Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Blocker is Marianna from Netherlands with Easy Peasy Applecores

Thanks to Madame Sam for inviting me for her Block Party. We won't be making this apple core today, but it is called one. But first let me continue.

For the rest of November (ye, it is already half way gone, isn’t it?) she is still hosting guest tutorial block designers and I was also lucky enough to be asked to show you a block today.  YES, I was really thrilled with this invite!

A little about me first. I'm Marianna Bergkamp from the Netherlands and you’ll find me on Craftluver Marianna, and QDD. So if you see any spelling errors, it is my dutch heritage! I'm a designer, embroiderer, quilter and most of all a fabric addict! On both blogs I have made a page with some info about myself and how I started sewing and such. So come and visit me later on and let me know as I love comments!
My daily chit-chat and quilt/embroidery WIP’s are shown and told on my Craftluver’s blog.

On the QDD (Quilts: Desire & Design) blog I show you all about my designing WIP’s, something I really LOVE working on! And I offer there also designs for free, like my Celtic BOM I designed over the past year (still free download), so if you don’t want to miss out on them, start following me on QDD!

Next year I’ll start on QDD a BOM with tutorials about all kind of “weird” shapes and styles and you are the first to see the January issue! The subject is Applecores and I want to show you how you can make these shapes fit easy! I have made a tutorial on both hand sewing and the machine sewing. I will highlight the differences through the tutorial and sometimes repeat them. So pick what you like best or try something new for you!

But HAVE FUN with it! LET’S PLAY! Read the whole tutorial before you start!
First you start picking out fabrics you like. You need lights, medium and dark fabrics as this pattern works best with a good contrast. Mediums not to close to each other either. And you need to cut some templates from the pattern included, or use the pre cut 2 inch cardboard templates from Busy Fingers. I love to work with these pre cut templates as they are always exactly the same! My cutting is not I can assure you! And you will need some kind of glue, Roxanne’s, Aleene’s or Sewline and cardboard and temporarely adhesive. The first two glues are non removable and the Sewline glue(pen) is removable. I use the last as you can take the shape of during the proces.


Step 1:
Copy the 2 inch (without seam allowance) applecore template in this tutorial and cut 16 cardboard shapes. Cut 4 applecore shapes from 4 fabrics, using the template with seam allowance: 1 light, 2 medium and 1 dark toned.
Step 2:
Take 16 cardboard (pre)cut shapes and glue the fabrics to the shape with the sewline glue pen. OR iron the fabric around the shape (use some heavy starch to keep it in shape, but add this before cutting the shape)
Watch it! Not all fabric is glued, just the bulb shaped seam allowances! Repeat till all 16 are glued both sides.

Step 3:
Lay out all 16 pieces and arrange them in a way you like and watch the contrast between the pieces! Here you can see why you need contrast between them! In the 1st example I haven’t taken enough contrast between the medium colours. In the 2nd it is much better.
clip_image012 clip_image014
Step 4:
Glue the pieces together. I glue the not-turned seam allowance and add the other bulb shape on top. With sewline you can take it off and place it better if the first try isn’t precise enough.
Hold it against a light or window to position the pieces. Especially the outside edges need to match!
Here is a difference between hand sewing and machine sewing!
For hand sewing you start sewing the pieces together in small amounts, so the first two and add more on the go (glue and sew). After making rows of 4 you align the rows and sew them together in pairs, which you join later. For machine sewing you need to glue the whole top together first and sew, after removing the cardboard templates. You can even decide to add the border and glue the top on it too before starting to sew. I always iron the fabrics firmly while the cardboard is still inside, so the shape won’t get wonky after removal.
Now I will explain the next steps separate for hand and machine sewing, starting with the hand style.

Step 5 hand sewing applecores:
This is a method that appliqués the pieces on top of each other. No difficult sewing!


I use a ladder stitch to join the pieces. Well that is what I call this stitch myself, due to the way it shows:


Don’t put the needle through the cardboard, but just take a little bit of fabric up that you can feel on the edge. When you are half way and to the end, pull the thread so the whole section closes nicely! Repeat this step to make 4 rows of 4 pieces. Leave the cardboard in place till the whole top is assembled.
It is a not visible stitch after you’re done:


Step 6 hand sewing:
Align the different rows of applecores and glue them in place. Again don’t glue the whole section at once! I just take two rows at the time. You glue them like you did with just 2 pieces. Make sure the intersections are well joining! Sometimes you have to take the pieces of and do it again to make sure the whole row fits nicely. Don’t worry if in this step the row stands out and bents (see picture). When the cardboard is removed this
will go away

. clip_image034clip_image036

Sew the rows together like you did with the single pieces. I always make an extra X at the crosshairs to prevent shifting.
Step 5 machine sewing


When you use non removable glue: Take out the cardboard template and add small drops of glue on the bulb shaped seam allowances. Glue two pieces together as shown in the picture. Pic 3 shows the result on the frontside of the fabric. Glue them into rows. With sewline glue you don’t need to remove the templates.


