Why use a silicone pressing sheet for fusible applique

Assembling my fusible applique sunflowers

I spent last evening tracing, fusing and cutting out petals from my Northcott fabrics and I now have a total of 90. Hopefully, this will be enough, but if needed I can always make more!! Today I’m going to show you some great reasons to use a silicone pressing sheet for fusible applique.

After I finished cutting out all of my petals I looked at the garbage pail and saw how many large fabric scraps were left that had fusible web fused to the backs of them. So, I decided to freehand cut a bunch of small petals from the scraps. I ended up with quite a few. Maybe after I’ve finished my art quilt I’ll be able to do something with them!!

Now that all of the petals had been cut, I needed to pull the fabric off the backs of each of the pieces. This should be fairly easy, but if you’re having trouble, just score the paper with a pin to give you something to grab on to.

I used two plates from my cupboard as the template for the sunflower centers. The two plates that I chose were 8” in diameter and 10½” in diameter. I traced their outlines onto my fusible web and then fused these circles onto the back of each of my brown Artisan Spirit Shimmer fabrics.

Using a plate as the flower center template

The flower centers

After cutting out the circles I realized just how PERFECT these two fabrics were for sunflower centers!!

Using the silicone pressing sheet

The next step was to assemble the sunflowers on top of my silicone pressing sheet. The beauty of using one of these sheets is that you can assemble parts of your applique design separately and then press the assembled unit to the background later. This lets you fuse small pieces together to make a larger unit, or as in my case, fuse together an image that has lots of parts before you fuse it to the background.

I placed my large circle onto the silicone sheet right side up and then arranged some of the larger petals around the edge, tucking them under the circle about ½”.

The first layer of sunflower petals on the silicone pressing sheet

Next I added a second layer of petals on top of the first, again tucking the ends under the circle.

Second layer of petals

Moving it to the ironing board

Once the sunflower was to my liking, I moved the silicone pressing sheet (slowly) to my ironing board. I could have assembled it on my ironing board to begin with, but I wanted a larger flat area where I could see it better.

Using my hot, dry iron, I started to press around the edge of the brown circle to fuse the petals to the flower center. It doesn’t matter that the tips of the petals hang over the edge of the silicone sheet, because  I’m only concerned with pressing near the center of the circle to fuse all of the pieces together.

Pressing the sunflower

Once the fabric has cooled, the entire flower can be pulled off of the silicone sheet.


Peeling off the sunflower

Large assembled sunflower

Since I have a lot of small petals left, I took one of the bowls out of my cupboard and traced it to make a 6” circle for a third sunflower center. I repeated the above process with the smaller brown circles to assembling two more fusible applique sunflowers.

Now I need to decide which of the two Artisan Spirit Shimmer background fabrics I’m going to use. Since the flowers are all fused together it’s super easy to just audition them on the two different fabrics.

Sunflowers on brown Artisan Spirit Shimmer background

Sunflowers on red Artisan Spirit Shimmer background

So I’ve got my two backgrounds down on the floor of my studio and I’m auditioning my sunflowers on top of each one. Although I love the red fabric, I really think the “Autumn” one works better for this project. Autumn (brown) Artisan Spirit Shimmer background it is!

Adding scrappy borders

I want the stems and leaves of the sunflowers to extend off of the background onto the border, so I’m going to cut the background a little smaller than I usually would – 40” x 32” looks like it would work well.

Next, I’m going to add a scrappy border around the background using 4½” wide strips that I’ve cut from all of the gold/yellow fabrics. I’ve cut two or three strips from each fabric and they range in size from 4” to 12” long. I sewed them together end to end randomly to make one long strip.

Scrappy borders

I cut two borders from this strip that were each 32” long. One was sewn to each of the two shorter sides of the background fabric. Once these borders were sewn on, I measured the width of the quilt and cut two more borders that same measurement. These were sewn to the top and bottom of the quilt. I like how these borders turned out!! It’s good that they carry the gold/yellows out to the edge of the quilt and they are wide enough to provide a nice frame for the background!

Adding the first scrappy border

Now that the borders are on, tomorrow I’m going to fuse all of my elements onto the background and start quilting. After today, I hope you agree that there are lots of great reasons to use a silicone pressing sheet for fusible applique.

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2:  Using fusible applique to make an art quilt

Go to part 4:  Free motion quilting the sunflower quilt

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Stefani Brown June 13, 2016 - 1:40 am
Beautiful sunflowers, and wonderful step by step description
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:09 am
Thank you!
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:12 am
Thank you so much!
Kay Briley June 13, 2016 - 12:16 am
I love the sunflower... I am enjoying reading and learning this quilt
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:09 am
Thanks Kay!
Jo June 12, 2016 - 11:03 pm
Love the fabrics for this quilt!
Vicki H June 12, 2016 - 10:52 pm
This is a great tip. Where do I find silicone pressing sheets?
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:10 am
Your local quilt shop should be able to help you out. I love mine!!
Lori Morton June 12, 2016 - 10:44 pm
Love your '''sunflowers!! Thank you soooo much for sharing how you did them! Know I NEED a Silicone Pressing Sheet too! giggle...
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:11 am
You will love using one!
Linda Peevy June 12, 2016 - 8:11 am
Thank you very much for your tips on the silicone sheet - I love applique and am registered for a sunflower art quilt later this summer. I love the fabrics you chose.
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:13 am
Thanks Linda! I'm glad you found the post informative. Have fun in your course - sounds amazing!
Linda Webster June 11, 2016 - 6:48 pm
Thanks so much for your great pressing tips!
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:14 am
You're welcome! I'm glad they were informative!
Jean Campbell June 10, 2016 - 8:28 am
This was a fantastic project. Thank you for sharing great tips for assembly. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one using household items as templates in a pinch. I use parchment baking paper as a pressing sheet when silicone sheet is not at hand.
Christine Baker June 13, 2016 - 11:16 am
Thanks for the tip Jean - I'll have to try that out sometime.
Kathy E. June 9, 2016 - 11:12 am
I have a silicone pressing sheet that a friend gave me, but not directions on how to use it! This post clears all that up! I do love to applique, and this technique is going to make it much easier and more fun! Thanks!
Christine Baker June 9, 2016 - 9:08 pm
Hi Kathy, I'm glad that I was able to help you out. The Silicone pressing sheets are amazing for fusible applique - I remember that I was mind blown when I got mine :)
Christine Baker June 9, 2016 - 9:09 pm
I'm so glad that I was able to help you out!! Have fun!!
Jody Hogan June 9, 2016 - 9:58 am
can't wait to try your technique
Christine Baker June 9, 2016 - 9:11 pm
Have fun!
Margaret Kramer June 9, 2016 - 9:47 am
This post is a great help to me as I have a silicone sheet but was never sure of how to use it for laying out my Applique, as described here. I love sunflowers & this is one project I\'ll definitely make! You\'ve made it seem much less complicated, so Thank You!
Christine Baker June 9, 2016 - 9:13 pm
Hi Margaret - I'm so glad that I could help you out! Have fun doing your applique!
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