Texas Teardrops Quilt Along ~ Appliqueing the Teardrops

Can you believe it’s already time to start appliqueing the teardrops?  I can’t.  This quilt along is flying by.  Make sure you’ve joined the Flickr group, there are lots of awesome pictures!  I’m so proud of all the progress everyone is making.

This step takes a bit of time just like the cutting step.  I’m giving everyone lots of time so you are not stressed out and irritable.  This part isn’t hard…just time consuming.  Plus, if you have fallen behind you should be able to catch up.

There are several stitch options for this step.  I used a straight stitch and stitched about an 1/8″ away from the edge of each teardrop piece.  I’m a lazy quilter and although blanket stitches look amazing, I don’t have the patience.  Plus, I seem to always have issues with the fabric buckling when I try to do fancy stitches.

This brings me to tip number one.  You might need to adjust your tension.  Lowering the tension can help prevent the fabric from buckling.  It’s always best to test out your stitches on a sample.  Even though I used a straight stitch, I tested my stitches before I started.

I also picked a thread color that matched all my fabrics {pink} and stitched all the teardrops with the same color.  Some of you will change thread to match each fabric.  It will be awesomeand I will be jealous…remember, I’m lazy.  I was not having any part of that.

Tip number two is pretty simple but newbies might not know.  It’s best to sew and have your machine set to stop with the needle down {as seen in the below picture} when appliqueing.

This will help make sure you don’t lose your place when you pivot the teardrop around the curves.  This is especially important when you get to the tips of the teardrops.  You can stop with your needle down, raise your presser foot, and pivot the teardrop to start down the other side.  Get as close to the tip as possible.  I also use an open toe foot because it’s easier to see what I’m sewing.

Tip number three is probably my favorite but it’s also a bit of a pain in the rump.  I don’t like to back-stitch when I applique because it tends to look a little messy.  So, my wonderful mom taught me to pull all my threads to the back and tie them off.  It’s easy, just time consuming.

Try not to overlap your stitches.  It’s harder to pull them to the back it you do.   The below picture shows the two bobbin threads on back of my block.

I use a pin to help grab the top thread and pull it to the back.  It’s very helpful to gently pull on the bobbin threads, one at a time.  This will start to pull the top thread to the back and you can grab it with a pin.

Then pull the second top thread to the back.  Now there are 4 threads on the back, two bobbin and two top threads.

I normally tie them off by grouping threads 1 & 2 and threads 3 & 4 and make a knot.  I double knot and sometimes triple knot.  It just depends on my mood.

Then I clip them leaving about a 3/4″ tail.

That’s all there is to it!  Not hard at all but it does take awhile to pull them all to the back.

And finally tip number four.  Although Steam a Seam is not supposed to gum up your needle, it might happen.  If you notice that the needle is getting sticky, it’s time to clean the needle.  I actually ended up changing my needle about halfway through the teardrops.  It was getting a little gunky and I didn’t like how it was sewing.

That’s it for today’s lesson.  As always let me know if you run into any trouble.  Believe it or not, once you finish this step, you’re almost finished!  The rest of the steps are pretty fast.

Happy Sewing!  Send me some prayers today…I’ll be trying to learn how to quilt feathers.  Sigh.

8 thoughts on “Texas Teardrops Quilt Along ~ Appliqueing the Teardrops

  1. I was taught whenever you do the blanket stitch you iron on stabilizer to the back. I usually use Sulky’s Totally Stable. Never a pucker one:) yea!!!
    This quilt is on my to do list… I am working on 4 right now so will have to finish one first:)
    Yours is looking great!

  2. Thanks for all the great tips! I am the beginner in this group, since I have never made a quilt before, I needed them! I am having so much fun, and super surprised that I have been able to keep up! Good luck on the quilting feather thing!!!

  3. Great tips, Vicki! Love your sense of humor, too… you are sew fun! I’m not making the TTD blocks – ;(( – but I am cheering you all on from the sidelines. Love your design. It’s on my ToDoList.

  4. OK, I spent a week and a half with my dad and no internet…I have a zillion emails to slog through, so I may have missed it…how do you figure out where to place the teardrops and how large is the chunk of background fabric? Feathers aren’t difficult…check out the youtube of Karen McTavish doing feathers – bump-bump method and start with a hook, not a whole feather if you are planning on coming back around (like a wreath or border) and closing up the feathers. Have fun with them 🙂

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