Hi! Welcome to my 3 part series on wool appliqué. Starting today, and over the two weeks following, I will share the steps I take when working on a wool appliqué project. I will share my tips and advice so you can take on wool appliqué with new confidence. Of course my advice and tips are not the ultimate word on wool appliqué, this is just how I teach it. I have also filmed a 3 part mini video tutorial series that I will share along with these posts. I know many people are visual learners so I think the videos will help in that area. Feel free to share your comments and tips below!
Throughout the series, I will highlight the tools that are needed for wool appliqué. These are things I find essential. Of course, these are not all the tools out there used for wool appliqué. You may find others available as you get more into wool appliqué that you find helpful and essential.
First, you need the pattern template page, some card stock, scissors for cutting paper and a regular or mechanical pencil.
You can either make a copy of the template page directly onto the cardstock, if your printer will do that, or you can trace the shapes from the pattern page and then glue them to the card stock. I like to keep the pattern intact in case I want to use it later. Either way, this makes your templates reinforced for repeated use.
Cut the templates from the card stock using the scissors. You can see that the templates are marked with how many of the shapes are needed and from what color wool. Once you have used them, you can place them in a bag and attach the it to the pattern for future use.
My next essential tool is fusible web. My favorite brand is Heat n’ Bond Featherlight. I find that it is the right weight and does not add any stiffness to my wool appliqués.
There are other fusibles on the market and if you like, feel free to experiment and find the one you like the best.
Now it’s time to trace the templates onto the fusible using your regular or mechanical pencil. Trace them 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, that is the flower pot.
Since I want the handle to face left on my project, I need to trace the pot template onto the fusible with the handle facing right as shown above.
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. This assures me that I don’t lose any of the shape of the motif. See photos below:
However if you have templates, like the leaves in the center photo, that will be from the same piece of wool, you can trace them very close together. It’s a good idea to do this because wool is expensive and you want as little waste as possible.
Once you have them all cut out and ready to go, it’s time to prepare the background before we move on to fusing wool and laying out the design, which will be in part 2 next week.
Preparing the Background
Step 1: To get the background ready for the design and stitching, I have a few steps to prepare it. First, I like to reinforce the edges of the block with Fray Check.
Doing this prevents fraying while handling the block as you stitch. If your fabric frays a lot, you could lose seam allowance and your block will no longer measure the size it should. Now this is an optional step, but I recommend it highly.
Step 2: The next step in preparing the background is defining 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.
The photos above show how I fold and crease my background. I also use the fabric marking pencil I used to mark the lines on the outside of the background to place a “dot” in the center of the block as a point of reference. If you don’t want to fold and do creases, use a ruler and the fabric marking pencil and lightly draw those quadrant lines.
Here is my mini video tutorial covering what I talked about this week:
So that’s it for this week! Come back next week on December 27th for part 2.
Ask me questions or leave comments below and you will be entered into a drawing for a wool appliqué gift pack that includes my pattern, Snugg-let Sweet Summer, Roxanne’s small glue, a pack of chenille needles and a ball of Valdani Perle cotton.
The drawing will be on Monday, January 10th at the end of the 3 part series! **We have a winner! Congrats, Wendy!***
Cathy R Weatherford says
Thank you for this good tutorial, very easy to understand. All good reminders
Rebecca Kober says
Thank you for sharing this series. Wool applique is so pretty and fun to do!
Love wool appliqué! I like to use Soft Fuse fusible. You can see through it to trace the pattern. Its also easy to stitch through. I do use Valdani pearl cotton. I use all weight sizes, 12, 8, & 5, depending on what look I want. Thanks for tutorial. Looking forward to next one.
Yes, I have heard of Soft Fuse from a student and plan to try it out. Thanks for the recommendation!
Thank you for this tutorial. Many reminders of good techniques, a new product and a new use for an old product. I have not used heat and bond featherweight but I plan to try it. And using fray check to stabilize the edges of the background fabric was an ah-ha moment for me.
Looking forward to part two of the wool applique tutorials.
Carol L says
Great tutorial. Is there much difference between Heat n Bond Lite and Featherweight?? Have only used Lite, did not know they made a Featherweight!!! Looking forward to Part 2. Carol L
Thanks! I have found the featherlite to add less stiffness to the appliqués.
Thanks so much for the information…really enjoyed the video…I’m a visual learner and it helped a lot. You do a great job teaching, look forward to next week. I really like my light board for tracing so I can keep my patterns intact. Since I got that, it’s so much easier to get accurate cuts and less strain on my eyes!
