Thursday, February 17, 2011

This question still comes up

Hi Melody,
I'm one of the QAWM quilters. I have an applique question to ask you. I usually do applique myself, but when I cut out applique shapes, I sew around the shapes with a blanket or zigzag stitch to keep the applique in place. Then I will quilt my quilt. But I have noticed that with art quilters like yourself, Freida Anderson and Laura Wasilowski, that you seem to just fuse and quilt. Don't your appliques ever fray or come loose? When I tried to fuse and quilt like that the edges of my appliques came up and definitely looked raw and frayed. Is there some trick to your applique method that I am missing?
I know some people also straight stitch with invisible thread around the applique shapes, but you have to be so careful and sew very close to the edge, certainly not my idea of fun! Any words of wisdom or advice you can offer me?
Thanks Melody. I love your blog and your gorgeous quilts!

Dear Daryl,

Yes, we all have one BIG TRICK. It is that we use hand dyed fabrics, which
#1 don't have as loose a weave as commercial quilt fabric
#2 don't have a factory finish, aka 'resinous coating' that makes fabrics more permanent press (cannot be washed out) and which prevents perfect bonding
#3 we fuse to other hand dyed fabric, so perfect bonding is accomplished.
#4 are good on both sides, which is to say are not printed on one side with the unprinted backside threads causing a visual problem.

In past blog posts I have mentioned trying to work some commercial fabrics into my work, taking care to make sure the edges are covered with fused fabrics and carefully stitching in the ditch to keep them pasted down!
Reply from Daryl:
Thanks Melody,

I'm assuming batik fabrics would also be better as they are a tighter weave too?
Reply from me:
I have had a lot of trouble fusing batiks. Something prevents them from really staying put too. I know they are not really waxed but I don't know for sure why they peel up.
Kona is really loosely woven and I find that it frays easily when fused.

In my stash I have far more fused fabric than I have unfused commercial fabric. And when the current quilt is finished (maybe today...) I will be going back to fusing for the rest of the Quilt Along. I have ideas! 


  1. Melody
    Thanks for answering this question ...I have wondered as well about fusing and all makes sense now
    Love your blog

    Blueys Beach NSW

  2. Didn't you also mean to mention that your fused quilts are also not meant to be washed?

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