Tips for Better Applique

“F” Applique! Which Fusible Web Do I Use?

Trick #2 – Which Fusible Web Do I Use?
Make the “F” stand for “FUN”

My tippy top tricks for making fusible applique fun.

Applique (fusible, that is) should not be hard or hated.  Definitely not hated.  And if you’re going to use an “F” word to describe it, let it be only 3 letters, F. U. N.   Having designed over 200 applique patterns, and machine appliqued nearly all of them, I am pretty stinkin’ good at it.  Practice does make perfect better (let’s not use the word perfect for now) and I would love to share with you the tricks I’ve developed/discovered. . . by the way, these are in no specific order of importance.

Trick #2 – Which Fusible Web Do I Use?  
“Oh fusible web, you are my “applique BFF””.  And no, that’s not the basting spray fumes getting to me.  I love fusible web and without it, I personally would not be the self-proclaimed applique queen.  One of our readers left us a comment about their “f” in applique, and it said “trying to choose a fusible that works”.  So, I’m addressing this topic in today’s tippy top trick.

Here in my sewing studio, I do one type of applique only and it involves using a fusible web.   It makes my applique projects much more fun than if I were not using it . .. . uh, in all honesty I don’t have a clue what I would use if it were not an available tool.  I should back up a bit and say there are other methods of “applique” that do not involve some type of fusible web, such as needle turn.  They are not my cup of tea, however, so I stick to what I enjoy and that’s fusible web.

So, let’s get down to the meat here.  Which FW do I use and why?  I use Heat ‘n Bond Lite.  The company does not pay me to any degree to say that, rather I’m telling you what I use 99% of the time.  I’ll list my reasons for loving this product:
Pros:
* it’s a paper backed FW which is easily drawn upon with a pencil, pen or marker
* the paper and the fusible substance do not separate when handling the product
* it only takes a few seconds to heat up and fuse to the fabric
it does not leave a gummy residue on your needle!  this should be a the top of the list
* they have a heavy version of it, which does not require stitching to keep your piece in place – I find it perfect for tiny, detailed pieces that are too tedious to stitch around – such as the stars and bats on these “Scary Buddies”.
Cons:
* fusible side is not tacky, so when you place your applique pieces on backgrounds, they will not stay in place until you fuse them with an iron . . . . . but this does not bother me, though I listed it as a con for your information

Other FW’s I have tried:  Steam a Seam – and I gave it a good shot, really I did.  Using it with wool applique, I thought it might offer an advantage over the H&B by having my pieces lightly stick to the background before I fused them with my iron.  But, I personally did not care for it.  My biggest complaint was that I had a gummy feel to every needle I stitched through it, hand or machine.  And, I thought it took forever to heat it up and fuse with my iron, and that was accounting for the extra thickness of wool.  So . . . . the only FW I have found that works for me is Heat n Bond Lite.  The bolt even says it’s “made in USA”.  I’ve no idea if other FW’s are, but it’s another “pro” to add to this self-proclaimed applique queen’s list.

Sew, which fusible web do I use?  Heat n Bond Lite.

I want to know what makes applique fun or frustrating for you.

Please share your “F”s about applique – be it “fun” or not-so.   Leave a comment for a chance to win a “Scary Buddies” pattern.  We’ll draw at least 1 winner on Wednesday Feb 24th from all the “F” comments.  Ha Ha.  The more “f” comments we receive, the more patterns we’ll give away! So share and comment and get everyone else to share their applique “f”s.

Ooh Ooh! We’ve added “Pinterest” pin buttons to every item on our website. So, please feel free to pin everything you love and wish for. Oh go ahead and get pin happy.  Pin pin pin pin pin.

Tips for Better Applique

My tippy top tricks for making fusible applique fun – TRICK #1

logo-squareApplique (fusible, that is) should not be hard or hated.  Definitely not hated.  And if you’re going to use an “F” word to describe it, let it be only 3 letters, F. U. N.   Having designed over 200 applique patterns, and machine appliqued nearly all of them, I am pretty stinkin’ good at it.  Practice does make perfect better (let’s not use the word perfect for now) and I would love to share with you one of the tricks I’ve developed/discovered

 

Trick #1 – Don’t start, stop, start, stop, start, stop.

When you have a shape that has other pieces that overlap it here and there, you don’t have to stop and tie off when you come to the overlapping piece.  Let me explain using my little bird on a branch below.  Here’s how I appliqued around the entire branch without stopping and moving my needle to the next point, leaving threads to clip and tie off.

