Appliqué Flowers Workshop

hand hem stitched sample of Broderie Perse as sewn on the original quilt

As part of the activities developed for the current Kaffe Fassett exhibition at  the American Museum in Britain I am giving 2 separate day workshops to make a small panel of hand appliqué flowers. I am supplying the same fabrics used for the large scale appliquéd quilt that I made for Kaffe to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Kaffe visits his present in the quilt room at the American Museum

I started the day by taking all the participants to the museum’s Quilt Room to see the original quilt and explained some of the techniques we would cover. I explained my technique of hand stitching over the raw edges of the bonded motifs, which is easier than the original way of turning a small hem and stitching onto the panel. They were asked to design their own version of the appliquéd flower and shell panels – but not the central Kaffe portrait.

Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics bonded with heat transfer papers

I had prepared a whole sheaf of flowered fabric by pressing heat transfer paper onto the backs of them so they were ready to cut out. I also took the remaining motifs I had cut, but not used, from my quilt. Plus a selection of different coloured squares of Shot Cotton for the backgrounds, these I backed with a woven cotton interlining to strengthen them for appliqué to be sewn without a stretcher or hoop.

Everyone had to choose their own back ground fabric first, this makes finding colours for the individual flowers easier; I know how daunting it is to have so much choice. But they soon got going on the cutting and placing….

The first thing I noticed was that most people put far too many flowers onto the fabric squares with odd gaps between. I had to keep reminding them that this was to be a hand- stitched appliqué and to think about the work involved to finish the stitching later at home….. but even so most people favoured lots and lots of flowers, below shows some work in progress.

After the basic shapes were developed extra flowers could be found in the spare fabrics I had brought, and people could bond and press motifs individually to balance or fill up their basic design. Several people worked as I do and changed their designs a great deal during the design process until they were about satisfied.

Other people had very organised workspaces (very unlike me) and I enjoyed seeing their beautifully laid out tables with all necessary equipment to hand. They seemed to progress steadily and surely, with only a small tweak or suggestion of a different fabric from me

a work table set out with cut motifs and a camera ready to record a successful design

eventually all the designs were organised; some really interesting designs were arrived at by chopping and changing until the last minute…

but eventually everyone had to commit to trimming,

very very carefully trimmed stalks and petals ready to be bonded

then tracing around places with a water soluble pen, before pressing the whole design into position.

and then after a quick demonstration from me – start to stitch it.

a range of embroidery cottons chosen to tone in with the fabric colours are ready to appliqué

They all were very skilled at this very precise stitching, a relief as poor work at this point can ruin all the meticulous care taken after this really intense design stage.

At the end of the afternoon session there was a lovely and varied set of designs and some were already being stitched – with promises from the rest that they would definitely finish them.

the whole ten class participants with their own ready-to stitch appliqué designs.

And for anyone who is interested in joining the next workshop – it is on Saturday September 21st 2019.

14 thoughts on “Appliqué Flowers Workshop

  1. Janet what a great workshop! The final results look amazing and such wonderful diverse colour choices. The participants all look very happy with their work. Great blog xx

    1. Hi Philip,
      thank you so much for this response, praise indeed.
      I carefully chose the fabrics for this class realising that the refined ‘drawn’ quality of all your textile designs influences the quality of both the initial cutting and eventual stitching of the appliqués. I found this out for myself when using your work on the original quilt – I did not want my stitched work to compromise your beautifully painted textiles.


  2. As one of the happy participants in this workshop, my thanks go to Janet for her guidance and inspiration – and to the Kaffe Fassett Collective for all those glorious fabrics. It was a brilliant day. Loved it!

    1. Hi Sue.
      thanks or the positive response. Dare I ask if your piece is finally stitched?????
      If so please send image and I will include it in the post, same goes for anyone else as well – one lives in hope.
      It was a good day though I thoroughly enjoyed it as well.


      1. The stitching is progressing at snail’s pace – I have been distracted by heat, crochet and an imminent demonstration of Japanese drumming! However, it WILL be finished at some stage and I will forward a photo once it’s done – promise!

      2. wow Japanese drumming -one of my favourite musical performances – I am married to a drummer, not Japanese though in what I call a beat combo – but really a jazz band!
        Will look forward to seeing your work finished in your own time – Janet

  3. The process looks very exciting, with such an incredible choice of fabrics no wonder the students didn’t want to leave any of the beautiful flowers out of their work.
    I love the composition of the flowers creating depth of design onto the vibrant backgrounds.

    Looks like an amazing workshop

    I love reading about your latest ventures……very inspiring

    Jane-Marie x

  4. what a shame Maris, but hopefully you could follow the proceedings well enough from the post? you do need a lot of flowers to choose form though.


  5. Hi Janet
    great blog, great pictures and I like the happy, satisfied faces at the end of the workshop!
    You are an amazing teacher!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.