I have had so many people ask me what the vinyl is for so I decided to explain the set up in a little more detail.

I print out a full size of my pattern. I used to go to a drafting store — but I found that my local store was unreliable and began to charge me for all of their mistakes. Then I started printing it off my computer and taping the pieces together. I take the rough draft in Photoshop, flip it so that I get a mirror image of the piece, and then print it out. (I’m moving my process to CorelDraw since it does this part so much better — but I’m still in the learning mode at the moment.) This gives me what I need for tracing onto WonderUnder — which is my current fusible of choice.

Once it is all taped together, I turn it over and trace the back — which is really the front since what I printed out is the mirror image. I lay vinyl on top of this and, using a black permanent marker, trace the design onto the vinyl. I try to buy vinyl that is a medium weight — not too thick, not too thin.

Then I take white muslin for my base and sew the vinyl to the front of it using a teflon foot. If you use a metal foot, it will stick to the vinyl. When I first tried this method, I just pinned the muslin to my design wall and then pinned the vinyl on top — but as you work along the top edge, you have to flip the vinyl over and it gets out of alignment with the muslin.

At this point, I have the vinyl sewn to the muslin on my design wall.

initial design

I then take my printed pattern (on the side I printed out), trace WonderUnder pieces from it, fuse to fabric, cut along the lines (leaving overlap in some places), and place fused pieces between the vinyl and onto the muslin, ironing as I go. In this piece, there are a few areas that are paper pieced and then fused as a group onto the muslin.

The vinyl is a placement tool. It tells me where to place each piece. There is a point, however, with the portraits that I take off the vinyl, study the original photograph, and make adjustments off the pattern. It is my piece, and I’m allowed to change things if I want to. I changed a branch on the tree, but mistakes can always become design opportunities.