Easy Appliqué Quilting tips

Easy Appliqué 

Easy Appliqué quilting tips Since the arrival in the quilting market of fusible webbing, quilters have yet another fast and easy alternative to traditional appliqué methods. Fusible webbing is an adhesive that reacts to heat (by means of ironing it on fabric) and fuses two pieces of fabric together. The adhesive is laid on a paper backing (sometimes it is between two layers of paper). It is used not only for making appliquéd blocks for quilts, but also for decorating garments or household linen. To make this appliqué durable, a line of stitching needs to be added to the edge of the pieces fused, either by machine or by hand.

There are several brands of fusible webbing widely available for purchase in precut lengths or by the yard. And there areAnt Applique 2 also several types depending on the amount of adhesive on the paper, from lightweight to heavy. Heavy is useful for appliqué on garments that will be washed often, or for pieces that won’t be secured by stitching down. Thicker webbing is hard to stitch through by hand and it can gum up the sewing machine needle if stitching down by machine.

For appliqué blocks for quilts, it’s best to use the lighter weight fusible webbing because they are more pliable and easier to stitch through. Aside from the background fabric, fabric for the appliquéd pieces and an iron, as a precaution is good to have a teflon pressing sheet, to avoid getting adhesive on the iron’s sole-plate. Kitchen parchment paper is a good substitute if you don’t own a teflon sheet.

Make sure your fabrics are pre-washed. The webbing won’t adhere to fabric with starch or sizing. Do not use fabric softener either as it also hinders the adhesion.

To use fusible webbing, trace the shapes of the appliqué pattern onto the paper backing of the webbing by laying the paper side up on the appliqué master pattern. Rough cut around the drawn pieces using paper scissors. Place the rough-cut shapes on the wrong side of the fabric to be appliquéd on the background with the paper side up and the webbing side next to the fabric. Set your iron to the recommended temperature setting from the fusible manufacturer and press it (how long you need to press depends on the manufacturer as well). Let cool down, cut on the drawn pattern lines and remove the paper backing. The shapes are then ready to be placed on the background fabric and fused to it.

Because you are fusing the adhesive to the wrong sides of the fabric, the resulting block will be a mirror image of the original block. If this is a problem, trace the shapes onto the webbing from the backside of your pattern, using a lightbox.

For quilt blocks, if a more hand-made look is desired, a ‘frame’ of fusible webbing can be cut instead. Trace the pattern pieces on the webbing, rough cut on the outside of the drawn line, then cut one quarter inch inside the rough line, creating a narrow frame of fusible that will hold the fabric in place.

Once the pieces are fused to the background they need to be stitched down, otherwise they will fray with use or Easy Appliqué Quilting tipseventually fall off. There are several choices to stitch them. If stitching by machine, select a satin stitch or a blanket stitch. The machine satin stitch is basically a very close zigzag stitch. Adjust your machine to a low stitch length to make the satin stitch very close. Match the thread to the color of the appliquéd piece or use a clear monofilament thread for invisible stitches. If your machine has the option, you can also use a blanket stitch in either a matching thread color or a contrasting color, for a folk look to the appliqué block. In both cases, stitch slowly, pivoting at the corners, making sure you catch both the edges of the appliquéd piece and the background fabric.

If your sewing machine isn’t equipped with a zigzag or decorative stitches, a straight stitch very close to the appliquéd shapes’ edges can be used, but expect some fraying with use and laundering.

If you don’t have a sewing machine, the appliqué pieces can be stitched down using a blanket stitch. You will need six strand embroidery floss in a color to match the pieces of appliqué or a contrasting thread (use a contrasting thread if your blanket stitch is even and consistent, otherwise it’s best to stick to a matching color thread). Use two strands and start stitching left to right, poking the needle from back to front, about one eight to a quarter inch away from the appliqué piece’s edge. With your left thumb, hold the thread down and take a stitch one eight to a quarter inch away from the starting point. This second stitch goes in the background fabric and comes out right on the edge of the appliqué being sewn down, perpendicular to the edge. The needle tip comes over the thread you were holding with your thumb. Push the needle through and tug the thread slightly. Try to keep the stitches evenly spaced and of the same length. Stitch all around the pieces. When all secured, press the block from the wrong side on a fluffy surface, such as a folded tower to avoid flattening the embroidery stitches.

For more information on making a quilt click here!


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