Welcome to wool appliqué class! As you can see by a lot of the patterns I sell in my shop, I love to design and make wool appliqué quilts. Some stitchers do their wool appliqué on wool backgrounds, but I do my wool appliqué on plain and pieced fabric backgrounds. That’s why I want to do this 3 part series so I can share my tips for my style of wool appliqué. So let’s get started.
The Beginning Steps
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.
After collecting the fabric and wool required for your projects, the place to start with any wool appliqué pattern is the template page or pages 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 card stock 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 some of my templates:
Cut the templates from the card stock using a scissors meant to cut paper. 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.
Once your templates are prepared and ready to use, it’s time to trace the templates onto fusible web. I use Heat n’ Bond Feather Lite for my fusible. Test out different brands of fusible if you like to see which one you like the best.
I like this Feather Lite version of Heat n’ Bond because it’s very light and I have not noticed it adding any bulk to my appliqué pieces or making them more difficult to stitch.
Trace the templates onto the fusible using a regular or mechanical pencil. Make sure to trace onto the paper side of the fusible web. If you have a template that are not symmetrical, you need to reverse that template before tracing since the fusible side of the shape is the side that will be face down on your background. 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 with the handle facing to the right for tracing onto the fusible.
Read your pattern carefully before tracing. Most patterns today include templates that are at 100% and already reversed for use. However, you may run across a pattern where you have to enlarge the template on a copier or reverse it before use.
When tracing the shapes, make sure to leave enough space to cut them out outside the drawn lines by a bit. (left photo, below) I don’t like to cut the fusible shapes out right on the line because I use that line later when cutting the wool shapes out after fusing. If you have several shapes that are traced from the same piece of wool, you can trace them closer together and cut them out in a group. (right photo, below) Then follow the lines to cut out the individual pieces, like the leaves below. It’s a good idea to do this because wool is expensive and you don’t want to waste it!
Here are all the template shapes for my project traced onto the fusible, cut out and ready to fuse to the pieces of wool designated in the pattern:
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.
My mini video series on wool appliqué that covers some of the things I talked about in this post appears at the end of this post for those of you who are more visual learners like me.
That is all for this week and part 1 of wool appliqué tips for beginners. Leave me a comment or ask me questions below and be entered into a drawing for two of my newest mini wool appliqué patterns, Snugg-let Winter Friends and Snugg-let Sew with Friends.
The drawing will be at the end of this series on Monday, November 13th. So, you have 3 weeks to enter! **We have a winner! Congrats, Diana DeWitt!**
Happy Quilting & Stitching!