Instructor's Lesson Plan
For Wildflowers: Designs for Appliqué & Quilting
by Carol Armstrong
Notes to Instructors and Shop Owners
Appliqué is not difficult and tedious. Carol Armstrong's simple techniques will make appliqué addicts out of beginning students as well as the experienced ones. With a few simple tools and a stack of solid color fabrics, each student will succeed in creating a floral project and enjoy the process. Make samples of the finished projects to promote the classes.
Classes need to reflect skill level of students.
Shop Owners: Have the following supplies available for the classes:
- Book: Wildflowers: Designs for Appliqué & Quilting
- 1/8 to 1/4 yard of solid color cotton fabrics in color groups - i.e., greens, yellows, blues, etc. If a student intends to do a piece with binding, be sure to have them purchase a larger amount in this color off the same bolt. Carol finds that at least 2 yards of any color is nice to have around for those that are appliqué addicts.
- A basket of #10 milliners needles near the fabrics.
- Have light boxes available. Carol has a small, inexpensive plastic version that is great for classes.
- If you carry threads, offer a wide selection to make stitches disappear!
- Carol uses traditional needle-punched batting for most of her work.
- A good pre-shrunk, permanent-press unbleached muslin is the preferred background fabric.
- Lead your future appliqué lovers to nice sharp scissors and a comfortable thimble for quilting (Carol uses a leather one). Of course a rotary-cutting set is great for borders and bindings, and good markers that can easily be removed from the fabrics are necessary.
- Have irons available in class.
Supply List For Students:
- Book: Wildflowers: Designs for Appliqué & Quilting by Carol Armstrong
- Light box
- Paper (for redrawing patterns)
- Tracing paper for designing
- Fabric markers for light and dark fabric. Do not use the air disappearing type except for quilting at the moment or work that you will finish now.
- 1/8 to 1/4 yard of solid color 100% cotton fabrics in color groups - i.e. greens, yellows, blues, etc. For Beginners Class, specific colors can be listed according to the motif you have chosen.
- Pre-shrunk, permanent-press unbleached muslin for the background
- Matching threads
- #10 milliners needles
- Pins and basic sewing supplies
- Good scissors
- Floss for embroidering details
If the class is to include quilting:
- Basting thread
- Quilting thread
- Quilting needle
Begin with a small project such as the sachet bag on page 61. Select a section of a larger flower or enlarge a small one. The motif will need to fit the sachet bag, page 62. Motif suggestions: a single whorl of Bunch Berry, page 33; a few blossoms and one leaf of Marsh Marigold, page 43; a single Swamp Rose blossom and a few leaves, page 47; or a couple of Violets and leaves, page 50. You can have the students create their own or have an already selected motif on a sheet of paper ready for the light box.
Number of sessions
Three to four sessions, each 2-3 hours long
Session One: 3 hours
Beginning with a simple design, the students will prepare everything for appliqué. Cut out the muslin for the bag, page 61. Mark the background, and mark and cut out the appliqué pieces, page 11. Mark the appliqué order number in the seam allowance for easy reference later. Note: do not use the air disappearing markers as they will be gone before you finish.
When the "kit" is ready for appliqué set it aside and bring out some scrap fabrics to practice the appliqué stitch, page 14. The appliqué stitch is the most important thing to stress. Once it is easy to do, so is everything else. Have the students stitch some simple shapes and allow the stitches to improve. These are practice pieces so mistakes are fine. Allow the students to practice the stitch at home and also read the book pages 12-18, to become familiar with the basics before the next class.
Session Two: 3 hours
In this session they will begin appliquéing the sachet bag. Take note of the specifics the chosen motif may have - i.e., points or inside curves, and demonstrate these techniques. Don't overload beginners with the techniques they will not use this day. Have them start appliquéing. Note: turn and sew only the edges exposed, page 12. Walk around answering questions and appliquéing your own motif to show the right way when needed.
The work goes slowly at first. This is normal. Finish the appliqué at home, if not in class.
Session Three: 2-3 hours
Have an iron and padded surface for ironing available.
Embroider the details in this class. Demonstrate if the students are not familiar with the simple stitches on pages 18-19. Remove any marks showing and press the piece, page 12. Complete the sachet bag using the pattern instructions, page 61-62.
Session Four: 2-3 hours
This session is optional, but will increase the skill level of the students. Have them practice the other techniques that were not used for the sachet bag. Having completed a small project, they will not be as overwhelmed as they may have been at the start. Try samples of tiny bias stems, page 18; and pre-appliqué, page 13; etc. This is a good time to answer any questions.
Quilting was not part of the sachet bag project, but a short discussion could be included referring to the book. Or perhaps have another session for beginners covering only quilting, using a quilted and bound-only project, Chapter Three, pages 21-27. A good size project is 12" x 12". Include basting, marking, and random quilting in different designs to create a sampler square.
Work in a less structured format for those students familiar with appliqué. Allow students to design their own quilt using the twenty-four wildflowers presented in the book.
Number of Sessions
Three to four 2-3 hour sessions
Begin with an open-book review of light box appliqué, page 11. Review the appliqué techniques one at a time, and demonstrate the techniques that the students would like to see. You will have some students that have learned other methods. This will give them the chance to choose the best method for them. I find working without templates a wonderful freedom!
Suggest patterns from the book's twenty-four wonderful wildflowers (pages 28-52), for students to use for designing a small project on paper. The 8" x 10" format works well. A larger format could be used depending on the flowers chosen. Refer to pages 53-55. The paper design can be finished at home so it will be ready for the light box at the next session.
Mark the fabric background, cut out the appliqué pieces, and begin appliquéing the pieces to the background. Answer any questions as the actual work begins. Students may finish the appliqué work at home.
Have a short discussion about adding borders and basting the layers, page 21-22. Have their projects be ready for quilting for the next session.
Let's go quilting! Possible designs can be drawn on paper. This class results in a good exchange of ideas and interaction between students. Use the book whenever needed, pages 23-25 and 85. Also the photos and watercolor illustrations throughout the book are very helpful for inspiration. Go over the quilting directions of a couple of the projects while the students look at the photo of the project, i.e. pages 69 and 75. Have students finish quilting their projects at home.
If the students do not want to frame their project, demonstrate the basics of binding, page 26. This is a good session to have a show-and-tell of the finished or near finished projects. Be prepared to answer any questions that students may still have regarding appliqué and quilting design techniques. Encourage the students to try another project such as a wreath design, page 70.
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