19 Applique Tips
I've been creating applique designs for years and my favorite technique is with fusible webbing so I've put together some tips that I do when I applique, many of which apply to any type of applique.
- Remember to reverse the design when using fusible
- Fusible webbing needs to be pressed to the wrong side of the fabric so it can adhere to the background
- Use a Teflon sheet, baking paper or parchment paper when working with fusible webbing to prevent sticky fusible getting on what it shouldn't!
- Always add an 'underlap' between pieces to prevent gaps forming and background showing through
- Using a lightbox makes it easier to see through fabrics and for tracing templates
- Label all pieces for easy identification
- Transfer any marking through to the right side of the fabric - this makes placement so much easier
- Position pieces in numeric order ensuring points and underlaps meet correctly
- Objects with more than a few pieces can be constructed on a Teflon sheet first before adding to the background - this makes it easy to audition colors and fabrics too
- Before cutting out a fused shape, lift the backing paper partially especially on small pieces - this way you don't have any trouble trying to separate the layers
- After partially lifting backing paper cut out ending in an area that is not lifted - sometimes the backing paper can move or come off thus the cut will be incorrect and not follow the line
- If you forget to lift the backing paper always try to start lifting it at an underlap to prevent the raw edges from fraying, at least if you start at the underlap, it will be covered
- For very stubborn fusible where you cannot separate the layers, score with a pin so you have a rough edge to start it
- Scissors cannot cut in a curve - they only ever cut straight. As you gently squeeze the handles, twist the fabric (rather than the scissors) to follow a curved line. It will be much more accurate
- Tweezers can help to hold small pieces for trimming and placing them in position
- Use only the tips of the scissors to cut into small areas or points. If you slip, you won't cut too far!
- Cut in an anticlockwise direction if you are right-handed or the natural way you draw a circle
- If you forgot to draw through to the right side of the fabric, don't press detached pieces in place until you have some guidance to their correct positioning otherwise chances are, some other pieces won't align correctly
- Avoid open-weave fabric. High thread count is best for applique. These fabrics include batiks or other high-quality cotton fabrics
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