Fusible applique is the method I use for MOST of my applique quilts.
There are times when fusible applique may not be the best method FOR YOU.
Nine years ago, I came across one quilt that I was really excited about making. I found this old quilt at an antique shop on Rt. 66 when Penny and I were working at Road To California…here is the quilt in the shop! This quilt just had to come home with me.
After finding this old quilt, I tried to recreate it with Rotary Cut Applique and had a few frustrations along the way.
The technique was fabulous. Stitch elongated nine patch blocks. Put the blocks together, then overlay the pink solid fused 8″ melons.
The problem was, the pink solid fabric was not thick enough or dark enough to cover over the pieced nine patch blocks that the melons are fused to, so you can see the color of the prints under the fused melons. You could also see the texture of the seams under the melon that is fused to the pieced quilt top.
The second top was made with a red Kona Cotton fabric that worked much better, but I’m still not 100% happy with the result. However, the quilt was pretty enough to get quilted, and no one will see the flaws accept me! I just love the echo quilting around the leaves!
This experience has taught me a few new tips and tricks.
Tip #1: Never point out mistakes or problems with your quilt. Most people will never notice until you point out the flaws, and if they do notice, good for them (and I hope they have the tact to remain silent)! Don’t ruin their experience of giving you positive feedback and appreciation for the workmanship, the designs and the fabrics. Enjoy the praise and accept compliments graciously. (There is my word of the year again!)
Now that I have cautioned you against pointing out flaws, I am a teacher, and I want you to learn from my mistakes so you can make quilts without the flaws I have made. So I am going to point out two things to think about before you make your next pieced and appliqued quilt.
Tip #2: When your applique is fused over a pieced seam, open the seam to reduce bulk. This often happens when you design a quilt with borders, and the applique elements are fused after the border is sewn to the quilt. If you press the seams to one side, the bulk of the seam allowance will show through the applique elements that are fused on top. Reduce the bulk by opening the seams, and the applique will be smoother.
Let me break rule number one and point out the problem here so you can learn from my mistakes! Can you spot the flaw in the above photo before I point it out to you?
Tip #3: For Pieced and Applique quilts: When you are placing applique elements over a pieced block, make sure the color or print from the piecing does not show through the applique. This point is illustrated in the unfinished quilt below. The quilt was made about 7 years ago as a reproduction of a quilt I bought at an antique store on Rt. 66. It is very likely that I will never finish this quilt because the light pink solid fabric was not a good choice for fusing to the nine patch blocks. You can see the printed fabric under the light pink melons.
The pattern for this quilt has not yet been published because I want to revise the pattern to include alternative methods for preparing the applique shapes. What could I do to solve this problem?
- Choose a darker Melon Fabric
- Double layer the Melon Fabric
- Change the method from Fused Applique to Turned Edge Applique using the Apliquik method and cutting foundation interfacing with Leaves Galore.
PS: There will be more about the Apliquik method in future blog posts. This is a great method for people who want to make turned-edge machine applique and hand applique quilts and still get to use Leaves Galore to make cutting faster!