Making the letters for my Sea-Fever quilt took a lot of tracing and cutting. I began by tracing the letters onto two-sided fusible interfacing. I cut them out, laid them on the wrong side of my fabric, and ironed away. Then I cut them out again. By the end I had letter-shaped “stickers” that I could iron on to my background fabric.
I experimented with ironing the interfacing intact onto the fabric and just tracing and cutting once, but I didn’t feel I was able to see the outlines to trace well enough through the double layers.
Once I had my letters—including a small second batch of letters I’d missed the first time around—it was time to arrange them. I laid the wholecloth quilt top out on the bed and evened it up on the sides. Then I just threw the letters down in lines and adjusted until I had a “page” that seemed to work. I used a printed page as my guide, but the letters are slightly closer together on the quilt than they are in print.
I marked chalk lines on the fabric to show where the lines begin and end and made sure they were really parallel to each other and not wandering up and down. Then I dragged the whole kit over to press on the letters.
The interfacing kept the letters on (mostly) through the process of sewing them down. I chose raw-edge applique, putting a running stitch around the edge of each letter. I found I couldn’t do this while watching movies: I needed good light and reasonable concentration to keep the stitches even. So I enjoyed a few cozy afternoons, needle in hand, with the windows open to spring air and music playing.
Once that was all done, I had my first quilt top!