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WIP Wednesday: Elephants on Parade!

(Why yes, I *am* still procrastinating about my economy blocks. Shhh! Moving on!)

I wish I could take credit for the idea behind my latest WIP, but I totally can’t. But first, a little back story… my husband’s cousin is expecting her first child in April. She designed a beautiful elephant-themed nursery on Pinterest, which among other things features Zoology by Michael Miller. Not that I was stalking her or anything 😉

I was feeling a little intimidated/uninspired since I’ve never designed a quilt with so much (unconscious) input from another person. Let’s be honest, usually I just decide what I want to make for someone and then I do it. Hehe! So, I scanned the internet hoping for inspiration to strike and stumbled upon this amazing quilt entitled “Dare to be Different” by Grapes and Hearts.  Once I saw her gorgeous patchwork elephant, I knew exactly what to do! Except I’ve never appliqued. No time like the present, right?

To start, I chose an elephant silhouette from a free-to-use clipart site (legit licenses comfort my inner legal geek). In keeping with the nursery’s color scheme, I limited myself to the colors in the Zoology print: pale gold, light blue, white, and two grey tones. After I pulled my fabric, I applied my Heat N’Bond to my fabrics and cut out my little elephants. Yield six happy elephants!

It wasn’t until  I tried to adhere the elephants to my background fabric that I ran into some serious trouble with the Heat N’ Bond. For some reason, it didn’t take well. The patchwork elephant was especially disastrous — look at his poor little feet swaying in the breeze! I ended up breaking out my perma-gluestick and sort of winging it with the applique.

Layout: Elephants on Parade!

I’m several applique sessions in to the quilt top, and I’m only half way there. Sort of a bad time to realize that applique isn’t my thing, huh?

Elephants On Parade WIP

So that’s what I’m (stuck!) working on this week. If anyone can share a pro-tip to help me through the last couple elephants, I would be *hugely* appreciative!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced and WIP Wednesday!

Edit to add: I have the nicest readers, thank you for your advice and encouragement! Several of you graciously pointed out that it was unclear what type of applique this was — eek! I should know better than to mix late nights and cold medicine with blogging! So, to clarify… Yes, this is definitely raw edge applique. And, yes, I was extra silly and choose to combine a satin stitch (I thought it might hold up better?) with a pretty detailed silhouette (what can I say, it was pretty!). In retrospect, that was both overly ambitious and a total rookie mistake. But on the plus side, I won’t swear off all future applique… at least not quite yet!

And here’s a little detail shot so you can experience my horror second hand. 🙂 

Elephants on Parade WIP, by Stitchified




{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Erin February 26, 2014, 8:16 am

    Oh dear. If it’s any consolation, it’s going to be gorgeous when it’s done! Lovely colours and the elephants are super cute. I think they’re a bit too detailed a silhouette – you have too many angles to try to go around. It’d be driving me crazy!
    On a side note, I also find it much harder to make for people who give me a run sheet of what they want. It’s so much harder to be creative when there are boundaries or preferences on there. Don’t they know I know them well enough to make them whatever I want and it’ll be fine for them? I think we just stumbled on why I don’t do custom quilts/bags/toys…
    E xx

  • Colby February 26, 2014, 9:53 am

    This looks great! I bet sewing down those curves was a challenge. Bravo!

  • Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl February 26, 2014, 10:10 am

    I think that the elephant silhouette is beautiful, but the detail on it must really be difficult to get sewn down. All I know is that when I’m stuck with something like this setting small goals can be a lifesaver; I like to take photos at the end of a goal and give myself permission to read my quilting blogs as a break after each photo!

    I totally know what you mean about input into quilt design, whether conscience or not! It can really make the creative process a lot harder. Good luck getting this finished!

  • Melissa February 26, 2014, 12:32 pm

    So are you raw-edge appliqueing them? Using a satin stitch? Hand stitching them down? I can’t tell from the picture. 🙂 But I think they look great! I’ve done some applique, and have tried a number of techniques. I prefer raw-edge applique, but have found some times that that’s not acceptable. Pat Sloan has a technique that uses the blind hem stitch on your machine (if you have that stitch) and invisible thread or matching thread. That seems to work really well if the edges are turned under. You can also control wagging feet with applique — and a glue stick! 🙂

    Good luck, I think it looks great!

  • Mell February 26, 2014, 2:47 pm

    I really like those elephants. The look amazing. And the quilt will be more than just goreous. So I hope – even without some great advice – the motivation will help you keep pushing through. 🙂

  • Karen February 26, 2014, 4:28 pm

    I love the elephants. If I can offer one tip it’s that you have to use a stabilizer under the background fabric….It makes the process go much smoother. Use either a tear away or rinse away product. Fusible appliqué is one of my favourite things to do…Not sure if you are doing a satin stitch but if you use a similar colour thread I would just do a zig zag stitch.


  • Kristel February 26, 2014, 7:58 pm

    Obviously it’s too late to do you any good, but I’ve never had anything but trouble with Heat n Bond and (now) always use Steam a Seam 2 Lite… Heat and Bond seems more fussy about the temperature you fuse at – if it’s too hot, it doesn’t work, if it’s too cool, it doesn’t work… Anyway, it does look great! (I don’t envy you the stitching down part of that though, so many little bits to stitch around!)

  • Cindy February 26, 2014, 9:25 pm

    Jenn, Everything you make is so beautiful. When this adorable quilt is done and quilted you are going to love it! I have all sorts of confidence in you!

  • grapes and hearts March 1, 2014, 6:57 pm

    Hello and thanks for the shout out! I love your elephant parade und the reduced colour scheme you chose! Even if it is a lot of work – it’s worth the effort! Keep up the great work!

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