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.
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
- 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.
- Fuse (iron) the paper backed fusible adhesive to the appliqué fabric, following the manufacturers instructions.
- Adhere the fabric firmly to the cutting mat removing paper backing if necessary.
- Cut appliqué and carefully remove from mat.
- Fuse (iron) the appliqué in the desired position on to your project.
- 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!