Hi! Over the next 3 weeks I will be sharing my wool appliqué series. I will be traveling for a few weeks, so I thought this would be a good time to do a review of this fun technique. You can bet I will have several wool appliqué projects with me to keep me stitching!
This week, we cover the basics from preparing templates and the background fabric to actually using the templates. I will also share some of my favorite tools and tips along with my mini video tutorials to demonstrate some of the things I talk about. Please still comment and ask questions. I will be checking in on my blog daily and answering questions. Let’s get started!
The First Steps
When you open up a wool appliqué pattern, there will be a template page or pages of templates that will be used to create the appliqué motif. If you plan to use the pattern multiple times, it’s best not to cut the templates out. To create reusable templates, I like to make a copy of the template page onto cardstock and then cut them out using a scissors (designated for paper only of course!).
If you do not have a printer that also copies or do not have access to a copier, trace the templates onto plain paper and glue that paper to a piece of card stock. I like reinforcing the templates like this so I can use them multiple times without them losing their shape. You can also use other kinds of materials to reinforce your templates.
Here are card stock templates that are ready to use:
Cut the templates from the card stock using the paper scissors. My templates are marked with how many of each the shapes are needed and from what color wool. If your pattern does not have them pre-marked like mine, it’s a good idea to write this information on your reinforced templates. Easy storage for your templates after use is in a bag attached to the pattern or, if they are small enough, slipped into the bag with the pattern.
What do you do once you have the templates prepared? Time to use them to trace your appliqué shapes onto fusible web. My favorite brand is Heat n’ Bond Feather Lite.
It’s the right weight and I have not noticed it adding any stiffness to the wool or any difficulty stitching through it. Feel free to experiment with the assortment of fusibles on the market to see which one you like best.
Trace the templates onto the fusible using your regular or mechanical pencil. Make sure to trace onto the paper side of the fusible web. If you have any templates that are not symmetrical, you need to reverse that template before tracing since the fusible will be fused onto the back side of the wool. For this example, I want the handle of the flower pot below to face to the left on the project so, the template is flipped for tracing.
Many patterns today will print the templates in the pattern at 100% and all ready reversed for your use. Just make sure to read the pattern and look at the photo of the quilt sample to make sure you are tracing your templates correctly.
When tracing the shapes, make sure to leave enough space to cut them out outside the drawn lines by a bit. I don’t like to cut the fusible shapes out right on the line because I use the line later when cutting the wool pieces out.
The photo on the left shows how close you can trace templates. If you have templates, like the leaves on the right, that are all from the same color wool, you can cut them out of the fusible as a group and fuse them that way. Then follow the lines to cut out the individual leaves. It’s a good idea to do this because wool is expensive and you don’t want to waste it!
Here are photos of all my templates traced onto the fusible, cut out outside the lines and ready to use:
Preparing the Background
Now that you have all the templates traced and cut from the fusible, it’s time to get your background fabric prepared. Here are the steps:
Step 1: I like to reinforce the edges of the block with Fray Check. This is an optional step that you can skip if you like. I do it to prevent the edges of the background from fraying into the seam allowance from all the handling while stitching.
Step 2: Next, define your stitching space. I like to measure in 1/2″ from all sides and draw a line. The space inside those lines is where the design will be laid out and stitched.
By defining the space ahead of time, you won’t accidently stitch some of your design into the seam allowance where it will be cut off when you sew the blocks together. I do 1/2″ on all sides so it keeps the design 1/4″ away from the seam allowance.
Step 3: Finally, I like to draw lines or make fold lines in the background to act as a guide for laying out my appliqué motif.
If you don’t want to fold and do creases, use a ruler and a fabric marking pencil and lightly draw those quadrant lines. I also placed a “dot” in the center of the block as a point of reference.
Here’s part 1 of my mini video series on wool appliqué that covers some of the things I talked about in this post.
That’s it for part 1. Come back next Monday, September 26th for part 2! Leave comments or ask questions below and you will be entered into a drawing for my Pumpkin Patch Wool kit. This kit includes the pattern and the wool, you supply your favorite fabric.
The drawing will be on Monday, October 10th.
Happy Quilting & Stitching!