***I’m trying this again, since the last post was wonky and slow. Sorry if you got both of them.***
Wonder Under vs. Heat N’Bond
I prefer Wonder Under. I find it to be much less stiff and easier to work with. It’s easier to get it to actually bond to the fabric. I’ve also had issues with Heat N’Bond gumming up my sewing machine needles. I’ve never had that problem with the Wonder Under.
Where to get patterns and ideas
I usually do a Google image search and use that for inspiration and to see what type of details I’ll want to be sure to include to make it look right. Then, I get a pencil and start drawing. The octopus was creepy my first attempt. The second attempt was WAY too big, so I copied it at 75% and it was perfectly sized. Also cuter, on accout of the weird parts being smaller.
I like to trace the pattern directly onto the Wonder Under before ironing it to my fabric because you can see through it and make sure to use (or avoid) certain fabric details. See how the green oval is centered like a window on the rocket? That was on purpose. Be sure to trace on the smooth paper side of the Wonder Under and make sure that any letters, numbers, etc are BACKWARDS. I also like to use pencil. That may be a personal issue from my time as a math major in college, though.
Be sure to place/fuse your parts in the right order. For example, you don’t want to iron down the body of the rocket until you’ve got the fins (totally a technical term) tucked underneath. You’d put the nose cone piece on last of all.
I’ve sewn most of my appliques by hand for a very long time, but have finally gotten the hang of doing them by machine. I prefer a straight stitch to a zig zag, so my tips will be about using a straight stitch. Possibly the most important thing is to shorten your stitch length. This keeps you from taking a giant stitch right off the edge of the fabric on accident. You don’t want it super small (in case you have to pick it all out)….just small enough to give you better control. I like mine set around 1.8 or 2. If your machine has a variable speed control, turn that down too…not the slowest you can possibly go, just somewhere in the middle.
When you get to teeny tiny turns (like the ends of the octopus tentacles), don’t be afraid to do one stitch at a time and then lift your presser foot to make adjustments after almost every stitch. It’s still faster than doing it by hand. My machine has a function where the needle always stops in the “down” position. Make sure your needle is down before you pivot your design.
How cute would that octopus be with eyeballs on a less busy fabric? Maybe even buttons sewn on if the shirt was for an older child? If my rocket fabric hadn’t had such a perfect oval for the window, I probably would have added one.
Good luck, and if you use my patterns…leave me a comment so I can see how they turn out!
Octopus template here.
Rocket template here.
***Personal use only. Make ‘em, gift ‘em, please don’t sell ‘em!***