My current quilt project includes a broiderie perse Japanese flower arrangement (Ikebana). I “painted” the flowers in Corel Painter 15 based on some Dover black and white drawings that I heavily edited. (See my post on painting the flowers). Broiderie Perse flower arrangement appliques using printed flowers has been around since the 1700s.
I am using my technique for narrow stitching the raw edged appliques, and I thought I would just share with you how I set it up to be as precise as possible.
- I set my zig zag stitch width to .9 (the blanket stitch would also work if it were set just as narrow and shortened).
- I set my tension a little looser on top and thread my bobbin for embroidery. This has to be done carefully and with a test to make sure that even though the top thread pulls to the back a little bit it doesn’t make the stitch come out unsecured.
- I use my magnifying glass attachment
- My needle is a 6.0/8 Microtex Superior Titanium
- I use the 37D quarter inch foot for my Bernina 830 LE. And yes, usually this foot is for straight stitching, but it will accept a zig zag width up to 1.1. I like this narrow foot because it has an open toe, it holds the applique tight to the fabric while stitching, it has a mark at the back of the open toe that shows the precise center of the foot, and I can engage my machine’s dual feed mechanism, which helps the stitching to be more even. If you don’t have this foot, I suggest your open toed embroidery foot instead.
37D foot in action
- I use a very thin thread–usually Kimono silk 100 weight or Bottom Line 60 weight–in a matching color to the edge of the applique.
I discovered if I use this setup and aim the edge of the applique right at that center-back mark on the foot, keeping the edge as close to centered in the foot as possible that it stitches precisely with the zig on the applique and the zag on the background fabric (doesn’t matter which side the fabric is on and which side the applique is on). Also, by doing this, I can tell exactly when I need to turn and how far. There is a lot of turning in machine applique of flowers.
Stitching fairly slow to medium speed and trying to keep an even timing, produces the best most even stitch.
The result is very hard to see, but even under a magnifying glass it looks pretty.
I sometimes use monopoly using this very same setup only I use a universal Schmetz 7.0/10 needle for the monopoly. I don’t know why, but it seems to keep it from misbehaving so much. I don’t like working with monopoly because it is so lively and hard to see. Still, sometimes it is the right thing to use, especially in something like this.
I printed off and cut out more flowers than I needed and arranged the flowers in place on the quilt, using Steam-a-Seam 2 so I could hand stick them down before I fused them in place. I found I really could use a lot of the things I learned when I studied Ikebana even though the flowers were flat.
A side note: I have my fourth year certificate in Sogetsu Ikebana school that I obtained while living in Kanazawa, Japan. My class was a group of three wonderful Japanese women and myself. All three had lived in the United States and spoke English very well. They taught me flower arranging, how to keep house in Japan, Japanese cultural items I needed to know, and a bit of Japanese. I don’t think I could have managed life in Kanazawa without them. There was much to learn. This quilt is being made in their honor.
Sew happy everyone. Try some broiderie perse precision applique by machine in your next quilt project.