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TUTORIAL - Fusible Applique


Today we are going to look at FUSIBLE applique.

I will be using one of the blocks from this booklet



Assemble the necessary tools - the pattern, a fusible product (I like to use LITE Steam a Seam), a pencil, nice sharp applique scissors (the yellow handled ones), paper scissors and an applique or teflon ironing sheet

This is the block I choose
Here is the pattern from the booklet (I have just turned it on its side so you can see what I am going to explain next). Notice that the orientation of the line drawing is the same as the finished block. The toe is pointing to the right. This means that the book has provided the PLACEMENT diagram, NOT the TRACING diagram. 



In order to have the finished block appear in the same orientation as the original pattern we must work with the diagram in REVERSE. Now there are times when the orientation doesn't matter, but if you follow these instructions - you will also have a placement diagram which helps to reassemble the block.


There are several ways to work in reverse - you could photocopy the page as is and tape it on a window or a light box with the pattern FACE DOWN. Then you would trace your image - it will be in reverse to the original placement diagram. If you choose to just use the book on a light table or window - you are trying to decipher the lines from the other side of the page since there is a pattern on both sides of most applique pages.

Alternatively you can scan or photocopy the image in reverse (if you have the capability on your all-in-one or  Photoshop) and then print it out. Then trace from the RIGHT side of the pattern

In this picture you can see the orientation of the stocking is now the reverse of the original pattern. 


Let's talk a minute about fusibles. The old products are THICK and make the final project STIFF and CRINKLY. You do NOT want to use those older products with this method. There are other methods for that. One of my favourite products is Lite Steam a Seam, although there are many others that work just as well.

Now I could go into great detail on these products, but if you want to know more about them - check out this web site.


Steam a Seam explained by the manufacturer



LITE Steam a seam - the green package is tacky on ONE side and comes with only ONE parchment paper attached. The blue package is tacky on TWO sides and comes with TWO pieces of parchment paper attached to either side of the sheet of glue. 
This is a picture of Lite Steam a Seam in the BLUE package. The top part is the sheet of glue attached to  with the parchment attached to the backside which you cannot see. The bottom part of the picture is the parchment paper that protects this side of the steam a seam. 

 Now where would you use one over the other?????   If your design is simple like the cupcake below - then you can use the green product which is NOT tacky to the touch. If the design is more complex, then I would use the blue product which is tacky to the touch. This allows me to finger press my shapes in place, but they are not PERMANENT until I iron them.


Simple applique shape
You will also need fabric for your applique - great way to use up those scraps (which are sorted by colour - OF COURSE)


Trace the designs onto the parchment paper. If you are using the BLUE product with  parchment on both sides of the glue sheet - then trace on the sheet of parchment that the glue is adhered to. One sheet of parchment will want to fall off - DO NOT trace on that side. Try to group pieces together that will go on the same piece of fabric - then you can cut them out as a group. And label the pieces if it is not clear what they are. 

Next ROUGHLY cut out around your shape

Remove that LOOSE piece of parchment if using the BLUE product

Press to the WRONG side of your applique fabric

Roughly cut out the shape

And using your SHARP applique scissors you can AT LAST cut on the TRACED line.   If you do not follow this step and cut out your fusible on the traced line and then iron it to the background - you are doing fussy cutting on the line TWICE and your cutting will never be the same - thus ending up with frayed edges. 

Here I have cut out TWO pieces and will treat them as one until I cut them out. 

Fused as a group to the wrong side of the applique fabric

I can also fussy cut my applique pieces. I can still see through the  fabric design from the wrong side. I now just place my shape where it needs to go and fuse it down. 

Once the pieces are all prepared, this becomes a great take away project. 


Now we are going to assemble all the pieces. If you have a complicated design, you will want to use the PLACEMENT guide that is in the book. If you did NOT use a reversed image to trace from, you will not be able to use the placement guide and the image will be the reverse of your pieces.  Above you can see the original placement picture AND a teflon or applique pressing sheet. You can iron on it (no steam), your pieces will stick together. You can do this several times and the glue does NOT disappear. 

Lay the teflon sheet OVER the placement diagram.

Here I have used it to place the items on the stocking. Now this wasn`t that necessary since once I placed the stocking down - I can`t see where the heel and toe go, but you get the idea. It also protects the ironing board as the backing has been removed from the stocking and if I did NOT iron it on the teflon sheet - it would stick to the pattern or the ironing board cover. Yes - I moved the stocking so you could see it is one piece. 

Now I put the stocking back in place over the pattern and placed the head and other bits on. 

This pattern has a slight flaw - as you can see the background showing through where the arrows are

Make sure you cut your background fabric slightly larger than the unfinished size. I am going to fix the `hole`by taking a small piece of the same fabric as the kitten and I stuck in under the applique shape BEFORE I fuse it down.

Why would I use a teflon ironing sheet???   If the design is complex, the teflon ironing sheet will allow me to prepare the shape or parts of the shape so when I want to applique it down - I will have to deal with fewer pieces which is helpful. I won't have so many pieces to move around if I need to preposition the applique before I fuse it down. 

See that little piece of kitten fabric concealed the hole

Before you fuse down - you may want to trim up any edges that aren't as smooth as you would like them to be. 

If you want to make dimension fusible applique pieces - take a piece of steam a seam and iron it to the wrong side of a piece of fabric

Remove the parchment paper - there is fusible in the outlined box

Then using the same fabric of a different fabric - fuse it on top. Now you have a double sided piece of fabric (two layers)

Use freezer paper as a template and trace the shapes onto your double sided fabric. Then cut out and  use as an embellishement



There is a LOT more I could say about fusibles, but hopefully that gives you the basic idea of how to do fusible applique.




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