended up with a quilt that looks great. So don't worry too much about doing it wrong.
I recently tried shirring for the first time and had every problem you could imagine - one of which was having my bottom thread all snarled and tangled up for seemingly no reason - and the thing that helped the most was winding the bobbin by machine and not by hand. In fact, the more I pretended that I was sewing with normal thread, the better shirring worked for me. I ended up just keeping the tension and stitch length as I normally do. Granted, my finished product could have more give, but it gathered up nicely and looks like it's supposed to....and no snarled, tangled thread!!
I know this is totally redundant, but I love, love, love your skirt. I had a very similar experience actually and I was really happy to see your post. I made a circle skirt out of an unfinished quilt top. It was very colorful and vibrant and I left it floor length because I love the flourish of a super long skirt. Well, the first time I wore it out I was so proud and thought I looked amazing and my guy and I went out to eat and I overheard this couple making fun of my skirt. I wanted to go home and cry! But then I realized that the couple making fun of me was sitting there in grubby boring t-shirts and khakis and I thought, "Well, why would I care about impressing them anyway? I don't want to blend in with those types of people! I don't want to fit into the grubby t-shirt and khaki crowd! I want to stand out!" If I'm gonna spend a lot of time and effort making something, I want it to be a bit over the top and fantastic and head-turning. That's why if I'm gonna bake something it's gonna be caramel bread pudding and not grilled chicken breast and if I'm gonna sew something, it's gonna be something a bit over the top that makes people do a double take. There are lots of stores full of boring stuff that we can buy already. I say, if you put the time and effort into making clothing, make it a piece of art. The truth is, attention makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable, because they're insecure, and they don't want to be self aware. And then they even start to discourage other people from being self aware. So if someone scoffs at your skirt, what they're really saying, "I'll bet people will really notice you when you wear that skirt, and that would make me feel really uncomfortable because when people pay attention to me, it makes me self conscious, because I don't always like myself, and I'm scared of standing out. Even if it's positive attention."
Okay, I'm done with my rant. Here's my question: How exactly did you make the "belt" instead of the drawstring? Can you put up a pic? I wanna see how you did it! Thanks in advance!!