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How To Applique With Fusible Web
Applique is a technique that sews a shape on to a block or border of a quilt, or clothes or what have you. Traditional applique is done by hand and is where you turn the edges of your applique under about 1/8th of an inch with your needle and stitch it in place.
We're not going to do traditional here. I've done it, and I’m still working on a piece I started 3 years ago. It's time intensive, and if you have little ones, too hard to do!
There’s another technique that some quilters use. It is the freezer paper method. It is a good method to use for intermediate and advanced turn under applique.
The applique technique I'm going to focus on is using fusible web. This is usually called raw edge applique.
Fusible web is one of the most wonderful inventions known to modern quilters. There are lots of brands of fusible web you can use, and each quilter has his/her favorites. I personally like Pellon's fusible web. It's called Wonder Under. It is paper backed and once you get the technique of fusing it down, there is nothing you can't do! I like it because it doesn't gum up my sewing machine needles as other fusibles can.
There will be trial and error! The first time I used fusible web it took me almost a week to get the webbing to work the way I wanted and needed it to. First and foremost, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!! This will be your best friend in the whole process. Those instructions will help you discover what you need to adjust to get the product to work in its intended manner. Remember, trial and error is part of the learning process. Don’t be discouraged by a mistake! What you may consider a mistake is something that others may not even see, or if they do, they think it is part of the pattern.
The very first thing you want to do for applique is to wash your fabric! (Note: if you’re making a wall hanging, or something that’s not going to be washed, you don’t need to worry about washing your fabric first.) Fabrics can shrink, and their dyes can run. So, if the quilt you’re making has lots of white fabrics, wash the colored fabrics to be sure the colors won’t run when the whole thing is washed. Then the next thing to do is to iron your fabric. Using fusible web on wrinkled fabric is not a good idea if you are looking for a smooth and crisp look for your appliques. Also, make sure your iron is clean, and check the temperature. Make sure it’s at the right setting for the web you’re going to be using, because if it’s too hot, the glue of the fusible webbing will not stick.
How to use fusible web: This list is shown in more detail below.
- Choose your project
- Gather your supplies
- Trace your shapes
- Cut out the shapes
- Fuse to the fabric you’ve chosen
- Cut out the shape from the fabric you fused it to
- Ready the block the applique will be fused to (ie: sew it together)
- Fuse the applique to the block
- Stitch the applique to the block
- Finish the quilt top by repeating the process of applique
Step 1, 2, and 3:
Begin by choosing your project. I like to collect all the fabrics I’m going to be using in the project before I do too much. Once I have everything that I need, I get the fusible webbing, and trace the shapes I’m going to need.
Steps 4 and 5:
When that’s done, cut out the individual shapes. You can leave some of them in clusters for easier fusing.
Next, we fuse the webbing to the fabrics we have chosen to use.
Now to cut the shapes out.
What we do now is to get our blocks ready for the appliques. I sewed my blocks, then positioned the appliques where I wanted them. In this project, eyeballing it is fine. Some other projects will have you lay out your applique in a specific, and measured way. They may have you fold and iron your background block in half length wise, then width wise, giving you a grid to work with to position your applique.
Here’s my block:
This is paper backed fusible webbing. Next, peel off the paper. This can be a bit tricky, so I used my seam ripper to score the paper to help me get the paper off.
Time to fuse the applique to the block.
The next step is to sew the applique. I used a blanket stitch, and adjusted the width and length of the stitch to suit my needs using a scrap of fabric.
When sewing appliques, the most important part is to be patient. Take it easy, and go slowly, especially when it comes to curves! You can overshoot your applique and have wandering stitches where you don’t want them. If you make a mistake, just remember, take a deep breath, and keep going. Don’t give up! Applique is one of the most difficult aspects of quilting. Once you learn these easy methods, you can try your hand at the traditional methods.
Practice makes perfect, so keep practicing!
FYI: This pattern is called Birds and Bubble Gum. You can find it in Story Time; Picture Quilts To Stir A Child’s Imagination by Kim Gaddy.
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Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.
Same As: Appliqué
See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
The basic unit of a quilt top, usually square but can be rectangular or other shapes. Blocks can be pieced, appliqued or plain.
A strip of fabric or pieced strip of fabric joined to the edges of the inner quilt and used to frame it.
Various webs or interfacings which can be ironed onto a fabric for easier applique or to support the fabric.
- Quilt Top
The top layer of a quilt Sandwich.
- Raw Edge
An unfinished fabric edge of a piece of fabric or a quilt block. For applique, an edge which has not yet been turned under with stitching.