Friday, October 29, 2010


Chris Moose.
I appliqued this little fella as
part of my Calendar Critters

When I do machine applique, I like to back the project with a stabilizer to keep it from shrinking up and puckering. For most applications my favorite is a heavy weight tear away stabilizer. For this, I’m not brand fussy. I simply check to ensure that it will tear away nicely and if it does that’s good enough for me. Because it is not remaining in the project, often a generic or cheaper version will serve as well as the top end products.

I like the tear away stabilizer because I rarely wash my finished projects immediately. (I believe that my studio is clean and neat and that the project is not getting dirty while I work.) The advantage of tear away is that I can tear away it off, add the blocks to the quilt and finish up. Viola. It is done. When tearing away, if you are having trouble tearing, place the tip of your finger against the edge of the stitching and tear with your other hand. This will support the stitches enough to get the ripping started. Tiny bits that are left behind in tight spaces can be pulled away with tweezers or left behind.

Some projects require different types of stabilizers. There are wash away, iron away, cut away, and fusible stabilizers. Fusibles stay in place when the project is completed, adding stability to the finished project. This is fabulous for embroidery on very lightweight fabrics. The fusible helps support the embroidery and prevents distortion of the item.

Iron away turns into a fine ash when heated with the iron and brushes off. I’m not sure what the application for this would be. Cut away can be cut away from behind an applique and the remainder will soften in the wash. It allows you to add a lot of stitching and trim away the excess, but leave the stabilizer behind your work. Wash away will wash away in the laundry. It is great for projects you plan to shape. Instead of washing it away fully, you rinse lightly and shape the object while still sticky. It dries like a starched object.

Now, go and applique or embroider something. I want to hear about what you are working on.

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