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!***