Monday, April 25, 2011

One Way to Make Fusible Applique

I love fusible raw edge applique. It's fast and easy to do. Don't get me wrong, I've done hand applique and I greatly admire those that take the time to hand applique. My quilts are not made to be show quilts. I make my quilts to be used, loved and worn out. The following is the way I do my appliques but I'm by no means an expert on  the subject.

Suggested Supplies

Iron and Ironing Board
Iron Off Hot Iron Cleaner -  This is my favorite hot iron cleaner that I use frequently while doing applique projects.Your iron will gunk quickly while doing fusible applique projects (see below).
Applique Pressing Sheet - This will protect your ironing board from gunk. The fuse web will not stick to it.
Steam A Seam Lite 2 - This is one of many fusible web products. It's a light fusible web that is easy to sew through and won't gunk your machine needle. This product comes in a variety of sizes. The packages of 9 x 12 inch sheets is great for giving it a try. It's also available by the yard and by the box.
Pre-washed Fabrics - If you're using Steam A Seam it's recommended that you use pre-washed fabrics. The product will stick better if you do. Whichever fusible you decide to use be sure it's a light one that will be easy to sew through.

Information About Ironing Appliques
Doing fusible applique will quickly gunk up your iron with fusible goo as well as pencil lead (see photo below). You will need to clean your iron frequently while working on your projects. My personal preference is Iron Off Hot Iron Cleaner.
You only need a small amount on a towel.
Amazing what comes off the iron.

10 Steps to Making an Applique Design

To follow along you will need:
8 x 8 inch piece of background fabric
scraps for 2 hearts
fusible web
paper and pencil
Step 1 - Draw your design as an outline drawing. Think of it as a coloring book but instead of crayons you're going to use fabric to color between the lines.

For this example we will use hearts so you can get the feel for sewing a straight edge as well as a curved edge.

Step 2 - Next you will trace your design in reverse onto the fusible web. For this step you can use a light box or window. I placed my drawing in reverse on the window Then traced it onto my Steam A Seam Lite 2. The letter "c" is just there to show the reverse. We won't be using it in the design.

Step 3 - Rough cut around the appliques to remove them from the Steam A Seam sheet. Don't cut on the lines yet.

Step 4 -  I trim around the inside of larger design pieces leaving about 3/8 of an inch. It's a personal preference but I like to remove the centers to keep the designs from getting to stiff when doing multiple layers. Keep the pieces you remove to trace smaller designs on (like the photo below). I store the little left over scraps in a Ziploc baggie.

Step 5 - Slowly peel the backing (side without the design on it) off.
This is what the fusible web looks like. Be careful to keep it with the design paper.
Step 6 - Iron all the wrinkles out of your fabric. Then place the appliques onto the wrong side of the fabrics. I like to give them a little hit with the iron at this point to make them stick.
Step 7 -Now cut out the applique designs on the lines.

Step 8 - Carefully peel off the remaining paper. This time be sure to keep the fusible web with the fabric.

Step 9 - Place the appliques onto the right side of you background fabric. The appliques can be repositioned until they are pressed with the iron. When you are happy with their position on the background fabric press them with the iron to permanently fuse them in place (follow package directions for the product you are using). As with all quilting, press straight up and down. Do not iron side to side or you may warp the block.

Step 10 - Stitch around the appliques (see stitching details below). Even though you are using a fusible web you will need to stitch the edges of your design in place to keep them from coming loose with multiple washings. After you finish stitching around the applique give it a good pressing to set the stitches.

Information About Stitches  

There are a number of ways that you can stitch the edges of your designs depending on your preference and how the quilt will be used.
(from left to right)
1. Satin Stitch - This is a zigzag stitch sewn with a length set close to 0. It's a solid looking outline. Great if you want a bold outline.
2. Zigzag stitch - A small zigzag stitch along the edge.
3. Straight Stitch - A straight stitch close to the edge. I would only use this on wall hangings or things that would not get washed. If sewn with matching thread it would almost "hide" from the eye.
4. Blanket Stitch - This stitch has 5 strikes (forward, reverse, forward, side, side). It's visually similar to using a zigzag stitch. It's my personal favorite. I think it has a hand made crafted look to it.

Important Stitching Technique

When sewing around the applique do not pull the fabric and try to "steer" around curves. This will cause the fabric to pull in and pucker. Instead stitch until the fabric begins to head into a curve. 

Stop with the needle down and pivot your fabric to bring it straight in front of the needle again. Do this as needed to get around a curve. This may need to be done every 2 or 3 stitches if you are on a small curve. But trust me, the results will be worth the effort.

Information About Thread

The color thread you choose all depends on your design idea. Matching the thread color and contrasting the thread color give two very different looks (see below).

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and maybe even learned something new.


Anonymous said...

Love this tutorial! May I link to it from my blog? I try to keep adding information for quilters on it.

Carrie Thomas said...

What a great, straight forward, layman"s terms, makes trying it a piece of cake tutorial. Thank you so much for this.

Trish Busby said...

Thanks, it has been some time since I have appliqued and your instructions helped jog my memory.

Pam said...

An easy to follow tutorial, with some great tips, on appliqué. Thanks for linking up @Threading My Way...

Pam said...

Hi Carol, I've featured your Raw Edge Applique today...

Aleta said...

thank you. it was very thorough and I appreciate it!

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Anonymous said...

Fixing to try my first applique project. This was very helpful.

Terry said...

Thank you for this tutorial! It is very, very helpful and gave me the confidence to try some appliques! I'm with you and prefer the blanket stitch - to me it looks neater.

Betty Barnard said...

Carol, this is such a great tutorial. I'm getting ready to try my hand at my first applique and this was very helpful!!! Thank you!!!