Nascar is back!

I was glad to see that, and though I’m usually on the “Fast Track” myself, in this case I was the last to finish. My new quilt got done on Sunday, and today (Monday), I just finished up the pattern. I’ve been racing all weekend.

This cute new twin-sized bed quilt is sure to please a Nascar enthusiast or car lover of any age. Even my husband got a little excited to see the 3D cars developing and “helped” me place them on the quilt. Clearly the black/white checks add to the Nascar theme. They’re fast, too, because they are 4 1/2″, which sew up in a jiffy. I found black/white checked fabric for the binding, too, so I made it 1″ wide to accommodate the checks, but it doesn’t have to be that wide. Also, I included instructions to applique the cars for anyone who doesn’t want to turn them and all the tires. Your choice, as always.

On sale for $3.50 until the end of May–grab it before the price goes up! Click here for more photos and info.

“Fast Track” cc2312 by LJ Christensen

I personally always prefer the 3D touches, but I know quilters who love to hand-applique or machine-applique. There are different methods to attach elements.

The most traditional is the needle-turned hand applique. A precise, fine-tuned seamstress can wield a needle to delicately coax the edge of a piece to turn under and stitch it with a nearly hidden stitch–MUCH to be admired, but slow.

I’ve heard of a method of using freezer paper as a template, pressing the fabric seam allowance around it. The freezer paper has a finish that is ever-so-slightly sticky, helping the allowance to stay in place and giving substance to the piece you’re working with. To remove the paper, you cut into the back of the main fabric and pull it from the appliqueed area.

Commonly today, a paper-backed fusible web like Wonder Under is used as a great tool. Iron it onto the back of the fabric. Leaving the paper in place, cut out the designs. For a wall hanging or things not to be heavily used or laundered, you can simply pull off the paper (use a pin to score it!) and iron the applique in place. There are even some heavy-duty fusibles now. However, it’s been my experience that they don’t get along well with dryers or harsh washing and may begin to peel. So I ALWAYS augment mine with satin-stitch.

Satin-stitch is just a really close-together zigzag. Lengthen the stitch and make sure it stitches a little past the edge of the piece to sufficiently cover the edge and any wayward strands. It takes a little effort to go around curves and sew without jiggling, but it’s a lot faster than hand applique.

“Fast Track” race car by LJ Christensen

Then there are my 3D embellishments. The cars here, for instance, are made with two complete pieces and a layer of cotton batting for some thickness. I turn them inside out though a slit cut in the back (which will be covered up), then whip the slit closed. To attach, I simply sewed around the windows right through the quilt and right through the middle of the separate tires (which are later covered with buttons). I suppose you could use Velcro to attach the cars to allow for more “play,” but they just might drive off and disappear. (My son would have parked them in a Lego garage…just saying.) However, suit yourself.

Your choice of application/applique is your own. Sew go create!

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