Preparation

Choosing Fabrics
1. Rearrange fabrics. In the original block I chose three values of pink, and substituted a single petal with an extra pink to give a more natural appearance.
Marking the lines
2. It's important to mark the lines from dot to dot after drawing around the whole template. This ensures accurate 1/4in seams

Petals

Fold petal in half
1. Right sides facing, fold each petal in half lengthways.
Stitch from dot to dot
2. Stitch along line from dot-to-dot only, re-inforce stitches at each end.
Stitched seam
3. Here you can see the stitched seam.
Neaten seam
4. Neaten seam
Turn inside out
5. Carefully turn inside out using pointed scissors or stitch ripper.
Nice neat point
6. Voila - a nice point. I used light thread merely for this sample.

Leaves

Use of Iron template
1. This is how to use IRON template, in case you wondered what and why! Place template on marked 'leaf' - lightly spray some starch around the curve. Have iron at the ready.
Curved Leaf seam
2. Press curve towards template and gently iron over the curve. It states cut 4 on template - not strictly necessary - except for heavy handed folk who soak it with starch or scorch it with iron!! You then have 3 replacements.
Press leaf
3. Remove template. Turn 'leaf' to RS and gently press. There you have it - a perfect leaf for a perfect block! Hmm...
 

Joining petals and leaves

Two petals
1. Stitch two petals together.
Adding the third petal
2. Adding the third petal.
Press seams
3. Press seams in one direction.
Colouring in!
4. What to do if the odd stitch shows - mask it/them with a similar coloured pencil crayon! Don't tell anyone I told you so!!!
Stitching from the other end
5. Some seams beg to be stitched in other direction. Always remember to anchor the stitches near the top.
Adding a leaf
6. Stop sewing when you reach top of a petal and anchor the sts by going backwards and forwards for a few stitches or reduce stitch length to very small.
Leaf seam
7. Note how the leaf seam naturally turns over..
Joining sets
8. Stitching one set to another..
Press Leaf seams inwards
9. Press Leaf seams inwards
Ready to join the two halves
10. Ready to join the two halves
Spray starch
11. The starchy duchess is at it again - this time using a pressing sheet from Aldi - 97p or £11.50 from a Quilt show! Lightly spray starch the reverse of the block - adjusting seams. Turn to RS and press lightly - under the sheet. Oooh!
Centred on background
12. Ah, here she is my beauty! Centred carefully on the pre-folded 13ins background square. Make adjustments at this stage before either pinning and tacking to background prior to adding the centre OR attach centre to motif before placing the complete dahlia onto its background. Clear as mud? Not sure what fabric to use for my own centre circle. Will, as the Yanks say - "Audition" my stash!

Applique the Dahlia

Dahlia centre
1. Finally settled for simple brown centre that I can perhaps embellish later with beads.
Embellished centre
2. Attached blue butterflies and used gold thread and blue french knots to embellish the centre. Thought the tiny bits of blue would pick up the blue from the butterflies.
Blind hem stitch
3. Used smoky (grey) invisible thread on top and fine 60 weight thread in bobbin. Set machine on blind hemstitch - #7 on my Bernina - narrow width (#1) and short stitch length (approx 1.5). Set needle to far right so the little 'jag' would catch the fold and the tiny running sts would remain on the background. Very quick and easy when you know how - and have practised the technique.
Almost complete dahlia
4. Dahlia and butterflies have been fused to the background, ready for finishing touches.
Back of the block
5. Reverse side of the block. Need to cut away the centre around the block to within 1/4" of your stitches to avoid bulk and make it easier to quilt.
Cutting away
6. DO BE CAREFUL when first inserting point of small, sharp scissors. Do not want to cut into the motif - or else!!!! Cut to within 1/4" of stitching - on INSIDE of motif (yes, has been known for a quilter or two to end up cutting around the outside of a motif.)
Be careful!
7. Careful does it!
Cutting away
8. All will soon be revealed
The last bit
9. The last bit!
Stabilising the butterflies
10. Place a square of stabiliser such as stitch and tear behind the butterfly if you plan to machine embroider around it.
Bring threads up
11. Always bring the bobbin thread to the surface of your work to prevent knots and tangles underneath.
Stitching the antennae
12. I used a #80 Topstitch needle (sometimes #90 depending on thread) for machine embroidery and tiny zig-zag stitches with blue/black Madeira metallic thread.
Butterfly trails
13. I marked the trails with faint pencil lines. Used 2 different (#30 weight) green machine embroidery threads on the top with Bobbinfil in bobbin. Inserted a Topstitch needle (has large hole which takes thicker threads) and proceeded to straight stitch with a long stitch from antennae to antennae, and back. Drew loose threads to back of work and tied them.
Finished Block
14. Finished Autumn Dahlia in all her glory. I'm pleased with it and hope you will be pleased with your own versions.
Finished Block
15. Close up of finished block.