Sometimes it’s fun to step outside your comfort zone and try something new and this project will make you do just that! I usually use the Janome MC9450 to stitch fabric, but did you know that it does an amazing job when stitching on paper? Well, it does and I’m going to show you how!
The project we’re going to make uses dictionary paper as a background and includes appliqué, free motion quilting, and some optional embellishing. It’s a good way to use up scrap fabrics and bits of trim that you might have in your quilt studio. This was such a fun project to do with the help of the Janome MC9450.
To make this project, you’ll need:
- Pages from old books – I like to use dictionary pages – look for cast-off dictionaries or encyclopedias at your local library or used book store
- Fabric scraps in a variety of colours for appliqué pieces
- Glue stick
- Erasable pen/pencil or Frixion pen
- Thread for free motion quilting
- Janome MC9450 sewing machine, set up for free-motion quilting
- Colouring pencils, pastels or crayons
- Buttons, rick rack, lace or other embellishments
- Permanent glue if using embellishments
- Picture frame
Note: I did a sample first which is always a good idea when trying a new technique.
First, you’ll need a background so find your favourite dictionary page (what words would you like to see in your background?) and tear or cut it out.
Next, decide what type of design you want to create and cut out the appliqué shapes from your fabric scraps. I created a floral design for my project by cutting out a flower shape and some leaves. You don’t need to be too fussy with these – just have fun free cutting out the designs.
Arrange your appliqués on the dictionary paper and use the glue stick to hold them in place. I like to have my designs offset, rather than in the centre as I think it adds more interest.
You’ll be free motion quilting these appliqués but you might also want to add some additional quilting directly on the paper background. In my sample, I added some swirls and leaves. I used a Frixion pen to draw out these shapes first so I could use them as a guide when I stitched them with the Janome MC9450.
Tip: If you do use a Frixion pen to draw reference quilting lines, use an iron on low heat to remove the marks after you have finished quilting. Don’t try to erase them with the Frixion pen – it didn’t work out too well for me!
The next step is to set up your Janome MC9450 for free-motion quilting and choose a contrasting thread so you’ll be able to see it on the background and on the fabric appliqués.
Note: If you don’t know how to set up your Janome sewing machine for free-motion quilting, I have a video that shows you how to do that.
There are a variety of free-motion quilting feet that come with the Janome MC9450: I used the open toe darning foot (my favourite!) as I love the great visibility.
Once you’ve finished stitching down the appliqués, continue your free motion quilting on the reference lines that you drew on the paper. The secret to successful stitching on paper is to take it slow and make sure that your stitches aren’t too small – or you might end up with a torn background. This is where the speed control on the Janome MC9450 was a big help!
You might want to add a small strip of fabric to the background and free motion stitch an inspirational word or quote on it. This makes a nice touch, especially if you are giving this as a gift.
When you are satisfied with the stitching you’ve done, take your project out of the sewing machine.
Now it’s time to have some colouring fun! You can use your pastels or pencil crayons to add some colour to the background paper. I added some colour to the free motion quilted leaves in my project. You don’t have to add too much colour – as you can see from my first attempt! This is definitely a case where less is more.
I added a button to the flower centre with permanent glue. This is also the time when you could add additional embellishments, such as lace or rick rack. I think that this would make a nice border. You can use a glue stick to anchor these to the paper background.
When you’re happy with your design, you can put it in a picture frame to hang in your studio or give it as a gift.
Happy stitching from Kim Jamieson-Hirst, Janome Canada Artisan in Calgary, Alberta.