Little Birdie is featured in 2 patterns: MM905 Little Birdie table runner & MM9T2 Tah-Dah Towels for Spring
Little Birdie is featured in 2 patterns: MM905 Little Birdie table runner & MM9T2 Tah-Dah Towels for Spring
  1. I started at the “start here” spot.  Using a blanket stitch, I stitched up to the pink flower (left) and stop
  2. Put my needle in the up position
  3. I switch my machine to a straight stitch (noting your blanket stitch settings so you won’t forget)
  4. Then, manually place my needle just to the left of the pink flower and straight stitched along (but not on) the pink flower until I reach where I begin blanket stitching the branch again, and stop
  5. Put my needle in the up position
  6. Switch my machine back to the blanket stitch (use same settings as before)

Continue blanket stitching on the branch. Then I came to the bird body which overlaps the branch just a bit.  Again, I follow these steps and continued this process all the way around the entire branch until I got back to the starting point.  My very rudamentary yellow drawings here, show my path.  Sorry about the chicken-scratch look, but you get the jist.

I love this trick because

  •  save time by not having to go back and clip all those pesky threads.
  • I don’t have several threads to clip, just 2 at the start/stop point (and 2 on the back side)
  • I don’t waste lots of thread that would be those long strands of loose threads if I were to stop, tie off (or backstitch), move my needle/project to the next spot, and begin stitching again.

It just looks sharper and cleaner.

??’s – One big question that will eventually pop into your brain is: “But won’t my stitches show around the flowers, especially if I’ve stitched over that same path 2 or more times?”
No.  As long as you stitch over the same path, they will not show up when you’re all finished.  In this particular case, the branch is the first thing I blanket stitched, so the blanket stitching around the flowers, leaves and bird covered it up.  But use common sense: if you stitch black thread on white fabric, then yeah the stitching will show up.  I use this trick ALL the time and I’ve NEVER once regretted it.  And, I’ve shown this trick to many guilds and then asked folks if they can see where I “did my trick”.  Nope.  No one can see it.  Tah Dah!  Success.

So, that’s one of my applique tricks.

Please share with me one of your “F”s about applique – be it “fun” or not-so.  I want to know what makes applique fun or frustrating for you.  Leave a comment below for a chance to win a “Little Birdie” pattern (table runner or towel).  We’ll draw a winner on Wednesday Feb 17th from all the “F” comments.  Ha Ha.

Tips for Better Applique

What Fusible Webbing Do I Use?

Ahhhh.  Fusible Webbing.  If you applique it is definitely your friend.  It’s certainly mine.  One question I receive often is, “what fusible webb do you prefer”.

Up to 4 weeks ago, I would tell you that I personally did not have a preference.  That’s because I’d never tried anything other than Heat n Bond.  Yep, never.  Anything else.  Ghee, maybe the company that makes that should read this post – ha ha.

Well, I did say up until 4 weeks ago didn’t I.  So what happened?  I ran my bolt clean out.  Empty.  Nada, nil, zilch.  Crap. (my actual word)

Towel-DecJanFeb

I needed to finish a couple new towel samples for this new pattern, but didn’t have the time to wait for a new bolt to be shipped in.  We quilters are antsy ya know.  No patience when we’re in the heat of a project.

So, I asked my Mom, (aka Merry of Merry’s Stitchins) if she had a little to spare.  She too had just had a hot run on the stuff and was nearly out.  Well, I couldn’t wipe her out, being she’s a retail quilt shop and all.  But she did offer me some “Steam a Seam”.  Hmm.  So I gave it a try.

It has what I think are pros:

  • it’s lighter than Heat n Bond, so my fabric isn’t as stiff
  • when you peel off the backing paper, it’s a bit sticky so it stays in place quite easily before you fuse it with an iron

But it had one pro that will probably keep me with my ‘ole reliable

  • it gummed up the needle on my machine – I had a little puff ball of lint that would build up quickly about half way up my needle and when I rubbed the needle to remove the puff, I could feel the needle was sticky

So, I now have a new answer to the question “what fusible webb do you prefer”.

My answer is Heat n Bond Lite.  It has all pros for me:

  • it does not leave a sticky film on your needle
  • it comes in Lite and Heavy – use the heavy if you don’t want to stitch around something as it fuses strong enough not to need it.

Yep.  That’s my answer and I’m stickin’ to it.

~Julie

p.s.  oh, did you like that towel pattern?  There’s one for every season.  Check them out here on our website

Tips for Better Applique

Guest on American Patchwork & Quilting radio

Whoo whee!  I’m preparing for my upcoming 12 minutes of fame.  ha.

1 APQPodCastBlogButtonsGuest250

On Monday April 6, 2015, I will be a guest on Pat Sloan’s radio show “American Patchwork & Quilting radio”.  I am honored and excited to be chatting it up with Pat, whom I admire.

American Patchwork and Quilting Pocast guests Julie Wurzer April 2015

During the show, I’ll share some tips for successful applique and how I choose fabrics for my designs. . . all while chattin’ with Pat.  She’s kind of a celebrity in my little world, so to be chattin’ it up with her will be . . . uh . . . awesome.  I mean, what else would it be?

So, enough of my jibber jabber.  Here’s how you can listen and I ruheely hope you will.  Afterall, I’ll be chattin’ with Pat.  Oh, did I already mention that?  Ha!

Click here to listen live!

  http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/magazines-more/quilting-podcast 

 So, please join Pat Sloan and I on

Monday April 6th, 2015