by Terry White
Appliqué is a sewing technique by which you apply one piece of fabric to another. Over the years there have been many different types of appliqué techniques developed by ingenious stitchers. For this project, I am going to use fusible web and machine stitching.
I decided to add a blue cat and oranges to this patchwork quilt. Here is a photo of the quilt in progress. The “Blue Cat” or in some instances “Jazz Cat” is one of my recurring design motifs. With the addition of the dark blue cat, I found that deeply colored oranges set off the design and the color of this quilt. The bright green leaves also add an interest of color to the design.
Notice the positioning of each appliqué element. The oranges are offset on yellow blocks. The green leaves are positioned on adjoining yellow blocks. The blue cat is layered over a piece of yellow fabric so that he remains a separate design element. In other words, the design lines of the cat remain separate and don’t melt into the surrounding blue squares.
A Little Story:
When I was little Girl Scout, (growing up in California) our troop went to a Mexican street fair. I bought a blue flocked plaster cat bank. My name was applied with glitter on the back. I thought that it was the most beautiful thing in the world. We also had an orange tree in our backyard. These are the sources for my imagery in this quilt.
A very easy way to do machine appliqué is to use a product known as “fusible web”. There are different types of fusible web and they have different purposes. You can find this at any fabric store, just ask the sales people.
For this project, I am using a paper backed fusible web. It is very important when using this product to test it with your iron and fabric. Understand how hot your iron should be and how long the iron should be applied to the paper and fabric.
For this quilt, I’ll show three different techniques for using the fusible web. One method (the most straight forward) I will use with the leaves.
The paper on the back of the web is like tracing paper. You can see designs through it to trace with a pencil.
Rough cut around the leaf shapes. Iron green fabric to the glue side. I used scraps of different green fabrics. This is a scrap quilt, after all. The various green fabrics create a more lively design.
Pull a little bit of the paper backing off before cutting out the leaf shape. I call this the pre-pull. It makes it easier to pull the paper backing off once the leaf shape is cut out.
Cut out the leaf shapes.
I like to use Havel’s curved scissors for this.
You get a really nice curve to the shape when you cut.
Pull the paper backing off.
Place the leaves on the yellow squares on the quilt. Fuse the shapes according to manufacturer’s directions. The leaf shapes are ready to stitch to the quilt by machine.
Terry White is a studio fiber artist. She has been doing this work since 1996, and she discovered the techniques she uses: threadpaint, machine appliqué, piece, quilt, embellish with beads, fibers and minutiae with sewing machine techniques, through experimentation and self-study. Terry teaches these techniques through classes and videos. Over the years Terry has been published in over 50 articles in magazines and books, including: McCall’s Needlework; Quilter’s Newsletter; Machine Embroidery and Textile Arts; CMA trade magazine; Stitch n Sew Quilts; Quick n Easy Quilts; Quilt World magazine and Calendar; Quilting Arts Calendar 2003; America from the Heart; America’s Best; America Sews. She is a wife, stitcher, artist, sister, mother, friend, nana, gardener, baker, writer, student, teacher and American. See more of Terry’s work at www.threadpaint.com.