Welcome back! Last week, I shared some tips and tools needed for wool applique. This week, we’ll start using those tips and tools. Most of my wool applique patterns are wool on fabric so that’s what you will see in my examples. However, the tips I share can also be used for wool on wool applique. This week, I’ll cover using the templates through laying out the design. Next week we’ll cover stitching. So let’s get started!
Now that you have your fabric background ready and your templates reinforced, it’s time to turn those templates into wool shapes for your project.
First, you will use your templates to trace the shapes needed onto fusible web. I like to use Heat n’ Bond Featherlite, but feel free to use your preferred brand. Use your template to trace the number of shapes needed for your motif onto the paper side. The shiny side will be what fuses to the wool. I like to trace my shapes as close as possible, still leaving about 1/4″ between tracings.
When you cut the shapes out from the fusible, be sure not to cut right on the line but outside the line. The line will be used later. Here’s the pieces cut out:
Be sure to reverse templates that are not symmetrical. For example, if you have a jug with a handle that is supposed to face left when you place the wool piece on your background, you need to lay the template for that jug on the fusible web with the handle facing right. Pay attention, because some designers may have the templates in the pattern already reversed for use.
Time to iron the fusible pieces onto the wool! Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions provided with the fusible you choose for the iron temprature. You’ll want to fuse your shapes as close together as possible since wool is so expensive. Most patterns give measurements for the size of wool piece needed for each color. Here’s how I laid mine out (on the left) and what it looks like after I pressed with the iron (right):
Notice the amount of wool left on the right side. You can cut away this chunk and stash it in your wool stash for the next project.
Now it’s time to cut the pieces out. This is when you use the drawn line. We saved it for now because it helps to have a line as a guide. This ensures that your wool pieces will look like they should.
Now, just peel off the paper backing, flip over the wool piece and it’s ready to fuse to the background.
Fusing to the background is made simple by using your iron and a wet, white towel! This creates a “steaming” effect that helps to fuse the piece to the background so it stays there until you are ready to stitch. To do this, you need a white towel, to prevent color transfer from the towel to your project, a spray bottle of water and your iron.
Here’s an example of one of the 2020 BOM blocks where I fused everything down first before stitching:
The only thing I do not use fusible for is stems. Most of the time, those are just thin wool strips, so it’s easier just to cut them as strips and secure them with the fabric glue. When I laid out my design above, I positioned the stems using the other wool pieces as a guide. I then glued the stems in place before fusing the other pieces down.
Here’s the technique I use for fusing. I lay a clean, white towel (I find stacks of these at the local dollar store) over my design, careful not to move any of the pieces I laid out. Then I spray the towel with the water until it’s very damp. Finally, lay the iron on the wet area to create the steam. I usually lay it down for about 15 seconds, then carefully lift the towel to check on the fusing. You can repeat as necessary to secure everything.
Here’s the piece after it’s been fused:
Now, you’re ready to stitch! Come back next week where I will finish this mini class by showing you the stitches I use. I also have a couple of mini-tutorial videos where I am demonstrating the stitching.
The drawing for wool applique supplies is still going! Leave a comment below or ask me any questions you may have on today’s mini class. I’ll try to answer them as best as I can. You will be entered into the drawing for these items:
The drawing will be on Monday, August 17th. Good luck! ***We have a winner! Congrats, Donna Schulz!***
Until next week… Happy stitching!
I have wanted to do wool applique ever since the Wooly Adventures started a few years ago. This really helps me to understand how it works. Thank you so much for your tutorial.
Judith B says
As a beginner in wool embroidery I really appreciate your handy tips and the pictures really help too. Thank you.
Don a says
Thx for the info! Why do you use a towel and spray bottle rather than a steam iron? Just wondering!
I use the towel and spray bottle because it’s a more even steaming. And, I also never put water in my iron.
Terri Karasch says
I like the tip on using the damp, white towel for fusing. Looks to be more effective than using steam from the iron. Thank you!
Caprice R. Shroats says
I love wool appliqué! I just found this today and signed up for your newsletter immediately! I had double knee replacements several months before the pandemic sent everyone home and haven’t been sewing since then, these weekly demonstrations will assist me in getting out some wool and trying to find my sewing bag. Thanks!