Let’s talk fusibles

This conversation came up yesterday with Judy Danz, and I thought you would all like to be in on it too. Judy mentioned that in many of her classes she uses glue stick to baste the pieces in place before stitching rather than fusible. I have done that when I am using a satin stitch on the applique. And it works beautifully and leaves the applique nice and soft in the end. It also does not gum up the needle as I thought it might. And you don’t even have to get up from the embroidery machine. I was able to find a piece of cardboard that was firm enough and thin enough to place under my hoop while at the machine, so I barely had to slip the hoop off the clamp to add the glue.

However, on the applique stitch, I have been using fusible just because I was thinking the stitches might fray a bit if I didn’t. The stitches that I am using to digitize are so close together that they probably won’t fray no matter what – so I’m going to try this experiment, wash it a few times and I’ll let you know how it comes out.

I use almost all the different types of fusible depending on what is available at any given time. But I’ll tell you what works for me and then you can make your own decisions. My top favorites are Mistyfuse and Stitch Witchery. Thirty years ago I made baby quilts for my children and those baby quilts are still in use today with the grandchildren and are just as nice as ever. They were fused with Stitch Witchery because that was the only fusible available at the time. Mistyfuse has come along and it is a bit lighter than Stitch Witchery, and I can find it a little more readily. These fusibles do not come on paper, so I have to lay them between two pieces of parchment, press, and then peel one piece off or lay them on the back side of the fabric and layer parchment on top. They leave the fabric nice and soft and fuse nicely.

Paper backed fusibles that I have used include Wonder Under and Steam a Seam. I love Wonder Under and like Steam A Seam Lite. The regular Steam A Seam is too heavy for appliqué, in my opinion; although I do use it when making boxes and things like that.

And that’s my two cents on fusibles.


Here’s Judy’s turtle


My Purple Turtle stitched by Judy Danz

Judy stitched up the turtle on her Bernina and it looks great. The center circle was a little long and we talked about the variabilities that occur with different fabrics and different fusibles and the dies. This is just the nature of the beast, and we talked about how accurate the fit must be between the appliqué stitch and the dies in order to work with machine embroidery. This does make me rethink my digitizing so I can add some stitches to account for that factor. But–the machine embroidery is so much fun that I am going to try to keep manipulating the fabric with complete abandon and will stick pin the edges and fuse them first and deal with the middle last.  I’m sure that will land me in trouble sooner or later. . .I’ll let you know 🙂


Another turtle – and last day to Vote for the Barn Quilt Block

I’m having a lot of fun reading everyone’s comments and have started sending out embroidery files. I extended the giveaway through Friday and will send files out for comments posted through Friday, April 22. In the meantime, I made a couple more turtles – just for a little variety – here is a photo of one.

Star turtle

Turtle Applique Using Accuquilt Die Cut Shapes and a Giveaway

I have been digitizing some embroidery for all kinds of quilt blocks from Rose of Sharon to whimsical blocks for children’s quilts. I love applique done with the traditional applique or blanket stitch, but find it difficult to cut accurately enough to make it work as perfectly as I would like using the embroidery machine. In addition, it is important to me to have as few thread changes and steps as possible and still have beautiful embroidery. So that was my challenge. Because of a love for turtles, that was my choice for this.

Initially, I digitized my own turtle drawing and then cut the fabric and made the applique turtle. Several issues were immediately apparent. When I cut the shape, it didn’t fit exactly the way I have digitized it – even though I drew the pattern from the stitched embroidery lines. Part of the reason for that is the width of the drawn/cutting line. Another thing that was a real problem was the amount of time it took to cut the shapes. These two things alone made me realize how important it is to use die cuts for machine embroidery.

After that experiment, I determined which shapes I would need to make a turtle using the Accuquilt dies. I chose the large hexagon and a medium circle for the body and shell, the curved feather shapes for the legs, and a small circle for the head. I took those shapes (with fusible on one side) and pressed them onto parchment paper to see how this would look. Here are some of the versions of what I got. It took several iterations to get the eyes, legs and head exactly the way I wanted them.

Here are some of the various versions.  The final version has eyes like the one with the green body and  checkered shell, legs like the one with the red body and yellow legs, and a shorter tail.

Versions of the turtle


Shapes for turtle


Turtle Dies


Hoop the fabric, stitch the dielines, then remove the hoop from the machine for fusing the shapes.

Die lines for placing turtle shapes

This is the dragonfly, but shows how I fuse the shapes. Because all fabric has a slightly different hand and the fusible also adds some variables, the shapes should be pinned to fit the dielines exactly–you may have to give a little “stretch” to it or “scrunch” it in a bit to make it fit. In the end, it looks great because of the wonderful forgiveness of all those variables.

Pinning shape to dieline


I remove the pins as I press.

Pressing shape onto dielines

Next comes stitching the tail, then fusing the shapes to the dielines.

Stitch tail, then fuse legs, body, and head

Stitch the embroidery around the shapes.

Machine stitch the embroidery

Then stitch the dieline for the center circle, fuse the fabric to the dieline, and stitch.

This is the end result:


Finished size: 6.05 x 8.15 inches (154 x 207 mm).

If you would like to have a copy of the embroidery file for this turtle, please leave a comment on this blog and become a follower of this blog, LIKE  Accuquilt on Facebook, by Friday, April 22. I will email a link to the file to each commenter. In addition, one lucky person (random drawing) will receive ready-to-fuse die cuts for nine brightly colored turtles – just enough to make a baby quilt. Enter to win the shapes even if you don’t have an embroidery machine – you can still use the applique stitch on your machine to make a very cute baby quilt.

No-reply bloggers will not get a response as I must have an email address for the winner–make sure your email address is included in some way.