q Basic Embroidery Stitch for I’m a Little Teapot | Tourmaline & Thyme Quilts

How do you make those curlicues?? I thought this was a fusible applique pattern.

That is an excellent question, and I am going to show you how I made them! There are a couple of tricks: use interfacing, mark before you stitch, and thread the stitches.

Don’t worry. I am going to show you step by step.

The first step is to add fusible to the back of all your piece.

The second step is to make freezer paper templates. I used only one layer of freezer paper for my templates as I was only using them once.

Then, cut out your appliques. This is all standard stuff. Right? Now, comes the fun part.

Fuse the Teapot Base to a piece of medium weight interfacing. Then, add fusible to the back of the interfacing. Why??

  • The interfacing will prevent color from the background from “bleeding” through. White is a difficult color to use in fusible if it is applied over a dark color. The dark color can sometimes tint the white.
  • The interfacing will provide stability when we add that embroidery to it.
  • The interfacing will add a little added texture to the final project.

Place the Teapot base over the layout template and trace the curlicues onto the teapot base. Make sure to use a marker that will disappear later. I prefer chalk or an air erase marker for this step.

For this next step, you will stitch the design onto the teapot base using a simple straight stitch from your sewing machine.

Typically, I use a 2.0 or 2.5 stitch length for piecing and applique work. However, this is neither of those! I needed a longer stitch so that I could thread it. So, this time I used a 3.0.

Make sure that the thread tails are pulled to the back and knotted. The beauty of the interfacing is that the threads won’t show much!

Now, you can remove the marking. For air erase markers, I used a little water to speed up the process.

This is a good time to add the rest of the fusible appliques. I like to add the embroidery after fusing. This ensures the fusible pieces lay flatter. Sometimes, the embroidery will even hide little bobbles.

I like to fuse all of the pieces together on the layout first. As you can see, I moved the pieces in a little to make them overlap a little more. Call it creative license!

This motif is carefully peeled from the mat. Then, it is fused to the center of the teapot base. The stitched curlicues act as a guide for the placement. I centered it within that stitching.

Then, I assembled the teapot on the background a fused it in place before I did any more stitching.

This close-up photo shows some of the stitching I used.

Around the medium blue center, I used a blanket stitch.

For the dark blue circle and the petals, I used a stitch I had never tried before. On my machine it looked like two straight stitches side by side. And that is exactly what it did! So, it was wider than a single stitch and really caught the edges of the fabric well. I will definitely use that one again.

For the tear drops, I used a single stitch close to the edge of the motif. This is not my preferred method as it can cause fraying. But in this case, I planned to thread the outline of the teardrops as well as the curlicues.

The images above show the threaded straight stitch.

  • The first picture (left) shows three stitch lengths. The top is 4.0, the middle is 3.0 and the bottom is 2.0.
  • The second picture shows the stitches on the back side. It is easier to see the length of the stitches there.
  • The third picture show the first step of the threaded straight stitch. I used a 12-wt cotton thread. This is the equivalent of two strands of embroidery floss. Anchor the thread in the back you can use a knot or just hold it tight. Pull the thread to the front of the fabric. With a dull needle, pull the needle between the fabric and the straight stitch. Pull the thread through. Going the same direction, pull the needle and thread under the next stitch. Continue until you have finished the line of stitching.
  • The result looks a little like a stem stitch.

The last step was to add a bead at the end of the curlicue. It seemed like just the right touch.

The teapot base and lid were secured with a blanket stitch.

The handle, spout and dark blue sections were secured with a few lines of straight stitching. Kind of like a loose thread painting. It provided just a little texture.

The final touch was a simple meander on the background fabric.

I did not do any stitching on the white, it felt right to leave it plain.

All that is left is for me to trim the background and bind it! I will use a dark blue binding. Maybe if I am feeling adventurous, I might add a little detail to it…. Time will tell.

I hope sharing my process with you will provide some inspiration for you.

Happy Quilting!