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Pebble Applique Tutorial

Pebble Applique Tutorial

Scrappy Hoop Sampler Tutorial using Freezer Paper Applique. You can make this project any size you like. My hoop measure 8″ but you could go bigger or smaller or a different shape hoop. I really like the oval shaped ones . Or if hoops aren’t your thing you could go square or rectangle and stretch your fabric over a canvas or pop it in a regular picture frame.

The hardest part was picking which scraps to use!

I made the Liberty pebble shapes using freezer paper to create the rounded edges – this technique would work with any simple curved shape applique so if you fancied making something similar with circles for example, this method would work great too! A larger version of the applique would make a great pebble inspired quilt I reckon, but that’s a whole other project for another day perhaps…..

the covered pebbles in the picture above are a super simple make too – use felt or chop up a vintage doily and sew together with rustic stitches or a blanket stitch to encase a  smooth pebble :)

What you will need:

an embroidery  hoop
A piece of fabric that will fit inside your hoop. Cut it approx 2″ bigger all round than your hoop size,  it’s better to know you have enough to fit  easily & comfortably into your hoop & you’ll be trimming it back later. I used some Essex linen (Robert Kaufman) in steel colourway.
some favourite scraps
tailors chalk or a water soluble/disappearing ink fabric pen & a pencil
freezer paper
sewing machine
iron & spray starch
needle & thread
embroidery floss & needle
paintbrush & water based glue  – one that will dry clear – I used modge podge.

How to:

Using your tailors chalk or similar, draw around the inside of your hoop directly onto the base fabric

Pebble Applique Tutorial

Again, using your tailors chalk, roughly draw some pebble type shapes onto your base fabric, this will give you an idea of a layout for your scraps & also how many pebbles you can fit inside your hoop (depending on size 0f hoop & size of pebbles you want to use).  This isn’t an exact science, more of a guideline for placement & size.

Next, using your pencil, draw  your pebble shapes onto the dull size of your freezer paper & cut out. The beauty of pebble shapes is you can tweak them as you go at this stage so that you get a nice assortment of pebbly shapes. I laid mine out on my base fabric as I went to get an idea of shapes & layout.

Pebble Applique Tutorial

Once you are happy with your pebble shapes, iron the freezer paper onto your scraps with shiny side of freezer paper to wrong side of fabric.

Trim around the freezer paper leaving a 1/4″ or so seam allowance, you don’t have to be too exact or neat.

Using your machine, sew a gathering stitch around the freezer paper shape. You can sew a gathering stitch by hand if you prefer but I find I get a more even gather with the machine.

Gather the stitches around the freezer paper shape.

Pebble Applique Tutorial

& press around the edge. Spray starch is useful  here to obtain nice crisp edges but it’s not essential.

Flip it over & you’ll see you  have a nice neat curved edge! hurrah!

Use a pin to help you extract the freezer paper template

Pebble Applique Tutorial

Pop your base fabric in the hoop & pin your shapes in position – this is a very relaxed project & you can see from the chalk marks on the base fabric that I totally changed the placement!

Pebble Applique Tutorial

Use a thread colour to match the base fabric and stitch your pebbles in place. You can machine applique them if you prefer.

Pebble Applique Tutorial

Once all your pebbles are sewn in place you can doodle all around them with your embroidery floss. As I was using chalk to mark my lines &  didn’t want the line to rub off before I got to it, I drew a scribble around each pebble  as i went along and then did a simple running stitch over the marked line before moving onto the next pebble.

Alternatively you could draw your scribbles all at once if you use a water soluble or disappearing ink  fabric pen. You could do it before you pin & sew your pebbles in place too if you like.  You could also free motion a scribble line with your machine if hand stitches are not your thing.  Whatever works for you!

Pebble Applique Tutorial

When you have finished embroidering your scribbles, remove your work from the hoop, you might like to give it a careful press at this point. Iron it upside down on a towel if you do so that you don’t squash & flatten  all those lovely hand stitches you just made.

Lay your work back on the hoop, right side facing down.

Use a pretty piece of fabric to line the back of your hoop & to hide the back of your work. If you are adding a label, sew it to your lining  before you lay the lining in the hoop. Place your lining fabric on top of the main piece with right side facing up & pop the back of the hoop in position.

Pull your fabrics taught & tighten up your hoop. Be careful not to overstretch or warp your fabrics, stretch them evenly.

Trim off any excess fabric, leaving enough to fold back over towards the inside of the hoop – about 1/2 inch or so, it will depend on the depth of your hoop. It’s easier to trim the lining fabric all the way around first, then trim the main piece.

Pebble Applique Tutorial

Once you’ve trimmed all the way around, grab your pot of glue & paintbrush and working a small section at a time (about 2 inches, apply glue directly onto the inside of the hoop &  fold the lining fabric down onto the hoop smoothing it down with the brush as you go. Once the lining is all glued down, go around again in exactly the same way gluing down the main fabric. You will get creases so don’t worry too much but the finished effect is a whole lot prettier  than the back side of stitches, particularly if  your hoop is for a gift.

Allow to dry.

Pebble Applique Tutorial

& you’re done!

Hang your Liberty Pebbles somewhere where you can see them often!

Pebble Applique Tutorial

Pebble Applique Tutorial


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