Welcome back to the second installment of my wool appliqué series. Last week I covered templates and preparing the background, which included some of the tools needed. If you missed it, find the post here: Welcome to Wool Appliqué – Part 1. This week, I will cover fusing the wool and laying out the design on the background. I will share tips on how to do this so you are ready to stitch in no time. So, let’s get started!
Creating the Wool Shapes
This is where you get to use the fusible shapes you cut out last week to create your wool appliqués. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the fusible web brand you chose to fuse the shapes to the wool using your iron.
Notice how I have placed the fusible templates for the flower up in the corner of the piece of wool. That is how I make sure I am not creating any waste. Wool is expensive so you want to have as little waste as possible.
Tip! Wool can be used on either side, however one side of your piece of wool may be prettier than the other, especially if you have a piece of hand dyed wool. Choose the side you like and iron the fusible shape to the other side.
Once the pieces are fused, I cut away all the usable wool and put that back in my stash. I actually use a small serrated scissors that is used only for this task.
Now is the time you use the drawn lines to cut out the shapes. This is why we cut out the fusible shapes outside the lines last week, so our final wool appliqués look like the actual flower. It’s easier to cut along lines now than trying to follow the outside of the shape, if there were no lines.
Once the shapes are cut out, you can peel off the paper backing from the back of the wool shape and now it’s ready for the layout and stitching! Note the shiny side in the last photo; that is the fusible side. Don’t forget to pull off the paper! Trust me… I’ve done that before.
Now that you have all the appliqué shapes cut out from the wool, it’s time to layout the design. We will now use those lines you drew or folded into your background last week.
Stems: If your appliqué motif has stems, those are usually laid out first and glued in place. Stems for these projects are commonly as thin as 1/4″ so I do not use templates and fusible. I simply cut strips for the stems from a piece of wool, lay them out and use a small amount of glue to secure.
Tip! Use the other motif pieces as a guide for getting your stems in the correct position.
As you can see from the above photos, I am using the folds in the background, the flower pot and one of the flowers as guides to laying out my stems. Once I have them in the right place, I glue the stems so they do not move when I fuse the rest of the design. My favorite glue to use is Roxanne’s Glue Baste-it.
Layout & Fuse
Now it’s time to layout the rest of the design and fuse it in place. Here’s the design all laid out:
Now that it’s all set in place, it’s time to fuse. I use a method of steaming without putting water in the iron. I carefully place a towel over the whole block, spray it with water from a spray bottle and then press the iron down in sections on top of the towel.
Use a white towel with no dyes that can potentially transfer onto your project. When the fusing is done, carefully lift the towel starting at the top checking to see if everything is fused securely. Repeat the spray and press step as long as it takes to fuse everything down.
Here’s my mini video tutorial that covers these steps to give you a better understanding, especially of the fusing process.
So that’s it for part 2 of the series. Come back on January 3rd for the final installment where I cover stitching. I’ll have some tips & tricks for that. Leave a comment or ask any questions you have below and be entered into the drawing for the wool appliqué prize package.
The drawing will be on Monday, January 10th so you have lots of time to enter! See you for the final installment next week.**We have a winner! Congrats, Wendy!***
Regina Bohannon says
Are you using a terrycloth towel? I always think of a muslin tea towel as a pressing cloth. I get frustrated using fusible when my wool gets flattened and looses its “wooliness”!
Yes, they are terry cloth towels. I have kind of a soft ironing board. If you don’t, you can also place another towel under the project to keep the wool from flattening too much.
Sharon M Aurora says
I like that method of steam ironing it. I do not like doing steam ironing by putting water in the iron, so I avoid steam ironing. Your method is a great alternative.
Carol Lewin says
Love the idea of using the towel to steam press applique in place. Will give that a try.
Barbara Jansz says
Great tutorial! Wool is so great to use for Applique.
Will try using the towel & spray with water method.
Terri Karasch says
I’ve been using a piece of muslin as my “steam” ironing cloth. I’ll try a Terry cloth towel and see if I like that better. I like to make stems by adding fusible to a piece of wool, then cutting the 1/4” stems from it.
I have a large wool ironing base and generally use the muslin to lay over the top, I like your idea of the terry towel…will try that. Thanks
I’m just getting into using wool and have a couple of projects to do. But I have been worried to start. Thanks for all the tips and tricks. I’m getting ready to forge ahead
Susan L. says
Thanks for the great tutorial! I will definitely try some of these tips.
I grew up using a dish towel as a pressing cloth but am anxious to try the terry towel to see what difference it makes. Many thanks for all your tips!
Gail S says
Thank you for an easy to follow tutorial. I like the combination of written description and photos. I like the idea of spraying the towel to add steam.
Your video tutorial is very good! But did you mention what type of scissors you’re using? I figure you need your very good, sharp fabric scissors, but does it matter that you’re cutting the fusible and fabric with them?
I actually have a separate scissors that I only use to cut out the wool shapes and fusible. They are a sharp serrated edge. They are designated only for this task. I have a similar pair to what I use in my shop:
Ah – that makes sense! I will put that on my little wish list.
Thank you for this tutorial! I will try the terry towel to see how I like it. I have a pressing sheet for applique, can it be used for wool?
I have not tried an applique pressing sheet for wool. I like the towel because there is less of a chance of flattening the wool appliques. I least I have found this to be true.
Donna Bishop says
I will have to try these techniques!
I haven’t heard of using the “steam towel” method before! I am going to try it! As usual, thank you for sharing all your great tips and tricks! HUGS… and stitches
Maureen Skurski says
Deanne, my question refers to the information in Part 1. I have always laid my fusible directly over the pattern’s templates and traced the shapes directly onto the paper side of the fusible. I am curious about what the advantage is with tracing the shapes onto card stock, cutting out the shapes and then using those to trace onto the fusible. I am always anxious to learn new techniques (like gluing the stems instead of using fusible on them!) so thank you for these tutorials!
I have quite a bit of experience doing wool appliqué. Your terry towel method of steaming is great. You are never too old or experienced to learn something new. Thank you
I’ve never tried the towel method. I like that. Sometimes the dry iron just doesn’t get the applique items to hold on the wool well. I like to get the whole piece layed out before stitching but then they come loose and fall off. I get frustrated with this part of the project easily. Thank you for putting this tutorial together for us.
If I am using Steam a seam 2 will your method of spraying the towel and dry iron be enough steam to work with Steam a seam? SOmetimes I find the SAS is sticky if I don’t use enough steam. This could work better because it won’t flatten out the wool.
Annette bishop says
I have just had a problem with the adhesive from Heat & Bond not making the back of an Applique piece stick. No matter how much heat, the adhesive side was shined, but never sticky. Any suggestions?
Once you peel the paper backing off the wool pieces, the shiny side will not be sticky. When you place it on the surface you wish to adhere it too, make sure you using enough heat and steam. That is why I have you place a towel over the appliqués and dampen it. The heat and steam should adhere it. Press with your iron at 30 second intervals and keep checking. Sometimes too much heat will damage the glue of the fusible.
Heat n’ Bond can be a fussy product. Check the instructions that came with it. I’ve never had a problem with my fusible not adhering using my steps. I do experience edges lifting up at times while I am stitching, that’s why I keep a bottle of Roxanne’s glue handy to glue those spots down.
Be sure also that your product isn’t too old and then you have not used fabric softener on your fabric if you pre-washed it.
If Heat n’ Bond is not working for you, try another brand like Misty Fuse or Softweb.
I hope I answered your question and gave you some hints!
Please excuse the typos in my response, for some reason I am unable to edit it!