This week I want to share a very simple and basic tutorial on using fusible web to do appliqué. There are more advanced and paper-saving methods to use but I will cover those in another tute.
I love using fusible appliqué! It is fast, it is fun, and it is easy! There are a variety of fusible products on the market but my favorite is Heat ‘n Bond Lite.
You should be able to find this almost anywhere…in craft stores, at Joann’s, Walmart, and online. I love this stuff so much that I buy it on a bolt! Some people complain that this particular brand gums up their sewing machine but I have never had any issues with it. And I love that it has a real obvious paper side and glue side, so I never accidentally fuse my iron ;).
When you are making a quilt that requires you to do appliqué, they will generally include an already reversed image for you to trace onto your fusible web. It is important that you check this, because if that is not the case, your applique pieces will end up as a mirror image! ( this is not a huge deal, I often end up with reversed patterns..makes the quilt more uniquely yours 😉 ).
Most pattern designers are also kind enough to separate the pieces for you, but if not, you will just have to imagine some extra lines on the pieces. Don’t panic! I’m going to show you what I mean. As an example I am using my scarecrow design. I have the pattern ready but he is all in one piece. So I draw dotted lines to show where the pieces will overlap and I will trace THOSE complete shapes onto the paper side of my fusible web.
Okay, so you have your pattern, you grab a piece of fusible web, and with paper side up you trace each shape, leaving about 1/2 inch between your shapes:
Next, you cut out your shapes, still leaving a border of paper around them.
Now it’s time to choose what fabric you are going to use for your applique. Place your traced pattern on the back of your chosen fabric and fuse in place with a dry iron ( no steam). Follow the instructions on your fusible web, but on the Heat ‘n Bond lite it says to fuse for 2 seconds. Do the same for all your pattern pieces. Let them cool, and then cut them out~ this time ON the line. You now have all your needed pieces and are ready to fuse them to your background fabric.
Peel the paper backing off and place your pattern pieces on your background, making sure to layer the background pieces first and the foreground pieces last! ( If you need to,you can lay your background fabric over top of your pattern to put little registration marks to show you where the pieces should go!)
Now it’s time to fuse your fabric in place. You can fuse one piece at a time if that works better for you. Just make sure that your bottom-most pieces are, in fact, at the bottom!
With Heat ‘n Bond Lite you fuse each section for 8 seconds this time. If you find that a piece is not quite fused, go over it again ( you do NOT iron, you simply press down in each section for 8 seconds and lift up and go to the next section). You’ll notice that I did my entire scarecrow at once. I find that works just fine and that way I make sure not to mess up the order of pieces …
Once your pieces are fused, it is time to sew them down with the sewing machine. ( You could sew them by hand but fusible is pretty thick and you won’t have an easy time doing it by hand). Technically I don’t think you need to sew your pieces down, but sewing them down will keep them safe through years of handling, washing, and general wear and tear.
You can choose whatever stitch suits your fancy when sewing down your fabric. I generally use a blanket stitch, a zig zag, or a straight stitch, depending on what look I’m going for, but some people like to use a satin stitch too. Here is some of my appliquéd work that shows the three types of stitches I use most:
You will notice that I try and make the outside of my stitches land outside the fabric! When I use a straight stitch I run it just inside the fabric and make it almost like a drawn line. Sometimes I will go over a piece a few times to accentuate the lines.
In my table runner I decided on a blanket stitch. I will always try the size of the stitch out on a scrap piece of fabric, and will also change the size…smaller stitches on smaller pieces, bigger stitches on bigger pieces, but I don’t tend to use different types of stitching on the same project. However, you can choose to do what you like. It is your quilt after all!
You might like to use a piece of stabilizer ( there are different types available, from fusible to water soluble to tear-away. Buy them off the bolt at craft stores or here online) behind your work so the fabric doesn’t pucker. I use batting because I will appliquilt as I go! This is the time for using fun colored threads! I keep my bobbin color neutral but will use matching thread to my applique ( if I have some) on the top.
One hint I will give you on the stitching: Always stop with your needle in the down position before you pivot your work. This will keep your needle in the correct spot and as soon as you have turned your work you are ready to continue stitching. If your appliqué stitches aren’t quite perfect, no worries, they will improve the more you practice. Just don’t be afraid to stop and reposition your piece often so that you get nice, smooth stitches. And that is all there is to it! Pretty simple, right?
So now go play and have some fun with appliqué 🙂
And until next time~happy creating!