My quest for perfect applique

Earlier this year I finished my first block of the month quilt, purchased from Joann’s Fabric. It would be the second quilt I ever made solely on my own and my first attempt at applique. I have to say the undertaking was quite ambitious on my part and at the time I had no idea that this type of quilt would be my Whale but since the finishing of that first quilt, a secondary BOTM (Natures Garden) and the third Albatross called Petal Power Duo, I have indeed come a long way in a short amount of time.

In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about applique, except for that one piece of fabric would sit atop of another and be stitched down. I hadn’t looked at any stabilizer products much less used any on my first quilt. And one would think that in this day in age, something that sounds so simple would be simple. Maybe it was before the days of the interfacing and stabilizer revolution. I have talked to several people now about their preferences in products and  applique techniques, and though it seems that they have their favorites due to finding something that worked the first time out or an old stand by because their mother used it, it almost seems as though they have a limited opinion or next to none about the wide variety of products and how to utilize them to their advantage. A friend of mine (who has been quilting for 20+ years) confided in me last week that she didn’t know how to do applique and could I show her? Of course you know this just spurred me on to try every product within reason, test it on different type, size fabric pieces and this is what I came up with.

Pellon makes great stabilizer products. There are several types to choose from and each one has a specific purpose for which it is made.

Pellon Wash-N-Gone

Pellon Wash-N-Gone is a magical little number if you are working on a quilt with applique  that seems to have a million little pieces made up of circles, leaves, petals, stems and/or your doing embroidery/monogramming work. Wash-N-Gone stabilizes your product and at that same time, save’s you the trouble of trimming or removing the excess as it dissolves in any temperature of water. FYI, don’t handle with wet hands, it works that good.

Heat’n Gone

Pellon Wonder Under or Heat’n Bond Fusible Web is fantastic as it is an iron on product. This is great for a medium size applique projects or to use on any one individual cut out. To keep your applique from being stiff on your quilt, you would have to use the webbing on the outside edges of your cut though. Trying to remove the inner excess afterwords is hard work and risky.

Pellon Stitch’n Tear

Pellon Stitch’n Tear is fabulous to use for large applique in size and quantity. It’s thicker and stiffer than other stabilizers, which makes it easier for pinning and leaves your finished product laying flatter than others that might come out with a little poof.  Especially if you satin stitch your applique. Stitch’n Tear is cheap, so you don’t feel bad about anything you waste and the time you save for not having to cut  the excess away with scissors is, well… you cant put a price that.

And finally, a word on  “fabric glue stick.” Use it. It’s simple, cheap and it works. I rubbed it on the backside of the flower petals and stuck it to the block where I wanted it. I ran an iron over it and it stayed for days before I got around to sewing it together. I haven’t had the opportunity yet, to try any of  the spray on adhesives other interfacing/stabilizer brands like Peltex or Sulky but I imagine they all work pretty well and much the same.

As I always, I hope you found this topic interesting if not useful. If there is anyone out there who has a testimonial on this subject, I would be very interested in hearing it. Have a great day and happy stitching.


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