Fused Fabric Appliqué

Tribal Heart_Wings Block_sm

There are many forms of appliqué used in sewing and quilting to depict artwork that is not easily pieced. Appliqué is defined as; ornamentation, as a cutout design, that is sewn on to or otherwise applied to a piece of material. While traditionally sewn to the background fabric with hand stitching, modern methods have opened up this style to many sewists that want a faster and still beautiful treatment of appliqué on their projects. Over the next few of my posts I will discuss the ways our cutting machines can help us out with these modern methods.

The easiest method by far, is to adhere the appliqué by fusing the fabric to the background. Fusible web, a paper backed adhesive product, is ironed on to the back of the fabric to be used for the appliqué shape. Then a pattern is traced to the paper side of the fusible and the shape is cut out. Once the paper is peeled off the shape can be placed in the desired position on the background and fused (ironed) into place. The edge of the cut fabric is left raw so depending on the wear that the item will receive, the sewer can then choose to machine stitch around the edges to secure it permanently.

When cutting these shapes out by hand with scissors, it can be tiresome to cut small or intricate shapes. But by converting the patterns to SVG digital files, we can have our cutting machines do this tedious work for us!

The key to cutting fabric on a cutting machine is proper stabilization of the fabric so it does not move and stretch during the cutting process. A very sticky mat is recommended and depending on the fusible product you use you may need to remove the paper backing as some products have a slick paper that does not adhere well to the mat. It is also best to use a blade made for cutting fabric, such as the KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Fabric Blade.


KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Fabric Blade

KNK Zing/Zing Air 12″ x 12″ Extra Sticky Mat Set (Green Grid)  

Fabric for appliqué

Fusible paper backed adhesive –  I prefer the Print n’ Fuse product as it comes in 8½” x 11” sheets. Steam a Seam Lite is also a good choice.

I used my own original design, Tribal Heart with Wings, which I share with you! CWest_Tribal Heart_Wings

Maxx Air Settings for Fabric

  • Blade = Yellow Blade
  • Blade height = 25
  • Force =55 to 85 depending on the thickness of the fabric
  • Velocity = 200
  • # Passes = 1 to 2
  • Blade Offset = .35

Tribal Heart_Wings


  1. Create your appliqué design by drawing in a program like Corel or Make the Cut! or scanning a purchased pattern and converting the image to a SVG file by your favorite method.
  2. Fuse (iron) the paper backed fusible adhesive to the appliqué fabric, following the manufacturers instructions.
  3. Adhere the fabric firmly to the cutting mat removing paper backing if necessary.
  4. Cut appliqué and carefully remove from mat.
  5. Fuse (iron) the appliqué in the desired position on to your project.
  6. For a permanent attachment, stitch around the edges of the appliqué to secure it to the background.

If you have embroidery digitizing software, you can create an appliqué embroidery file to do the final stitching for you!


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About Candace West

Candace West is a multiple national award winning quilt artist and educator, whose art has been displayed at all major quilt show venues such as the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX, and the American Quilting Society show in Paducah, KY and many others nationwide. Her award winning quilts and garments have appeared in several major magazines. A love of teaching and sharing the techniques that can make anyone’s quilts show worthy, is her mission.

7 thoughts on “Fused Fabric Appliqué

    • Caroline,
      Thanks! I started with the setting recommendations in the Maxx Air User Manual. My final settings were good for my variables (fabric type and fusible). Your setting will be different based on your fabric and fusible combination. As always you need to test, until you have a satisfactory result. But the settings in the user manual were real close. My machine tends to need a greater force than the user manual settings on most materials. Not sure why there would be a difference between different versions of Maxx machines, unless the Air has greater force? It is rated at 1500 gram of pressure, what is yours rated at?

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