Hi lovelies, from time to time I’ll upload some hints and tips to the blog to help make your sewing experience easier. I’m not set up for videos as yet, so they will be in photo/text format for the time being. You’ll also be able to find them under ‘Hints & Tips’ in the menu.
The following is a quick tutorial on fusible applique and how to tackle the see-through fabric problems that sometimes occur. I use a low-cost lightbox when I’m working and I also use an applique mat to put my more complex applique shapes together before fusing them to the background fabric. Please message me if I’ve left anything out. You don’t have to follow all of these steps to make a great applique block. This is my method. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Fusible Applique & Solving Fabric Transparency
1. Use a pencil to trace the required appliqué shapes onto the paper side of the fusible webbing—leave approx. 1/2in between each shape. When you have finished tracing, roughly cut out the individual shapes 1/4in outside the traced lines. I’ve traced (2) face shapes to help solve the fabric transparency issues that happen with some fabrics.
2. Fuse the appliqué shapes to the wrong side of the fabrics you have chosen for the project following the manufacturer’s instructions. Cut the shapes out carefully on the lines when cool to the touch. Remove the backing paper from the appliqué shapes as you need them.
3. Use a lightbox or sunny window to help trace the features on the appliqué shapes before you fuse them to the background block. In this instance, place the top face shape over the pattern template and trace the facial features onto the shape using a sharp pencil or erasable pen. Not only have I traced the mouth for stitching, I’ve marked where the eyes are to be sewn, and where the nose will be fused.
4. I like to take the time to roughly trace the whole template in reverse onto a large sheet of paper before I begin – you can do this by using a lightbox or sunny window to trace the applique shapes straight from the pattern onto a large sheet of paper to make a whole shape. This is optional and only necessary when the shape is larger than the printable piece of paper in the pattern. I then lay out the pieces on top of the drawing so I can get the order of the shapes right before I starting fusing. Even the most experienced quilter will mess up the order of the pieces from time to time.
5. Place the template on the ironing board, then place an applique mat or Teflon sheet on top (make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t overheat the pieces). Start fusing the applique pieces to the applique mat, overlapping them as you go.
6. This is where I double applique the face (or any see-through piece of fabric that’s bothering me). I traced and cut (2) face shapes to begin. Fuse the first face shape in place, then carefully fuse the second face shape on top. Always use lightweight fusible webbing when you are using this technique. Thermoweb has a great Featherlite HeatnBond product that’s perfect for this!
7. Once the face is fused, continue fusing the remaining shapes to the applique mat. When it’s cool to the touch – and this is important – peel the whole shape away from the mat. If you don’t wait for the piece to be cool you can lose glue, stretch the shapes, or burn your fingers (me every time).
8. Now your shape is complete you can fuse it to the background fabric and stitch around the shapes using your favourite method.