Strip-Pieced Applique Tulip Quilt Directions

Holly and Mickie asked me how I put these tulips together, so here’s my attempt to explain my process, although I realize everyone has their own way of putting a block together — particularly when it involves applique.  My technique is baste and pin (no needle turn, no freezer paper), but you can use any method that works for you.  Also, I want to show you a big mistake I made on my first block just by being careless.

Because I’ve already used up my pre-sewn DWR arcs, I will have to demonstrate with the strip sections I made myself from some old DWR pieces.  To avoid waste, I sew together just enough pieces to fit my templates.  It’s not important to me how the templates fit, but you must remember to make an equal amount of left and right petals.

Put together your three tulip blossom pieces.

With right sides together, stitch the right and left petals to the center (I use a 3/16″ seam allowance) — stop about 3/16″ from the top and backstitch.

Press the seams open.  Starting with your knot on the right side of the fabric, turn in the edges of the tulip unit and baste 3/16″ all around (I do not bother to press first, but use my left thumb to roll over the edge while I’m basting).  Fold in the 3 tulip points, and then fold each side toward the middle to make a nice finish on the points.  Because you pressed the seams open, it is easy to fold down the top of the seams where the petals meet.

Here’s how it looks from the right side.

Here’s where things began to go wrong.  I cut a template to line up the tulip units on the block.  I didn’t add any markings or grid lines to the template.  As you can see, the 4 tulips fit fairly well into the template, but if you look closely, they really are not placed correctly.  Their points don’t line up well across the block, and even though the blocks won’t be right next to each other (since I’m adding sashing), this really bothers me.

Here’s the first block finished (about 9 1/2″), which I am definitely going to redo.  Not only is it crooked, but my basting and applique stitching was also pretty sloppy on the petal points — some of them are more curvy than others.

Next time I will draw more detail on the square placement template (duh!) and try to be more careful about making my petals the same.  One thing I can’t decide is whether the left and right petals should curve out, or be more straight — I currently have an odd assortment of both.  What do you think?

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