For machine sewing you need to glue the whole top together first and sew after. I always iron the fabrics firmly while the cardboard is still inside, so the shape won’t get wonky after. You can add a little starch to the fabrics, before cutting the shapes, to keep the shape better after ironing and removing the cardboard. If you use mylar templates to iron the shapes don’t use starch. They don’t go well together! You might have to glue a few pieces again, after removing the cardboard, with the gluepen. Don’t forget to glue the outside seamallowances too! So the hollow pieces that will be sewn at the border (the bulb shapes are glued already)

Step 6 machine sewing:
When the whole top is glued and the cardboard templates are removed, you can start sewing. Use any decorative stitch you like, but try out the stitch length before sewing on your top! You can’t use an ordinary blanket stitch to appliqué the rows on top of each other, as the seam allowances shift, so you won’t stitch all applecores if you sew at the edges. When you sew in the middle of the joining sections (so the edges of the applecores will be in the middle of your stitch) you can reach both sides and you can use any stitch you like.
TIP 01: Use tear away stabiliser (no iron on stabiliser!!!!), the same as you can use for machine embroidery, underneath your mini applecore top as it will prevent your stitches to disappear into the fabric. Give it a try with just 2 squares and see what happens! You can use some temporary adhesive to join the 2 pieces temporarely.
TIP 02: If you like to quilt your top with the embroidery stitches you can first glue the glued top to a FQ border fabric. In this case you can use the fabric behind your top as extra stabiliser. Just use some temp adhesive and add a thin batting and backing and have a blast decorating the whole top at once! Just at the binding and you’re done!
Step 7: adding the border
Cut a FQ for the border and center your applecore unit on top of it. I cut away the extra fabric and made a 1.25 wide border. I used a small amount of temporarely adhesive to keep the applecore unit in place. Hand stitch the unit to the border with the same, non visable, "ladder stitch".
Machine stitched: I also used some tear away stabiliser under the border fabric, as you will stitch into it and the stitches can get tight without the stabiliser. I used an ordinary blanket stitch to sew the top to the border. Remove the stabiliser on the back and your top is finished! Optional is to add beads, yarn or anything else to embellish!
Just finish your quilt as you are used to! I suggest not to quilt the applecore unit. With handsewing it will show off more when the shapes are not quilted down and with the machine sewing it is decorated already heavely, so doesn’t need extra quilting. Just free motion machine quilt the border or hand quilt with some decorative small pattern.
Have a blast and I love to see your work!

And BIG THANKS to Madame Sam for doing all the hard work to keep up this blog and give us a place to share. Ye, no rest for her! But I am learning so much from all the great tutorial writers as many fellow quilters and wantobe's!!

Here’s the link to the pdf with the templates: Templates.pdf


  1. Marianna this is a great way to do this block! I will have to try it! I wonder how it would look using 2 sets of light/dark in complementary colors.
    Thank you for the lovely tutorial!

  2. Marianna, this is very cool! I like the look of the block, the style and wave.

    Thanks so much for the share! I've never done the whole glueing technique, I'm sure sometime in the future I will give it a try. :)


    Pinteresting this... ;)

  3. Heel goed gedaan! Mooie applecores.

  4. I love this applecorequilt! Always wanted to do one. This was (for me) a new way to do it! Thank you very much for sharing.
    Gun, Sweden

  5. Marianna thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial. I love the applecore, even have the ruler just never worked with it. But this is just big enough to put in a certain place I have in mind. I will post to your blog a pic when I have completed it...thanks so much

  6. Interesting technique, thank you for sharing.

  7. Good Morning Marianna...now this I can bite into..You made it looked easier than I thought..thank you for inspiring many of us..

  8. Mooie duidelijke uitleg. Daar hebben we wat aan.

  9. Thank you. You took some of the fear out of those curves. Not an easy thing to do at all.

  10. very interesting how you did this.

  11. Thanks for sharing..I have never done this technique before. I will definitely have to try it. It doesn't look all that hard now that you showed us. :)

  12. This is a new method for me but I think I can do it - thanks so much! blessings, marlene

  13. thanks for sharing those interesting techniques to make the apple core pattern. Really neat!

  14. Great idea to take the curved piecing out of the process! Just a note about gluing the seam allowances under and then needing to loosen the glue to take the cardboard out... you could just use a little liquid starch and iron the seam allowances over the template edge. It is a tried and true method for finished edge applique shapes that would work wonderfully here as well. I wish I would have thought of this method while piecing the fabric for my daughter's stocking a few years ago! It turned out great but I decided I was not interested in doing apple core anymore!

  15. I love that showed how to do this both by hand and by machine -- what a great tutorial this was! Thank you very much for sharing! :)

  16. Thank you for sharing. This looks easier than the old curved piecing.

  17. Great tutorial! I'm working on an applecore quilt right now and I so wish I had your tutorial when I started it! There's always next time though...

    Jennifer :)

  18. I have an apple core project ongoing....I might have to switch to your way for the rest of it! Great tutorial!

  19. Wow!! thanks SEW much for the tutorial!! You make it look VERY easy!

  20. This is on my to do list somewhere. I think I even have an acrylic template somewhere.

  21. Great post. Before I even knew what it was about your apple core statue image had me wanting to make a apple core quilt.

  22. Thanks for the tutorial. I think the apple core quilt just moved up a few notches on my "to do" list.

  23. You made apple core look easy .
    Thank you Marianna

  24. That showed how to do this both by hand and by machine, what a great tutorial this was! Thank you very much for sharing! I leaned a lot with less steps.

  25. Lovely tutorial! Still seems like a lot to tackle, but you made it make a lot more sense for me!

  26. Wow,It really wonderful notes.Thanx to share with us this beautiful notes.I really inspire by this blog.

  27. Great tutorial Marianna :) Ellyx


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