Thursday, January 27, 2011


Sometimes I do things so often and so automatically that I forget others might not have tried something.  Do you applique?  I've gotten some really nice compliments on my quilts and I thank you!  One day I received a comment about my "needle-turn applique" and thought ... oh dear ... I need to be very clear on this ... I do NOT do needle-turn applique.

In fact - I don't do a whole lot of hand sewing if I can help it ... not bindings and certainly not applique.  I do a little embroidery and some wool stuff by hand but let me state - loud and clear - I'M A FUSIBLE GIRL!

And here's how I do it...

Trace out the shapes onto fusible web.  Which one do I use?  Like with most things - I don't have a whole lot of "product loyalty."  Today, I used Steam-A-Seam 2 because I had some (FREE from a quilt show vendor).  Usually I use Heat-'n-Bond Lite.  I like them both, they're a little different but both do the job.

Then I rough cut the shapes, leaving a teeny bit of fusible around the edges.  I also cut out the centers of the pieces.  This is REALLY important - it keeps your applique softer when the quilt is finished.  Fusible can leave the fabric stiff ... not good in a quilt.  I arrange the fusible paper on fabric, snuggling them in to get the most out of the fabric.

After arranging the pieces and ironing them down (follow the directions on your fusible product), I stitch on my machine using a blanket stitch and thread that matches the shape (not the background).  On my Bernina 180, I use stitch #329.  If you don't have decorative stitches, you can use a some zigzag.

OOPS ... photos out of order.  Before stitching, I use a little spray starch ... which one? ... whatever one I grab first.  These were both given to me as gifts from 2 different quilting friends.  Again ... not much product loyalty here.  Each is a bit different and each does the job.  One disclaimer - when I do the "starch and press" applique, I really do prefer the Niagara ... it's stiffer.

Top border is finished.  Bottom border is all ready to be stitched. And ... I've decided to make this quilt bigger than the pattern called for so I'm adding appliqued side borders - background is ready.

There are lots of books, blogs and probably You-Tube videos out there on machine applique.  I've been putting a lot more applique in my pieced quilts lately and loving it.

Please don't tell you that you're getting tired of seeing the "quilt in progress."  I'm not done sewing or blogging it and it's coming out GREAT!!


Stray Stitches said...

Your post couldn't have come at a better time. I just started my first applique project this morning. I used some Heat-'n-Bond Lite that is probably between 2 or 3 years old. I had trouble getting some of it stick (following manufacturers instructions). Is it possible that the Heat-'n-Bond Lite is too old to use? It has bubbled under one piece. Maybe I should have cut out the centers as you did.

Donna Turner said...

You are so far ahead of me that I will never catch up. But I just finished quilting a QOV for someone and can now sew obsessively on my Lucinda Brodie again. Yours is gorgeous, by the way!!!

Sharon said...

Your quilt continues to inspire's a beauty! Wish I could find the Niagra spray starch, have been looking for it at the grocery store. Where did you find it?

Stitched With Prayer said...

You are a woman after my own heart. I do my bindings on the machine also and I tried needle turn but my fingers just can't do those tricks anymore as health issues have affected the feeling in my hands. I can do simple embroidery stitches...nothing like the intricate work I did for years but still very gratifying. I LOVE applique and this is the only way I will ever be able to do it. I have on done one small applique table topper and I had more fun than I would ever have believed watching it come together like a puzzle. I can't wait to do more. Thanks for the tips on which fusible work best AND for pointing out that the excess needs to be cut away. I didn't do that on the table topper but you can bet I will from now on. Your quilt is absolutely amazing...I hope to do something as lovely this year, at least get started on one. Big thanks and a Big Hug to go with it...