That's One Way To Do It: Hawaiian Applique Tutorial - Part One: The Design!

Hello creative people! While working on my first Hawaiian applique project I got a lot of questions about where I got the pattern and how I had started the project. The answer? I designed it myself and came up with my own way of implementing my design.

I couldn't find a tutorial on line and I didn't have time to order any books or patterns online so I resorted to my favorite technique: try things until something works. Besides, everything I've read about Hawaiian applique says that you should use the your own designs because they come from your heart. Anything else wouldn't be true to you. My methods probably wasn't how you are "supposed" to do it but I've never been for doing things the "right way" anyways. And it turned out cool so why should I question my methods? Anyways, I though it might be fun to share so here goes!

Part One: The Design

         I used a 14"x17" Mix Media art pad and a chunk of butcher paper. The type of paper doesn't really matter as long as you can trace the design through it. Tracing paper would be perfect... I just didn't have any. Wax paper would also probably work.
-Fine tip sharpie

Step 1:

Draw a square and bisect it with a diagonal line. The size of the square should be about a quarter of the size of your finished applique design. For this tutorial I drew an 8.5" square which will create a 17" finished design. This will allow me to use fat quarters or half yard cuts for my applique fabric.

Step 2:

Draw your design on one half of the square. I like to draw in pencil then trace in pen.

You can create larger designs by dividing the design into chunks. Just make sure that you know where the chunks are supposed to connect.

Here's a shot of the design I created for my first project.
Here's the border.
Step 3 (Optional):

Trace your finished half of the design onto a new sheet of paper.  I like to keep copies of my designs just in case something happens during the process. Originally I had planned to cut out the design and trace the cut out onto the fabric. Needless to say it was more difficult than I thought it would be. If I had cut out my original design than I would have needed to recreate it and that would have been lame. So I trace. Also the mix media paper is too thick to trace through...

Step 4:

Fold the paper along the diagonal dividing line. Easy Peasy.

Step 5:

Trace the design from the back onto the blank side of the square. The butcher paper is thin enough that it makes this is an easy process.

It's much easier to see the lines through the paper in person...

Ta-da! You now have a totally original applique design from the heart. Stay tuned to for the next installment of "That's One Way To Do It: Hawaiian Applique Tutorial" in which we find out how to transfer your design and put it all together!


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