Recently, I hit a bit of a wall on my applique project. Unlike blocks I've sewn before, this one has multiple blooms made of several layers and I was unsure about how I wanted to proceed regarding the cut-away issue. Years ago when I appliqued a Whig Rose, I cut away under the center motif and recalled not being happy with the way that weakened the background fabric. Yet the prospect of a blossom comprised of 3 or 4 layers on top of the beefy Moda Bella background concerned me as well...can you say *top heavy*?
I decided to go to my books and consult the experts. The Piece O' Cake girls clearly state in their last book that they do not cut away. Jo Morton doesn't mention it. However, in her most recent book, she references a method of applique that Jeana Kimball outlines in more detail in her book, Virtues. It seemed cover what I was looking for - multiple layer applique - so I ordered the book.
My applique block was too far developed to try Jeana Kimball's method as described, but from it, I adapted a solution that I am happy with for this project. Perhaps this is how most accomplished applique-ers do it, but I hadn't used this method before. What I did was lightly trace a template for the next layer onto the red appliqued blossom. Then, in a contrasting thread, I basted about 1/8" inside that traced line. (Click on photo to enlarge if necessary.)
Once the basting was completed, I carefully snipped out the center of the red blossom, another scant 1/8" inside the basted outline. This left the background fabric strong and intact, while securing the inside flower edge for the next layer of applique.
Voila! The pink blossom went on like a dream - no bulk! Now just seven more to go...before the next layers. (Do you detect a little *sigh* in there?) Despite the work, I am love-love-loving this block and am anxious to get it finished. My photos were somewhat compromised by the dark and gloomy weather we're having this week. While it's not great for shooting pics, it's wonderful weather for getting some applique done...no guilt over yardwork that's beckoning!
***I found Jeana's method for appliqueing multiple layers pretty interesting and will probably try it on a future project. (Although it took several reading to absorb what she was describing.) If you do a lot of hand applique, I'd recommend the book.