Today I thought I would share a little more about about my Meadow Breeze project and some things I discovered and learned about the fusibles I am using.
First, let me show you what I accomplished on Sunday:
I got all the rest of my applique shapes cut out, fused, and stitched on. Again, if you look back at yesterday's post, you can see that I messed up a little on my vines, but I think it turned out okay. My biggest concern is that at the top, my vines ended up higher than they were supposed to, so I had to let one flower run into the outer border. But I think that will be okay. I also have a big white space where the vines didn't cover like they were supposed to at the top, because they are so high up. I guess I could either add more appliqué shapes or--what I thought might be a better solution--save that area for some pretty quilting. I hope you think it looks okay, too.
Now, for what I learned on this project. Remember yesterday how I told you I was having a lot of trouble with thread breakage? I knew it wasn't my thread, because I'm using the same thread throughout this project and I have had no trouble before.
The only thing I changed on this section was I used Steam-a-Seam 2 as my fusible web. Pat Sloan recommends Heat 'n Bond Lite for this project. I have been using the Heat 'n Bond, but when I went to pack up to go to my Friday night sew-in, I couldn't find it. Go figure... So, I grabbed the Steam-a-Seam 2 to use instead. I figured it would be just as good, and I do like how it's sticky so you can stick your appliqué pieces to your fabric, carry it to the ironing board, and everything sticks on till you iron it. I thought this would actually be an advantage when working on this piece, because the vines covered so much area.
As my thread was breaking, I tried a lot of things to deal with it.
- Thought I was sewing too fast maybe. Slowed down. Thread still broke.
- Thought maybe my bobbin case was in wrong. Checked it, cleaned any lint out. Thread still broke.
- Thought maybe there was something wrong with the needle...like maybe a burr in the eye. Put in a new needle. Thread still broke.
This was getting annoying. So, I sewed slow and tried to watch what was happening. Huh? What's that little speck on the needle? Rubbed it with my finger. Sticky. Aha! That's it! The Steam-a-Seam 2 was gumming up my needle, and I think that caused all the thread breakage. So, every several inches, I cleaned my needle with rubbing alcohol. That seemed to help, but what a pain!
I had all my shapes traced (e.g., flowers, leaves, berries) on the Steam-a-Seam 2, but I hadn't had a chance to put it on the appliqué fabric yet. Good thing. I threw it all away, and retraced my shapes on the Heat 'n Bond, which I found as I was doing some pressing and looked on my shelves. There it was, sitting there plain as day. How did I miss that the day before? Geez.
As I applied the shapes with the Heat 'n Bond, I had no thread breakage, except where I had to sew over the vines again. Otherwise, no breakage. So, I think the Steam-a-Seam 2 gummed up my needle too much and caused the thread to break. This might explain why I sometimes have problems with thread breakage on my embroidery machine, with which I use Steam-a-Seam 2 for doing applique. I may have to rethink that in the future. (Still, the sticky nature of the Steam-a-Seam 2 really helps when you're doing appliqué in the hoop.)
So, I'm pretty sold on Heat 'n Bond, at least if I'm going to sew over it. Here are features I like about it:
- It doesn't seem to gum up my needle.
- The paper is nicer to trace on, and the fusible isn't as bumpy on the back. So, it's easier to write on.
- The paper pulls off nicely after fusing.
- The paper stays on while I am cutting out the shapes. (I have trouble with the Steam-a-Seam 2's paper coming off as I'm trying to cut out the shape.)
The only difficulty I have with the Heat 'n Bond is that the bond is pretty light. Sometimes my appliqué pieces fall off before I get it to the sewing machine or as I'm sewing on other shapes. I think I might heat it too much. From my inspection of the fabric, it seems that the glue has melted right into the fabric. Maybe I heat it too long or too hot. I need to play with that a little more to completely figure it out. Have any of you had that problem? Solutions?
Hope this is helpful information to you! I am so happy to have completed this section of the BOM. It was the most labor intensive part so far (and from what I've seen of the upcoming parts as well). Getting past this step has been a real albatross for me. It was holding me up from getting moving on this project. The next few steps aren't that big. I am optimistic that I can get caught up this month if I stay on task with it. That might be hard for me to do. You all know how long my attention span is...
Until next time,