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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reverse Applique Scarf

I have been doing some research on reverse applique.  I like the idea of revealing the final design at the very end as you cut away the fabric. I already had a project idea ready for the boys, when I stumbled upon a reference to multi-layer reverse applique, called Mola, that the Kuna women of Panama make. I was very intrigued, because using more layers of colors opens up a whole new world of design possibilities. I wanted to try it. To start simple, I picked 3 colors, the amazing Kuna women can work with up to 7. To make things even simpler, I wanted to make scarves out of knit fabric, so I would not have to worry about fraying. I got 1/2 yard of rib knit in brown, blue and green. Cut two 6 inch strips of each. And from the leftovers, I cut four 5 1/2 inch squares in each color to be used in the designs at the end of each scarf.
 I started to work on the brown scarf first. I knew I was going to make a flower pattern on this, so I made sure that as I pinned the blocks in the right order. Green on top, blue on bottom.
 Next I cut a 5 inch square piece of paper, folded it up in half and half again, opened it up and made sure that I drew my flower symmetrically.

 There is the flower. Before I pinned both parts, the petals and the leaves/stem to the fabric and sewed around the border of the scarf, making sure that I caught my color blocks too, that way they would stay secure for the applique process.
 Using matching brown thread, I sewed around the outline of the whole design.
 I cut away the first layer.
 Next, I used green thread and sewed in the petal detail. And cut away the next layer.
 That's it. Here is the first scarf.
 My 5 year old liked it so much, he claimed it right away. I have not seen it since. He squirrelled it away in his drawer.
I am working on two more scarves, with different designs and a bit different ways, to see what works the best. I will post those as soon as I am done.

Notes: I did not like sewing around the paper. It was not easy and the pins bothered me a lot. I am trying something different next time.