Tuesday Tip – Working With Fusible Applique

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Tips for working with fusible web applique when you have tiny pieces.

I was working on a fusible applique project today.

(If you’re new to fusible applique, here’s the short course on how it works – you trace the shape you want on the paper side, then iron that to the wrong side of your fabric. Cut the shape out along the drawn line, then remove the paper backing. Now the fusible glue is on the wrong side of your applique, and you can fuse it to a background fabric.)

Anyway, some of the pieces were skinny little letters, with parts that were less than a quarter inch wide, and I was struggling to remove the paper backing.

fusible applique letter W

The fusible wanted to come away with the backing, and the edges of the letters were getting frayed. So were my nerves…..

Then I tried something new. I traced off a new letter. Fused it to the fabric. But I didn’t cut it out. I peeled the paper backing off first. (By the way, did you know if you take a straight pin and score the paper in the center of the unit, you can then grab and peel the paper from there, instead of starting at an edge where you run the risk of fraying?)

Use the point of a pin to score the paper to make it easier to remove from your fusible applique piece

Step 2 - Peel paper backing off fusible applique piece BEFORE cutting out

So I bet you’re wondering how I’m going to cut the shape if I no longer have the drawing to follow? Well, you know how that paper has a lot of static and wants to cling to your fingers? It will also cling back to the piece of fabric you just removed it from. I just placed it back on top and held on carefully while I made my cuts:

Step 3 - Place paper back on and hold carefully while first cutting out inside of shape.

(Another tip – I like to cut my inside details out first, while there’s still a lot of the shape to hold onto. Then I’ll do the larger outside cuts.)

It worked really well! Look at how nice and neat these letters turned out – and notice the size from the ruler on my cutting mat!

Finished fusible applique pieces, only 1/4 inch wide

Now the next big question is…..what on earth am I working on that I need to spell “EEL” on my project???????

Stay tuned, I’ll try to post a photo of it tomorrow.


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