Thursday, February 20, 2014

Raw edge applique

Raw edge applique is my favourite form of applique because it is easy and fuss-free. Raw edge applique requires fusible web which is a iron-on adhesive. This adhesive permanently glues your applique patterns to the background fabric.

Fusible web usually comes with a paper side and a grainy side which contains the adhesive. There are a few brands of fusible web in the market. I use Heat n Bond. It doesn’t matter which brand you use. The important thing to note is to get the right kind - for sewing or no-sew.

Heat n Bond Lite is for applique which requires sewing.
Heat n Bond Ultrahold is for no-sew applique.

How to transfer the applique design to the fusible web?
There are 2 ways in which I do the transfer.

The cutout way
If I need to trace the applique design over and over again, I prefer to print the applique design on a thicker paper like at least 200gsm.

Then I cut out the shape exactly on the lines.

Next I draw the outline of the applique cutout on the paper side of the fusible web. Remember to place the mirror image facing up.

The trace from template way

This method is straight forward. Just trace the mirror image of the applique design on the paper side of the fusible web.

At this point you might be asking yourself this question - When do you use the actual applique pattern and when do you use the mirror image of the pattern?

The simple answer is: If your design is transferred to the wrong side of the fabric, you must use the mirror image of the applique pattern.


Cutting the fusible web
Never cut exactly on the lines. As long as you cut outside the line, you need not be so precise or consistent.

On a side note, some people do not like the stiffness of bonded fabric. I find it true that Heat n Bond does have a stiffness but I like the stiffness. If you don't, here's what you can do about it. Below is a heart traced on a fusible web and I have cut out the center of the heart leaving roughly 1/4" border on the inside. You should only do this if your motif is large enough.


Fusing to the wrong side of the fabric

Iron your fabric to remove creases.

Place the grainy side of the fusible web on the wrong side of the fabric. At this point, I probably should advise you to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. But it’s pretty much the same technique:
♥ Set iron to medium heat or for my iron, cotton. Do not use steam function.
♥ Place hot iron over the paper backing and press down for 2 to 3 seconds.
♥ Lift iron and keep going until entire paper is bonded to the fabric.
♥ Let it cool.

Now cut out the applique exactly on the drawn lines.
What you have created is a iron-on applique. And now, do you see why you needed to trace the mirror image on the fusible web?

Fusing iron-on applique to a background fabric
Okay, you're not done yet. Your iron-on applique needs to be fused onto your background fabric which could be a T-shirt, apron, bag or just a piece of fabric. First iron the background fabric to remove the creases.

Next, remove the paper backing and place the applique on the background fabric.
Place iron over the applique and press down for 6 to 8 seconds. (The thicker the fabric, the longer you press down) Take a look to see if the applique is securely fused. If it's not, do another round of pressing with the hot iron.

As you can see, my applique "G" is pretty easy to place. What happens if your applique design requires several pieces of layered shapes and it’s impossible to eyeball it?

One very easy way is to pin your background fabric (right side up) to your template (of the actual image and not mirror image because we are working on the right side of the fabric). Hold them up against a light source such as a window.  Use a frixion pen to trace the placement of the pieces on the fabric. Remember frixion ink is removed with heat so don’t put your iron over it until you have placed all the applique shapes correctly. And don't forget to remove the paper backing from the applique pieces!

Another method is to trace the design onto a clear transparent plastic sheet with a marker pen. I use a water colour pen and it's removable by water so I can reuse the plastic sheet. Actually my hands get pretty smudged as well. Use a permanent marker pen if you want to save the placement. Tape the top of the plastic sheet to the right side of the background fabric. Flip the plastic sheet down to guide your placement. And again, don't forget to remove the paper backing from the applique pieces!

Once your applique is fused to the background fabric, it's complete if you are going for a no-sew applique. If you are opting to sew, stitch around the outline of the applique using any of the following stitches:
- straight stitch
- zigzag stitch
- blanket stitch
- satin stitch

My favourite way of finishing an applique is to sew blanket stitch by hand. What's your preferred stitch?

Hope this post is useful to raw edge applique beginners.

Bag Patterns at my Etsy shop

Applique Patterns at my Etsy shop

For more Applique Resources
For more Tutorials


pennydog said...

I prefer machine turned edge applique- I fuse on freezer paper templates to the right side, then clip and glue the seam allowance to the wrong side, position together and remove all the paper, then machine it down with a tiny zig zag.

Linda said...

Great tutorial! I also turn my edges under, but I do like the look of the blanket stitch over the edge like you do.

Lola said...

Hi I was wondering if u don't sew the appliqué .. Would the fabric still fray with the fusible web? Thanks

Projects By Jane said...

Hi Lola,

Whether you sew or don't sew, there will be a little bit of fraying around the edges. How much fraying depends on the quality of fabric you use. If you use a tightly weaved fabric, there's less chance of fraying.

If you wash the appliqued item, it will fray even more.

Another factor which will affect the fraying is the kind of fusible web you use. Some are better, some are worse. If I were to do a wall display without sewing, I would use Heat n Bond Ultrahold. You can't sew thru' ultrahold tho'. Try different brands and see what works best for the fabric you have in mind.

Lastly, fusible web doesn't keep. Either the glue drops off or the glue doesn't work so well. Try to buy small amount.

Hope this is helpful to you.

Unknown said...

Hi Jane .. Thank you for your prompt reply ! Yes it did help! Thank you :)

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