Need some applique help

grammypFebruary 1, 2012

I have pieced a Jewel Box top (pics will come later) and want to applique an abstract tandem bike on it. I have the pattern for the bike, but what is the best way to go about appliqueing it onto the pieced top. I won't be able to needle turn, I'm too slow and there isn't enough time to finish. All suggestions are welcome.


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fusible web? You could use freezer paper and iron your edges under and then machine stitch around. But web is faster ya know!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:55AM
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Fusible web would be my choice. I'm assuming the bike has a lot of smaller areas, the web will really hold everything in place until it's stitched down. Then I would zig-zag or satin stitch around it.

can't wait to see pictures!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 8:24AM
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Yep, fusible web is the way to go. I would use a small zig-zag stitch if you don't want the stitches to show or the button-hole stitch if you want the stitching to add something. Done in small button-hole in black would add a definite outline to the bike shape, which might look really nice. I don't like satin stitching on applique - too heavy IMO.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 8:32AM
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Reverse applique or upside down applique are also options and you will not have any web in the finished quilt. Reverse applique makes me nervous because you are cutting your quilt top. I prefer upside down applique.

I have found upside down applique to be excellent for very detailed work. Essentially, you trace your design on stabilizer. Put the fabric that you want for the bike on top of the quilt right side UP. Put the stabilizer behind your quilt top. Turn the entire sandwich over, so you are sewing from the backside of your quilt top. Match your bobbin thread to the fabric that you want for the bike. Stitch on the lines that you drew on your stabilizer. After you have gone around your design, cut away the excess bike fabric outside of your shape. Then use a stitch i.e. zig-zag to secure your edges. Then remove the stabilizer.

Susan Brittingham created upside down applique and teaches it at Quilt University.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 9:34AM
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I took a Raw Edge Machine Applique workshop from Sue Nichols last year and learned so much and actually really like to machine Applique. She recommends Soft Fuse as the iron on fusible. It is a rather newish product, sometimes in short supply. Using her method, you end up with only the outside /cut edges of the applique (bicycle) ringed in a small portion of fusible - the middle is removed and leaves the applique very soft just like the quilt. Her method leaves the edges fused so they do not fray. She recommends a small blanket stitch - which I love. The Blanket stitch will definitely be appropriate for the bicycle - look like spokes in the wheel.
If you want more detail - send me an email.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soft Fuse

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:37AM
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OK, got the soft fuse and the pieces ready to fuse on. Next question, how to make sure the seams don't get all twisted on the back. Just be careful?

Here is the pattern I am appliqueing, it isn't very detailed. I have smoothed out the "bumps" and had it blown up to 2.5 x 3.5 ft. It will be solid black on top of the Jewel Box done with scraps on WOW background.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 3:26PM
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I want to give credit to Sue Nichols for what I learned at her workshop and recommend her book "Stitched Raw Edge Applique".

Trace the pattern on tracing paper (or use you your copy)

Use a sharp pencil - trace the patterns (wheels-people- heads) on the paper side of the Soft Fuse.

With small embroidery scissors, cut about 1/4" (eyeball it) outside of the traced pattern line.

Next, cut directly thru the the drawn line to access the area inside the line. Cut out the inner area a scant 1/4"
from the traced pattern line to complete the "open shape". Small pieces do not need their centers cut out.
I would cut a bridge out of the SF on the wheels - like a 1/4" wide - maybe more to keep the SF from twisting. How big are those wheels?

Lightly starch the applique fabric from the back to stabilize.

Place the the prepared open shape of SF (wheel)on the back of the fabric --keep the paper side up!!
I put a pc of freezer paper ironed onto the ironing surface to protect it.
Order on ironing surface- right side of black fabric facing down-fusible facing down on top of black - paper side up.
Fuse - tap the iron on the sliced open cut and around the wheel in places. The 1st fusing does not melt the glue completely.
Using same small emb scissors, cut thru the fusible and the black fabric on the traced pattern line. The extra fusible beyond the pattern line ensures there is fusible on the cut edges & seals the edges.

Prepare the background (quilt)- spray starch on the back - 2-3 light coatings - let the starch soak in. Carefully iron to dry the starch. It should be the weight of light paper.

Remove the paper backing from the the applique. Place all the pieces accurately on the background. Use a stiletto or tweezers to gently move the pcs.
Iron - do not slide the iron. You can tack the pcs in place since this is a large applique. Once pressed the pcs cannot be moved.
Turn the quilt over and press lightly to make sure the SF is heated thru.

Sue Nichols recommends starting with a Blanket stitch setting at 2.0 width and 2.0 length.

I recommend you practice the curves - the straight stitch should just ride on the background alongside the applique & the bite perpendicular to the straight stitch. You have to constantly be pivoting - always with the needle in the background - use the needle down feature.
Your applique is large, so the curves are gentle.

When you get to the end of the stitching, do not backtack -instead cut the threads long, thread a needle and pull the top thread to the back. Tie, then slip the threads inside along the blanket stitch about an inch to secure. Neat.

You will get into a rhythm - I wish I had a presser foot knee lift or auto lift on my machine. I end up positioning my hand so it is on the lever.

This is going to be a great looking quilt. I can't wait to see it!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:36PM
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So far, so good. Will the fusible stick to the fabric with the starch? Wish I had a knee lift, but the pieces are so big they won't be too hard to do.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:55PM
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yes, don't use too much - I asked the very same question!

A note about the Soft Fuse - keep all the small pieces.
It is very important to store it flat. Did you find it by the yard or did you get the sheets? She recommends cutting the by the yard into sheets and store in a sheet protector flat.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 5:23PM
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