Does any one recall Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room? I do! It was quite simply a most magical experience and is still a Disney classic to this day. Located in Adventureland, it debuted in 1963, and entertains its guests with a colorful cast of animated talking toucans, birds, tropical flowers, tiki drummers and best of all, talking tiki totem poles – all singing a variety of catchy Polynesian tunes. It is just fabulous!
So when we moved back to Southern California and decided to finally settle in Palm Springs, little did we know that we were moving into a mecca of what might be termed upscale, but rather touristy Polynesian playlands. Around every corner in Palm Springs and the surrounding communities, you’ll find tiki themed hotels and cocktail lounges, serving exotic rum-laced cocktails from their own enchanted tiki rooms adorned with of course, Tiki statues.
Within a few months of moving here, I was quickly becoming Tiki obsessed. One morning to Carl’s chagrin, we even ventured out in triple digit temps to take photos of our Cosmos quilt draped over a favorite Tiki. This guy greets visitors daily at the entrance to the famed Club Trinidad and Purple Room (where Frank, Dean and Sammy used to hang out in the 60’s). I just love the way the Tiki and the quilt become one piece – elevating both to new level of art.
So it was only a matter of time that I ‘needed’ to design a ModTiki – and hey, why not? I started sketching this guy out about 12 months ago but didn’t really make him a reality until a few weeks ago when I made the samples and wrote the pattern.
Warning — These ModTikis are fun and can be quite addictive….I had a great time looking through scraps of batiks and fabrics testing out which fabric prints might look great as the tiki body – like these two made from Island Batiks or the Kaffe Fassett Artisan Collection…
….or this one made with Banyan Batiks, which would reflect more of traditional hand carved look to the ModTiki…
As always, my preferred method of applique stitching the shapes was on on my trusty Bernina 750QE sewing machine, using Stitch #2 and an open toe applique foot (#20 for Bernina lovers) using Aurifil 50 wt thread in the top and in the bobbin. My preferred zigzag setting is stitch length 0.5 and stitch width 3.0 – for me, this creates a nice tight stitch that resembles a satin stitch without being too tight, and nicely outlines the shapes without overwhelming them.
What’s terrific too is that the shapes on the ModTiki provide many opportunities where you can “stitch into and out of the points” – this is a fabulous look and really adds a “high end” look to your applique stitching.
When you approach the point of an applique shape, as you are stitching, reduce your stitch width so the zigzag stitch becomes smaller and smaller – this is stitching ‘into the point’, if you will – then after turning the corner, enlarge your stitch width to stitch ‘out of the point’. It’s a little like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time and takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, it really does create a fabulous touch to your appliqués.
The ModTiki pattern includes both the small wallhanging size – which is fat quarter friendly and measures 11″ x 22 (or 16″x 22″ when adding the optional flower appliqués), but also the Kon Tiki larger size – measuring 44″ x 66″ – 12 half yards is all you need for this bigger version and that includes the background fabric and all the fabrics for the 12 Tikis.
I’m finding that almost any fabric can make a great Tiki! Solids, batiks, florals, geometrics, you name it!
So are you feeling a little ModTiki? Then go ahead and give our happy little guy a try! It’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and makes an excellent gift for that guy in your life! You can purchase the pattern on our website here.
Mahalo and Aloha! Until your next colour fix~
Linda & Carl