Terri Karasch says
Great tips, thank you so much. I never thought about tracing patterns onto card stock, definitely going to try that.
Beverly Lawler says
I love wool appliqué! Thanks for all the great tips! Looking forward to your new Block of the month!
I love doing wool applique & really liked your tips for preparing the fabric background.
Sandra Richardson says
Thank you for the video, I am one of those that “get it” better when I see how it’s done. I wonder if you have ever used FrayCheck on a wool piece that is more loosely woven and tends to fray a bit? I have a question about the background piece. Does the pattern give directions to cut the size big enough if we are going to mark a 1/2″ around the whole block?
Hi! I haven’t tried Fray Check on loosely woven wool. It might work. I suggest testing it on a very small area first to make sure it doesn’t effect it badly.
The background piece in my example is not cut bigger than needed. I just use the 1/2″ on all sides to keep my motif 1/4″ away from the seam allowance. If you want your design to go all the way up to the seam allowance, then just mark 1/4″ all around so you do not stitch anything into the seam allowance.
Great instructions! Thanks for the info.
Sharon M Aurora says
Thank you for the tips. I think it’s a great idea to make the cardstock templates. I don’t like to cut up the printed pattern either.
I’ve never sued fraycheck for the background, but I would like to try it. What I’ve started doing is making my block slightly bigger than I want, then cut the edges with pinking shears. After the applique is complete, then I cut it down to size.
I’m looking forward to the fusing part of your tutorial because I have had trouble fusing wool to the background.
Thanks for the great tips! I’d not heard of using fray check – I’ll have to try it. I seldom use any iron on but didn’t realize the featherweight was so much less stiff. Love learning new techniques! Thanks again!
Great tutorial as I’m a beginner wool applique. I have not used the fray check before. Definitely something for me to look into!
Love the suggestion to prepare templates! That will encourage me to make patterns again.
I have never done any wool applique ,so it is nice to receive instructions how to do it the right way. Thank you
Just getting interested in wool applique. So glad you are posting your tips and instructions. Thank you!
ANN ROBERSON says
Your wool applique tutorial was excellent.
Donna Bishop says
So helpful in every way!
Ruth Vogt says
Love wool appliqué. You do a wonderful job of explaining everything.
Darrell, aka dquilterguy says
Thanks for creating and posting this series on wool applique. It will be so very helpful.
Joy Avery says
Thanks for the tutorial. I tried Fray Check, think I used too much as the wool edges got very stiff! I trace templates on wax paper. After using large templates, I go back and trace smaller images on that piece of wax paper to maximum usage.
Enjoying the 2021 BOM
Barbara E. Morse says
Nice tutorial. I haven’t tried Roxanne’s glue yet or the featherweight version of Heat n’Bond.
Patricia Albanese says
Thank you for this great tutorial. I love the look of wool applique but I have been hesitant to try it since I was not sure how to begin. Your tutorial has shown me the basics that I need to know including the thread, needle sizes and the other supplies like glue and fray check that I would never have thought of. I am going to jump in and go for it. Thank you so much!
Crystal Knight says
Thank you for this tutorial. Your instructions are very easy to follow. I really like your tip about measuring and marking one half inch markings around the background fabric. I will use this tip on my next project.
I love wool applique and I’m excited to here of new ways to work with it. Thank you for taking your time to help us all.
I find wool appliqué to be so relaxing! Thanks for tips to make the prep work less daunting.
Sandy Mason says
Will Fray check make the edges stiff? I’m stitching on silk dupioni and was afraid to use it, for fear of stiffness and leaving a mark. I stitched around it with zig zag and had to use a strip of paper to stabilize. I will rip that out when I am finished.
I have found that it doesn’t make the edges stiff if I use a very light touch when applying it. I get it right on the edge and not into the seam allowance. Your technique of zig zag stitching to stabilize sounds like a good way to prevent fraying too.
Thank-you so much for sharing…love the tips
Patty Cass says
Thanks for the tutorial. Minhadnt thought of using card stock, I’ll give it a try.
M. E. Worthen says
Thanks! Finally…a good use for that ten year old bottle of Fray Check!
Karen Lynn Wheeler says
Amazing information and hopefully I can start a new project. I hope to use my embroidery, ribbon embroidery and hand-dyed wool with hand-dyed silk ribbons to make a nice wall hanging.
Thank you. This will only be my second wool project! I’m excited to learn how to do it properly! ;~) Looking forward to Part 2