A Better Way to Applique?

One day, I was searching on the Internet for articles about fusible Hawaiian quilting (don’t ask me why), when I found Quiltsmart, a website with an interesting idea: double applique with fusible interfacing.

Double applique stitches two fabrics together in the desired shape. The fabrics are trimmed outside the stitching line, and notched and clipped. A small slit is cut in one fabric and the shape is turned inside out, leaving a neat finished edge. Then, the applique is stitched down by hand or machine.

Mattie Rhoades at Quiltsmart prints a variety of quilt patterns on lightweight fusible interfacing. The interfacing is positioned, fusible side down, on the right side of the applique fabric. The two layers are stitched together along the printed lines, trimmed, and turned inside out, with the fabric on top and the fusible side of the interfacing on the bottom. The resulting applique is fused into place.

What a great idea! I could hardly wait to try this method on my Celtic knots!

With a permanent fabric marker, I traced my Celtic knot shapes on lightweight fusible interfacing.

Traced Celtic knot shapes
Traced Celtic knot shapes

I pinned the shapes, fusible side down, to the right side of my fabric, and stitched along the traced lines.

Pinned and stitched interfacing and fabric
Pinned and stitched interfacing and fabric

I trimmed all the pieces, leaving a very narrow seam allowance.

I carefully cut a small slit in the interfacing only, and turned the pieces inside out. I took care not to poke a hole through the interfacing at the corners. I rolled the seams back-and-forth between my thumb and forefinger to bring them even. Then, laying an organza pressing cloth over each piece, I ran the handle of a table knife around the edges (call it “finger-pressing plus”).

I positioned my shapes in place on my background and fused them down. With matching thread, I stitched around the edges of the shapes along the narrow ridge of the internal seam allowances.

Completed Celtic knot
Completed Celtic knot

I also made a sample using a thicker interfacing with similar results. The applique was noticeably stiffer and stood out in relief on the background.

I like this technique for three reasons:

  1. The edges of the appliques are turned under, much like traditional applique.
  2. The interfacing adds stability to the applique.
  3. Fusing the appliques in position speeds the process.

What do you think of this technique? Does it sound like something you’d try? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.

5 thoughts on “A Better Way to Applique?

  1. I started a frog quilt, many years ago and used this technique to applique the bodies to the background {by hand, traditional applique stitch). Now if I would get busy and embroider all the legs. I never thought about doing it with the templates that I bought from you. lol Good idea, and it makes it a little more traditional.

  2. Pingback: Class sample . . .

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