Just the other day, when shopping at my neighborhood quilt shop, I picked up a new book that was lying on the counter just because of the awesome letters and numbers. (I can draw, but quite honestly, my letters really suck so I thought this might help)?? LOL That night, when I had some time to page through the book, I actually read the instructions and came to the realization that I have been doing applique WRONG all this time. Me.....the applique queen? Wrong??? Apparently, everyone actually prints their patterns backwards.......WHAT??? And puts them on the fused fabric that way??? On the backside? Why?
Let me tell you how I do it. First, of course, you need a pattern......in this case, we will use my latest, "Goosey Lucy". She didn't turn out as cool as I thought, but what the heck?
First, I cut my background fabric the same size as my pattern, OR sometimes, slightly bigger to accommodate the eventual quilting, or maybe just because I think I need some extra on the sides. (I tend to draw right to the line and forget that the binding will cover stuff up.) Duh!
Then, I choose my fabrics for each of the things I want colored in the drawing. In this case (which is really unusual) I used a colored background so I had to be more careful with fabrics that didn't clash. When I am sure of my choices, I check out the pattern for approximate sizes and cut my fabric to the size I think I'll need and iron fusing web to all of the squares or rectangles. I might use a bit more fabric this way and fusing stuff, but believe me, it's soooo much easier. (And you don't make a mess of your iron or ironing board cover either.) So here we have most of the fabrics I choose with the fusing stuff already ironed on the back (although I think there's a fabric missing......oh well...
Then, get yourself some tracing paper at the office supply store and grab a nice pencil and trace the items you want to applique right from your drawing. (You might have to number different things on the drawing and on the tracings to keep them all straight if there are lots of items with the same fabric.) Then, you put those tracings on top of the fabric (right side up) and just cut them out, one by one until you have the whole thing done. (Number the back of the cut out pieces if you have lots with the same fabric following your numbering system from before.) See the three pieces of white with red dots? They are numbered 1, 2, 3 on the back....the same as the original drawing.
You can do it in sections of you want and when I have something pretty big, I do it in sections too, otherwise, you'll go nuts and won't remember what is what. (Been there, done that!!) SO...when you are done with the tracing and cutting, take the drawing, the background piece of fabric and your "cuttings" over to the ironing board, and as close as possible, position the pieces onto the background fabric until you have it to your liking. (Often I will place the original drawing right on top of the fabric to get an idea of the placement of the first few pieces.) Do not iron anything until it is to your satisfaction, and once that is done, you iron the whole mess down at one time to fuse it forever. Then, just finish it in the normal manner.
And when you're done, you might have yourself a "Goosey Lucy" huge mug rug too which is almost big enough for a sheet cake. LOL (I did get a bit carried away with this one!!)