Thursday, September 26, 2019

Fusible Applique Tutorial

Some of my quilt designs are made using fusible webbing.
It's great when you want to do detailed pictures, with elements that are too small, or you prefer a quicker way to applique than by hand.

Blanket Stitches added as quilting.

I mostly finish off these designs by adding a blanket stitch with embroidery floss around the edges, as my quilting, so I save that part until then.
I never tire of doing the blanket stitch, and the results are always so pleasing!

You can also just leave the edges of the fused applique raw or add free-motion stitching in black - don't you love how these look?
And of course some kind of other stitching by machine is also an option.

I recently ran out of my favourite brand of fusible webbing - Lite Steam-A-Seam 2.

The box on the right is the older one - the one on the left is my new box!
Around the time I was contacting companies to be part of the Great Grand Prize of the 2019 Online Quilters Meet & Greet, I was in touch with the lovely people from The Warm Company - who are generously giving a great big king size batting as their part of the prize!
[Warm & Natural happens to be my favourite cotton batting!]

I mentioned that I had just run out of Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and was about to purchase another.
They so kindly offered to send me a box - so then, as a big Thank You, told them I'd write a post about fusible applique and the step by step process.
And share the lovely results I always get, when I use Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 - 
It has 'sew' many advantages!

What's new to me was the grid lines they've added.
I'm enjoying easily being able to cut a piece off the roll, using the grid - to get just the right sized piece that I need.

It comes with great step by step instructions, with pictures...

Plus a more detailed written version on the back of the label.

What makes Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 different than any other fusible web is it has the tacky coating on both sides of the web, allowing you to temporarily stick it to the applique material and then temporarily adhere the applique to the quilt block.
It stays in place and is repositionable until you press it with an iron.

You don't fuse all the layers permanently until the final step.
This is wonderful for allowing you to 'undo' any part you aren't happy with.
Plus the bonus I love is it also allows you to pull off the webbing from any extra fabric you didn't use, to use another time.

Here's the basic step by step in using Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible web for applique.

~> Pre-wash your fabric.
~> Set the iron temperature for the fabric you're using.

~> For quilt blocks, steam is required for the final fusing, to prevent gumming your needle when stitching.
Tip: I keep a separate cheap iron for this process, as I don't like to use steam in my regular iron, to keep it working longer.

~>Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 is sandwiched between 2 paper liners. Keep the layers together to trace your templates.

1. Place the Lite Steam-A-Seam 2, grid side up, on the pattern template and trace each design, including all the markings needed.
Trace along the outer edge of the template line.
I like to use a mechanical pencil for this.

If you make a big mistake, the paper makes it easily erasable.
Note: The patterns are a mirror image of the block design.
Tip: A window or light box may help.

I like to fill in the gaps with the smaller design pieces.

2. Using paper scissors, rough cut around the shape about 1/4" beyond the traced lines.
I save unused chunks to use another time.

3. Remove the plain paper liner (without the tracing lines).
Tip: Fold a corner towards the plain side to get it started.
Stick & finger press the Lite Steam-A-Seam shapes to the wrong side of the applique fabrics.

Tip when using white fabric: Add a second layer of plain white fabric to the back of the applique fabric, before cutting out the shape.

4. Using sharp fabric scissors, cut out the shapes along the traced lines.
Clip any loosened threads, to 'clean up' the edges.

5. Fold the background block fabric in half (vertically and horizontally) and finger press the folds
This marks the centre of the block.

6. After removing the paper backing, position the shapes where required, on the background block.
Use the pattern picture as a guide.

Tip: Tweezers may help with the placement of smaller shapes.

7. Press for 30+ seconds when using cotton fabric, cotton iron setting and steam.
Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 can take the heat.
Let the applique cool and test the edges.
Re-fuse them if necessary.
Fusing again from the wrong side of your block works well, especially with multiple layered appliques.

The Ambulance block is the latest in my If I Drive... children's quilt with companion book series.

Happy Stitching!

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