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4 TIPS for cutting and fusing applique shapes

 

Welcome back. How did the tracing go? Hopefully, the tips from yesterday made the process a lot easier to do.

Today I’ve got tips for cutting out the shapes and fusing them to the background. Let’s get started.

The pattern for the pot holders is called Barnyard Buddies by ellie mae designs.

 

Barnyard Buddies by ellie mae designs
Barnyard Buddies by ellie mae designs

 

TIP 1 – Cut the fusible webbing and the fabric together

All of the shapes have been fused to the wrong side of the fabric pieces. Now it’s time to cut them out.

Remember I mentioned that it isn’t necessary to cut the shapes out of the fusible webbing directly on the tracing line? There are two reasons for that.

First, it would take extra time to fussy cut the shapes from the fusible webbing and then you’d have to fussy cut the shapes once they’re fused to the fabric. By only fussy cutting once, we save a bit of time.

The second and most important reason is to ensure that the fusible webbing provides complete coverage at the edges of the applique shape. If you attempt to cut on the lines the second time, the fusible webbing will be missed in some spots right along the edges where it’s most critical. This will cause the edges with no fusible webbing underneath to fray.

Bottom line, rough cut the shapes from the fusible webbing and fussy cut once the shape outlines have been fused to the fabric.

TIP 2 – Move the shape, not the scissors

It’s important to have a very sharp pair of scissors to do this cutting step. Sharp scissors will help prevent frayed edges.

When cutting, try and keep the scissors in one position and rotate the shape in your opposite hand. That results in a smoother cut.

 

A sharp pair of scissors results in smoother edges and no frayed edges.
A sharp pair of scissors results in smoother edges and no frayed edges.

 

Now that my shapes are all cut, it’s time to position them onto the background.

A note about the background.

I did not cut the shape as indicated on the pattern. You can see the corners are rounded on the pattern and my corners are square. I also cut the background a little bit larger than the actual size. Once all the stitching is done, I’ll trim the background to the appropriate size and round the corners.

 

Ready to place and fuse the shapes to the background
Ready to place and fuse the shapes to the background

 

But wait, you may have noticed some funny lines on the pattern when you were tracing. See the dashed lines in the cow pattern? The dashed lines are in fact tracing lines as well and allow for some of the shapes to overlap.

In the pattern below, the outer edge of the ears overlap the inner part of the ear, the eyes overlap the horn and the nose overlaps the mouth. The overlap is very important to prevent gaps between the outer and inner ears or any of the other parts.

 

Dashed lines indicate where the applique shapes overlap
Dashed lines indicate where the applique shapes overlap

 

TIP 3 – Fuse overlapping pieces together

I could go ahead and put all the pieces on the background as there are not many shapes for the cow’s face. But if I happen to have a lot of applique shapes that overlap and I’m trying to position them on the background, it can be a bit of a nightmare if one or more pieces shift and then I have to start over.

If there are pieces that overlap as in the cow above, I like to fuse those overlapping shapes together before I place them on the background so I can treat them as one piece. This makes the final placement process a whole lot easier.

To start, I need an applique pressing sheet. It’s made of a material that allows me to fuse the shapes to the applique pressing sheet. Once the shapes are fused to each other and they have cooled off, I can peel the combined shapes off the applique pressing sheet as one larger piece. It’s very easy to position the new combined shape on to the background.

 

Applique pressing sheet is placed over the placement diagram
Applique pressing sheet is placed over the placement diagram

 

I start by placing the applique pressing sheet on top of the placement guide. Then I position the first shape, the one that is on the bottom. In this case, I start with the cow’s mouth.

 

Start by placing the bottom piece on the applique pressing sheet which is placed on top of the placement guide
Start by placing the bottom piece on the applique pressing sheet which is placed on top of the placement guide

 

Place the shape that’s on top of the bottom one as per the outlines on the placement diagram. Carefully fuse the two shapes together using an iron. No need for steam as it doesn’t really have any place to go when you’re using the applique pressing sheet.

 

Add the second piece that overlaps the bottom piece
Add the second piece that overlaps the bottom piece

 

I fused the tail bits together, the ears and the eyes (I’m not putting in the horn) and the mouth. Now that I have fewer shapes, it’ll be easier to place them onto the background fabric.

 

Overlapping applique shapes have been fused to each other
Overlapping applique shapes have been fused to each other

 

Tip 4 – Use a light box to assist in placing the shapes

Depending on your background, it may be hard to see the placement guide through the background fabric. I use a light table with the placement guide directly on the surface of the light table and my background fabric on top. Then it’s easy to see the outlines so you can place the shapes.

 

The placement guide is placed directly onto the lightbox and the background fabric is placed on top of the placement guide
The placement guide is placed directly onto the lightbox and the background fabric is placed on top of the placement guide

 

 

The shapes are in place and ready to be fused to the background
The shapes are in place and ready to be fused to the background

 

Alternatively, if it’s not critical that the pieces be positioned exactly, you can always eyeball this process.

Once the shapes are positioned to my liking, I carefully transfer the background to an ironing surface where I’ll fuse all the shapes in place according to the manufacturer’s directions.

You’ll notice on the cow that some of the background fabric is showing through the white and the pink. I could have added a second layer to the pink fabric to prevent that from happening or I could have used a darker fabric that wouldn’t allow the show through.

 

The shapes are all fused and ready to be stitchedThe shapes are all fused and ready to be stitched
The shapes are all fused and ready to be stitched

 

Aren’t they adorable? Now it’s time for the stitching process. I’ll share some tips with you tomorrow on different stitches and the threads to use when making applique stitches on the sewing machine.

Have a great day!

Ciao!

 

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: 2 tips to make prepping a paper pattern much easier!

Go to part 4: 6 tips for blanket stitching applique shapes you want to know

Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at QUILTsocial.com. When not quilting, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Lexi and Murphy, or can be found cycling across the country. Her blog is crazyquilteronabike.blogspot.com.

3 Comments

  1. Linda Williamson

    Thanks for the tips. I’m going to make some Christmas presents this year. These would be perfect.

  2. Donna Caldwell

    I love quiltsocial.com

  3. Pam Reim

    Great tips! Some took me years to figure out on my own 🙂

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