I have made this bird quilted wall hanging using both reverse applique and normal applique and it really didn’t take very long to make. I began with a panel of yellow fabric 14″ wide cut across the width of fabric because I wasn’t sure how long it was going to be. I used a lot of machine quilting to creat impact in the wall hanging. The final size is 18″ by 31″.
Creating the reverse applique
On the yellow fabric I drew a vine or branch with three leaves on one side and two on the other. I drew a wavy line across the bottom as a base for it. I think you can just see the fabric marker in the left hand photo, but you can definitely see the shape after I had cut it out.
Lay the background fabric with the cutout on top of a panel of brown fabric. allow the brown fabric to extend an inch or two below the yellow at the bottom so that you have a base for the vine. smooth the yellow fabric very gently so that it lies completely flat. Baste the two layers together all round the outside and all round the vine and leaves as well. Zigzag the edge of the vine shape so that your stitches are on both the brown and yellow fabric. It now looks as if the vine was always designed in the brown fabric and that’s all there is to reverse applique – cut out shapes from the top fabric so that the bottom fabric will show through.
Adding the applique birds to the wall hanging
From a magazine I traced three bird outlines. I just wanted three birds of similar size but in slightly different positions from each other. I cut them out inpaper so that I could play around with them on the vine and decide which one went where and, more importantly, which way they would face because that obviously had to be decided before I cut them in fabric.
Once I was happy with the positions of the birds I cut them out in fabric. I used white so that you would be able to see the machine quilting more clearly on them, but in fact they give quite a nice colour contrast. I back the fabric interfacing before I cut the applique birds. Bast them in position and then zigzag around the edges to secure them. I used a smaller zigzag width for this than I had used for zigzagging the vine.
Add the wall hanging border
So now that everything is securely attached, add the border. I used 2.1/2″ strips of green fabric. You could just add two stris across the top and bottom and then a strip down each side or if you want to use a mitred corner as I did, you can find find the instructions for that on mitred corners.
Lay the backing fabric with right side down, add the wadding and lay the patchwork on top with right side up. Smooth gently and baste with pins or thread, whichever you prefer.
Machine quilting the wall hanging
I began machine quilting by stitching all round the edge of the vine and leaves, going round the birds where necessary. One the vine itself I then put wavy lines along the length of the vine, while on the leaves I put a central line with veins going off to either side. along the base I quilted wavy lines running across the wall hanging.
Next I quilted the applique birds. I stitched the outlines first to stabilise them, then quilted the feathers with continuous up and down lines of quilting. Of the three, this bird turned out the best because I used longer lines. In the other two I used layers of shorter lines and it looked a bit messy. The eyes and beaks were hand embroidered.
Finally I used echo quilting to fill in the background fabric. I began in the bottom left and stitched about 1/4″ out from the bird/vine outline all the way round then turned back and quilted another line a further 1/4″ out. this line continued until the entire background was filled in.
Finishing the applique wall hanging
When the quilting was complete I basted the edge of the bird quilted wall hanging and trimmed the excess backing fabric and wadding ready for binding. This is the same as binding a quilt.
I hope you find the ideas for this bird wall hanging useful. I’m sure that your birds will be far better than mine, but I hope that I have given you some ideas on how to create visual impact with your machine quilting.
Here’s the video: