While I was working in a fabric store several years ago, the manager asked me to make a quilted jacket, decorated with a fusible appliqué design from any of the books sold in the store. As I recall, I rolled my eyes at the suggestion. While I have always loved the look of appliqué and the intricacy of the designs, my patience with doing needle-turned appliqué is pretty much nonexistent. I read the directions for fusible appliqué with some trepidation, but soon realized that this was something I could manage.I choose to use the milkweed pods and pussy willows featured in Debbie Field’s great book Nature’s Way, published by Granola Girl. Her designs really spoke to me. Growing up in the woodsy part of Minnesota, we gathered pussy willows and milkweed pods and made all sorts of things out of them. And so I created my Pussy Willow Jacket, which hung in the store long enough to get really dusty! The Granola Girl books, and some fun tools that make fusible appliqué even easier, flew off the shelves as other sewers decided to adorn pillows, clothing, and table runners with the lovely North Woods designs. You will see more about Debbie Field’s great patterns later in this post (oh—a giveaway hint!) You may already be very comfortable with this method of appliqué, but I know there are total beginners lurking out there. So I am offering two very simple, free patterns of my own for you to use while learning this fun technique, and will walk you through them here. You can create two lovely appliquéd gift bags, and you do not need any new tools. When you are done, move on and take a look at the Cardinals in Aspens wall hanging demonstration for more tips, and to see what delights await you as your skills in this technique develop.
Tutorial: Two Fusible Appliqué Gift Bags
Very popular with youth groups.
click any photo to enlarge
Bag One: Present: Materials needed for bag size ideal for book or small gifts:
- Fabric, prewashed piece about 9 by 30 inches for bag, does not have to be exact
- 4 by 4 inch colorful fabric scrap, in color that pops off the bag (prewashed)
- 36 inches of ¼” ribbon in contrast color
- 4 by 4¼ inch piece of fusible product such as Heat n Bond Lite®
- Iron, sewing machine, threads, scissors, and needle and thread to tack bow on.
Bag Two: Cupcake: Materials needed for bag size ideal for book or small gifts:
- Fabric, prewashed piece about 15 by 18 inches for bag, does not have to be exact
- Cupcake: 3 by 5 inch colorful fabric scrap, in color that pops off the bag (prewashed)
- Icing: 2½ by 6 inch fabric scrap (prewashed)
- Candle: small fabric scrap about 1½ inch by 4 inches (prewashed)
- Flame: fabric scrap about 1 by 2 inches (prewashed)
- 18 inches of ribbon or yarn in contrast color
- 4 by 8 inch piece of fusible product such as Heat n Bond Lite®
- Templates for cupcake parts from pattern below. (Click and print.)
- Iron, sewing machine, threads, pencil, and scissors.
Bag One: Present: Assembling the bag: click any photo to enlarge
Fold bag fabric in half and press into a 9 by 15 inch rectangle, making a sharp crease. Open up and place a pin about 1½ inches up from the crease on one side to mark bottom of present. The crease will be the bottom of your gift bag (Photo 1.) Trim a ¼ inch strip off your Heat n Bond Lite® leaving a four-inch square, save strip for ribbon (Photo 2.) Following the manufacturer’s directions for iron temperature and pressing time, fuse the Heat n Bond Lite® square to the BACK side of the four inch fabric square, keeping the paper side to your iron. Do not overheat (Photo 3.)
Peel the paper off the ‘present’ and set fusing side down on the open bag. Align bottom of ‘present’ to pin, then remove pin (Photo 4.) Fuse the ‘present’ in place (Photo 5.) Cut a four-inch length of the ribbon, and fuse the reserved piece of Heat n Bond Lite® to the back side of ribbon, with paper side of fusing material facing the iron (Photo 6.)
Remove paper from ribbon, and fuse to the middle of the present (as shown in Photo 7.) Let cool, then set sewing machine to straight stitch with medium length, and stitch around the ‘present’ just inside the edge, catching the ends of the ribbon when you cross them (Photo 8.) If you desire, a narrow zigzag stitch could be used instead. Fold bag so that the appliqué is on the inside, and stitch the two side seams using a 3/8 inch seam allowance (Photo 9.)
Turn bag right-side out, and press. Then turn the open edge under ¼ inch, press, turn again and press again to make a finished edge for bag. Stitch this hem in place (Photo 10.) Cut 18 inches from the remaining ribbon and reserve for tying the bag shut. Tie the 14 inch length into a bow, trimming ends as needed, and hand tack in place at the top of the ‘present’ (Photo 11.) Your gift bag is done! (Photo 12.)
Bag Two: Cupcake: Assembling the bag: click any photo to enlarge
Fold bag fabric in half and press into a 9 by 15 inch rectangle, making a sharp crease. Open the bag up and place a pin about 1¾ inches up from the open bag bottom to mark bottom of the cupcake. The crease will be the side of your gift bag this time (see Photo 13.) Trace the four pieces of the pattern on to your Heat n Bond Lite®, using a pencil. Place them closely, but allow at least ¼ inch of space between them (Photo 14.) Roughly cut the four pieces out, but DO NOT CUT ON THE LINES (Photo 15.)
