Mini-tutorial on how to do reverse applique

Apologies for not updating about the progress of my Tree of Gondor jacket! While I finish writing up the rest of the process, here's a mini tutorial of how to use reverse applique to create the tree design.

Here are the five basic steps:

First - Trace the design you want on the fashion fabric of the coat (the exterior layer). I tried to use a chalk pencil but, because of the micro-suede, I ended up using pen. My advice is to avoid using permanent methods of marking the fabric (like pen) in case the design changes, but it worked for me as I had a very set design and was using a narrow zig-zag that covered the pen marks.

Second - Pin and baste the backing to the interfaced exterior fabric and make sure the grain-lines match up, otherwise it'd be an awful stretched mess. I did a several lines of vertical and horizontal basting several inches apart.
Bernina Open Embroidery Foot (#20)

Third - Test the zig-zag (or other stitch you're going to use) on the same layered fabric, just to be sure all the settings are right before you start on the real thing. Also, I used a new universal needle (90/14, I think) and the Bernina open embroidery foot (#20) which let me see where I was stitching. However you have to be super careful not to pull on the fabric to suddenly in any direction as it greatly increases chances of breaking the needle. Another option would be the clear applique foot (#23) which I considered using but when I did a test I couldn't see my lines clearly enough.

Fourth - Spend forever slowly stitching over the design you just traced. It takes a lot of time, but precision at this stage is very important. If you have a design with pointy bits (like root tips and star points), it really helps to set the sewing machinet to the "needle ends down" setting and use a knee bar to lift the presser foot. This allowed me to manipulate the fabric so I could get the points as sharp and clean as possible on the ends of the tree branches and stars.

Fifth - Use the smallest point scissors you have (I bought Gingher Epaulette mini snips just for this project which worked beautifully) and cut out the inside of the design. Then you trim and trim and keep trimming until all the little stray threads are gone.

This was my test piece for the reverse applique process. 

Now, onto constructing the coat!


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