Most appliqué starts with cutting and preparing shapes to be placed on a background fabric for stitching. The technique used depends on the appliqué method.
Fused Applique is a quick and easy method of preparing applique as fusing secures each of your shapes to the background fabric completely. This means you do not have any loose edges, it is completely stuck in place. This works well for zigzag appliqué, satin stitch appliqué, blanket stitch appliqué and decorative stitch appliqué.
Have your background or base fabric ready. This will be the foundation for your project. You have the option of using a pieced background or a single solid fabric. Generally speaking the foundation fabric for your project should be at a minimum 1 inch larger than your completed project.
Your design will specify the requirements of your background fabric, double check this before starting.
Tip: If you like to pre-wash your fabrics, we recommend you pre-wash your background fabric also. This isn't a requirement for applique; however, the thought is that fusible will stick better to fabric once it has had some of the chemicals washed out of it. It's not something we do always, as the eagerness to begin a new project is too much to have to wait.
Get those applique shapes ready. When using fusible webbing it is important to remember that you are going to have to reverse each of your pieces of applique for your pattern. Whatever you trace onto the paper side of the fusible will be the mirror image of your shape. This is even more important when working with applique letters.
Tip: If you are just starting out try a symmetrical pattern. This will give you a good test as to how to use fusible without having to think too much about reversing each applique shape.
We provide you with the pattern mirrored but if you have a design that requires you to reverse your fabric shapes that easiest way to reverse the image is by tracing it from the back side, otherwise simply print or copy your design and select the mirror image option.
This is an important step. Check the placement of your pieces. Check which pieces go in front or behind one another and number/mark them accordingly. Your design should identify which pieces go where and you can number/mark piece of the pattern first before tracing. This will allow you to make allowances for overlapping and underlapping for each piece. Marking overlapping and underlapping with specific marks for each piece will allow you to identify them easily while putting your design together.
#1 numbered piece is the first applique piece you lay down, followed by 2,3,4 etc
Step 4: Using the Pattern MIRRORED PDF, trace each shape onto the paper side of the fusible.
Trace this with a pencil but be careful to leave a good amount of space between each shape.
Don't forget to number/ mark your underlapping pieces. It's a good idea to even draw a little additional seam around this underlap do you don't forget.
Carefully cut around each shape, not on the trace line but just outside of this.
Fuse (press with an iron) each of your shapes to the wrong side of your fabric. That is - the side of the fusible without the pattern drawn on it goes against the wrong side of the fabric).
Depending on the fusible you are using, check the instructions to confirm the length of time to press your pieces with your iron.
Generally, it will be a quick iron between 10-15 seconds. Too short and the glue will not activate and too long and the glue will deteriorate from your fusible.
Step 7: Cut each of your applique shapes. Depending on whether you're doing raw edge or underlapped shapes for your applique will depend on how you cut each piece.
Our patterns already come with underlaps allowed for in the pattern. If you are using a pattern that does not allow for underlaps you will have to adjust the pattern yourself.
Underlapped - leave a 1/4 inch of fabric around each piece. Raw Edge - cut each piece out on the traced line.
Either draw your pattern onto your background or use a pressing sheet for applique.
See our helpful “How to Applique” videos
It is often helpful to start with a centre point for your design, you can fold and press or fold and mark your background fabric with a centre point.
If you have drawn the layout on your fabric, with your design instructions at hand, remove the release paper from your applique shape and position this shape onto your background fabric and press.
If you are using a pressing sheet for applique
These pressing sheets are made out of a non-stick Teflon and they can prevent any stray fusible from sticking to your iron or ironing board.
They're great for more complicated applique that need to be built up or layered before being fused to a background fabric.
These sheets are clear or see-through, so you can place the pattern underneath it and line up the applique pieces on top of the pressing sheet and “glue” them together. This will then peel off of the sheet and be ready to press onto the project.
Let's Stitch. Some popular stitches for applique include Zig Zag, Blanket and Satin stitches.
See our helpful Video and Blog on Hand Embroidered Blanket Stitch - https://sewswpea.com/blogs/tutorials/hand-applique-blanket-stitch
See our helpful Video and Blog on Machine Blanket Stitch – https://sewswpea.com/blogs/tutorials/machine-blanket-stitch-around-applique
How to use your sewing machines decorative stitches with applique.mp4
Machine satin stitch around applique