Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Overlay for applique placement

I've had questions about the overlay. You can find the plastic drop cloths at a hardware or paint store. I bought one today which was 3 MIL thick 9ft X 12ft. Cut plastic to the size of your pattern then using a Sharpie black pen (won't smear or wipe off) trace the pattern onto the plastic. Also write on the top somewhere which is the right side up ( usually I write which block it is) so you don't flip it over and have things going the wrong direction. I pin two corners so it doesn't move around and then lift the plastic to lay the cut pieces in place. This method is used when you can't see thru the background or don't have a light box. I hope this has helped.

To trim or not? I trim the fabric if it is a large piece and I'm going to hand quilt on top of it. Never had any problems of coming loose after many washings. If I'm having it machine quilted then I don't trim away the fabric.

Thanks for all of the great comments, as I just love reading all the them on both mine and every ones postings. Keep quilting and posting.


  1. I tried this method once, but must have had the wrong kind of plastic? It got wrinkles from being folded and I couldn't get them to smooth out. It kind of threw all of the placement off for me.
    I can see where this would be especially handy on dark backgrounds that you can't see through though..with the right kind of plastic. :)

  2. I use a different product for overlays on dark fabrics. But, I must admit to not liking an overlay in general. I think they're a pain. That said, I am having to use an overlay on my Roseville Album blocks - black background and ALL those pieces to fit in! : P

  3. I can see the advantage of working with an ovrlay but I have to say I hate it. I pin one side of the block overlay with at least 4-6 pins and still the whole thing shifts and moves. I prefer drawing my design on the background. On a black background I use dressmaker's kind of paper (I don't know the name in english)reminds of what they used ages ago on typewriters to get a text doubled. It is washable but I do stay well on the inside of the lines so the applique will surely cover just in case.

  4. Thank you Julee! Now I get it - I'm learning something new everyday. This is wonderful! Kim McL

  5. My frugal friend uses the plastic bags that come on her dry cleaned clothing. It works just fine, even if the plastic is kind of thin.

  6. The overlay was my favourite method for placement too. I don't worry about trimming or not behind applique. If I was going to hand quilt in the shape, I sometimes do that. I don't think I care about what happens to the quilt in 150 years.