Following the manufacturer’s directions for iron temperature and pressing time, fuse the Heat and Bond Lite® square to the BACK side of each selected fabric piece, keeping the paper side to your iron. Do not overheat (Photo 16.) Carefully cut out each of the four pieces along the traced lines. A small scissors can be helpful for this step (Photo 17.) With the protective paper still intact, lay out the pieces on the open bag to check for placement. Adjust the marking pin’s position, if needed (Photo 18.)
Remove the appliqué pieces from the bag, and peel the paper off the ‘cupcake base’ only. Set the ‘cupcake base’ back in place, remove the marking pin, and fuse in position (Photo 19.) Peel the protective paper off the ‘cupcake icing’ and fuse in place on the bag, using the placement guide on the pattern. It should slightly cover the top edge of the ‘cupcake base’ (Photo 20.) Peel the protective paper off the ‘candle’ and fuse in place on the bag, using the placement guide on the pattern. It should overlap the ‘cupcake icing’ and appear to be stuck in the frosting (Photo 21.)
Peel the protective paper off the ‘flame’ and fuse in place on the bag, using the placement guide on the pattern. I like it to hover slightly above the candle, or right at the edge, and I do not overlap this piece (Photo 22.) Let cool, then set sewing machine to straight stitch with medium length, and stitch around the flame, then the candle, starting and ending with a locking stitch. If you desire, a narrow zigzag stitch could be used instead for all sections of the cupcake. You may want to use a thread color to match your fabric (Photo 23.) Starting and ending with a locking stitch next to one side of the candle, stitch around the ‘cupcake icing’ to the other side of the candle (Photo 24.)
Starting and ending with a locking stitch next to the ‘cupcake icing’, stitch around the ‘cupcake base’ to the other side (Photo 25.) Fold bag so that the appliqué is on the inside, and stitch the bottom and side seam using a 3/8 inch seam allowance (Photo 26.) Turn bag right-side out, and press. Then turn the open edge under ¼ inch, press, turn again and press again to make a finished edge for bag. Stitch this hem in place as in Photo 10, above. Your bag is complete! Use the 18 inch ribbon to tie your bag shut (Photo 27.)
If these bags have left you interested in more items to make, my Lady Bug Mug Rug is another great simple fusible appliqué project. Or read on for more intricate ideas.
Demo: Cardinals in Aspens, techniques and tips
If making these projects has left you eager for more, or if you are already experienced in fusible appliqué and want to check out my tips, then take a look at the Cardinals in Aspens demonstration, a selection from Debbie Field’s book Nature’s Way. I first made a wall hanging version of this for a friend, but I liked it so much that I have long wanted to make one for myself. I asked Debbie if I could use it as a demonstration piece here, and she kindly agreed.
This project is assembled in very much the same manner as the Cupcake gift bag, but it has lots more pieces and layers. The demo uses a few tools that are optional, but quite handy. If you want to learn to do more complex fusible appliqué, take a look and see how straightforward it really is. While the demonstration does not include Debbie’s pattern, it is full of tips and techniques to help you create a wonderful piece on your own. Towards the end, the Cardinals in Aspen Demonstration also addresses some FAQ’s that my readers have presented about fusible appliqué.
And now, the Giveaway!
First off, a super big HELLO and thank you to Debbie Field from Granola Girl Designs. Debbie has inspired this post, and given me permission to feature her pattern in a demonstration. On top of that, Granola Girl has generously donated three autographed books for this giveaway.
“Take time for quilting and enjoy the outdoors. Life is full of memories. Make sure you have a nice place to keep them. Quilt it!” – Debbie Field’s signature advice to all quilters.
- A copy of the book Nature’s Way, autographed by Debbie. Designs from this book are featured in the Cardinals and Aspens demo and the Pussy Willow Jacket. This book has over 20 projects from table runners to vests, wall hanging to quilts. If you like her cardinals, you will love her chickadees!
- And an 8½ by 11 inch sheet of Heat n Bond Lite®, with directions for use. That’s enough to do a few gift bags or some smaller projects from the book.
You can enter through 1/10/2011, and the winners will be selected at random and announced on 1/11/2011. Two winners will be selected here on The Curious Quilter blog, and the third from my Facebook page (see below.) International entries are welcomed. There are many ways to enter—try them all:
- Required: Leave a comment (reply) below and tell me what you want to try with fusible appliqué.
- Visit Debbie’s Granola Girl Designs blog or the Granola Girl Designs website and find something you really like, then come back and leave another comment (reply) here, sharing it with us all. Be sure to check out the really fun set of “Home for the Holidays” patterns Debbie is sharing with her readers through the end of January 2011. Free pattern offer has ended.
- Talk about this giveaway and link it to your blog (be sure to come back here and comment, telling me you did that!)
- Hop over to The Curious Quilter on Facebook and leave a comment there for a chance to win the third book.
- Mary, The Curious Quilter
©2010, The Curious Quilter, thecuriousquilter.net, maryeoriginals.com.