I created templates for the leaves, flowers, and flower centers by first tracing the shapes on to the paper side of standard kitchen freezer paper. Then I layered two more sheets of freezer paper under the one with the tracings (shiny side down on each layer) and ironed them together. This makes for a pretty thick template that you can re-use several times. After the freezer paper had cooled, I cut out the shapes.
Ironing the shiny side of the freezer paper template to the wrong side of my applique fabric makes the template stick to the fabric well enough that you can cut around the shape with scissors, leaving a 1/4" to 3/8" turn under allowance. (I skipped the photo for this step. Oops!)
Using an inexpensive craft paintbrush, I brushed a small amount of liquid starch to the turn under allowance of the leaf, and then folded the fabric to the back of the template (paper side) using the mini-iron to press it into place.
Continue starching and pressing all the way around the leaf, let it cool, then slip the paper template out and do it all over again. 23 times!
I still need to trim those little dog-ears off of each leaf, but then they are ready to be appliqued! I tried prepping a couple of the flowers using the same method, but I'm not very happy with the way they turned out, so I'll probably use the tried-and-true needle-turn method on those.
The stems are strips that were cut on-grain and sewn wrong-sides-together with the seam centered down the back and pressed open. Sometimes you need to cut strips for stem appliques on the bias so they'll curve easily while appliqueing them, but these stems are going to remain straight, so on-grain cutting works just fine here.
And now I've got a hand-sewing project to work on while watching Downton Abbey on Sundays and Parenthood on Thursdays!
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