Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pitfall and Pearls of Blanket Stitch Applique Part 2

The most popular post I have written is about how I do my blanket stitch applique. That post deals mostly with the actual sewing of the block and as I have been working hard on prepping blocks for Roseville Album I thought I would add a few details about the prepping process of the blocks that will be blanket stitch appliqued.

*if your pattern is not reversed you must put it face down on your light box and trace the applique fusible from the back. My favorite fusible web is Lite Steam A Seam 2 (there is a regular Steam a Seam 2 that is much heavier), it is double stick fusible web and very light weight, it is lighter weight than light Heat and Bond. *I number the applique pieces on the back of the pattern and on the inside edge of the traced applique pieces, I frequently will even put a arrow point up so it is easier to place flowers and other round applique shapes.
*I do not feel the need to window - leaving just ¼ inch of fusible on the inside edge of the applique shape - when I use the Lite Steam A Seam 2 (SAS2 from here on in this post)- it is that light weight that it does not really add bulk to the applique pieces. I do however window so I can use the inside of some large pieces for other applique shapes-SAS2 is expensive and it helps to use those spaces. *Bias stems are so quick and easy! I iron a square of the fusible on the back of the fabric on a 45 degree angle and than just rotary cut scant ¼ inch strips as I need them for stems. They bend and curve with the fusible on the back of the fabric just as a sewn bias stem will.
*Multiple layer applique shapes I build (iron the shapes together) on an applique pressing sheet and then move to the background fabric. Did you know that you can make an applique pressing sheet by removing the fusible web material from the paper on either SAS2 or Heat and Bond? You can iron your applique shapes onto that paper and it will peel off just like a more expensive pressing sheet.

*I pin my background fabric to the pattern and place it back on the light box to start adding the applique pieces to the block.I lay out all of the pieces that have been cut out in numerical order and start building the block.
*Because SAS2 is double stick fusible it allow the pieces to be moved around but has the applique pieces stay where placed until the final pressing with a hot iron. This allows me to hang up a block and look at it from a distance and make sure I like all of the fabrics I have chosen for the block. I like to pin blocks to a quilt that hangs in my great room and see the block in the normal light of my home.
* I frequently spray starch my assembled block before I start blanket stitching, it gives it a little body and cuts down on little eyelash fraying (which can be trimmed with a fine scissors or even a fingernail clipper). I have several Roseville Album blocks prepped and ready to blanket stitch. I like having the blocks ready for when I can find a few minutes here and there to sit and sew.I like hand applique and machine blanket stitch applique equally as well and I really can’t say why I choose to do one quilt by hand and another by machine but I generally have one of each going.

Happy Stitching


  1. Thanks, it is fun to see how others work. I usually use Heat and Bond light but tried SAS2 when working on a Michelle Hill pattern. As you say it is expensive but really worth it on some projects. Thanks for the starching tip, I will try that next time!

  2. Wow, Cheri, you do amazing work.