How to use fusible interfacing for applique successfully
In this tutorial, I want to show you how to machine applique with fusible web so you can transform plain fabric into wealth of colors, textures, and shapes. Fusible web makes creating beautiful applique projects easy and fast.
Best fusible web for applique
Fusible web is a type of fusible interfacing (read all about fusible interfacing in my other tutorial) which has adhesive on both sides. Usually, one side of fusible web is paper-backed (sometimes both sides have the paper-backing though) and you have to peel it away to bond two fabric pieces together.
Fusible web is perfect to use for applique because you can position an applique very easy and very precisely and secure it to the base fabric without pinning or basting. It holds the applique in place and you don’t have to worry about it shifting. Also, fusible web stabilizes the applique fabric which makes it easier to cut and stitch. Fusible web also prevents (to some degree) fabric from fraying which is really helpful.
The paper that covers one side of fusible web is very convenient for tracing applique designs.
There are many types and weights of fusible web. The most popular brands are
Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself.
Get more info on fusible web here
Pellon Wonder Under Fusible Web Regular Weight-15"X2 Yards
- Safe for Machines
- 15" wide
- Machine Wash Warm, Dry Low or Dry Clean
- 100% Polyester
- 15" x 2 yard package
Pellon Wonder Under Fusible Web Heavy Duty, 17-Inch by 25-Yard
$55.00 in stock
- Great for wearable or home decor projects where extra adhesive is needed
- Easy to follow instructions are included
- Measures: 17 x 25yds
Pellon 805 Wonder Under Fusible Web- 17 Inch W x 35yds White
$84.67 out of stock
- Wonder Under Fusible Web 18 Inch Wide 35 Yards -- Paper backed Wonder Under fusible web is great fo
Pellon Wonder-Under 805 - 17" x 10 yards
$28.55 in stock
- Fuses Fabric to Fabric
- 17" wide
- Machine Wash or Dry and Dry Clean
- 100% Polyester
- 10 yard board
Warm Company Steam-A-Seam 5417 Lite 2 Double Stick Fusible Web 9"X12" Sheets 5/Pkg
$4.39 in stock
- Double sided temporary stick
- Ideal for sheer, lightweight fabric
- Large appliques will not bubble
- 5 sheet pack of 9" x 12" pieces
Steam-a-seam 2 and Steam-a-seam 2 Lite Package of Two 9" X 12" Sheets 5 Sheets in Each/total 10 Sheets
- Fusible double sided temporary web
- Sewing is not required but o.k
- Fuse fabric, lace, ribbon, paper and more
- Works with most printers
- Steam A Seam 2 and Steam A Seam Lite for lighter weight fabrics
FlexiFuse Lightweight Fusible Web - 25 Sheets (8" x 10.5")
- Lightweight Fusible Web
- Paper Backed
- Hand & Machine Sewable
- Durable Bond
- Smooth stitching with no needle gumming
HeatnBond Lite Iron-On Adhesive, 17 Inches x 35 Yards
$38.20 in stock
1 used from $36.29
- HeatnBond Lite is a roll of iron-on, sewable, double-sided adhesive for bonding fabric without extra weight or stiffness
- Use it in place of pinning or basting and just stitch right thru the adhered layers of fabric
- Heat activated; Permanent; Double-sided adhesive
- For use on fabric
- Does not gum up needles; Eliminates pinning
Heavyweight fusible web (like no-sew HeatNbond) is mostly used for appliques that are not stitched to the base fabric because this kind of fusible produces a good bond without any stitching. It’s best suited for appliques from vinyl, leather, denim, canvas and other heavyweight fabric. The adhesive on the heavyweight fusible web is more solid and can gum up the machine needle if you choose to stitch the applique.
Medium weight (all-purpose) fusible web is good to use with medium weight fabrics.
Lightweight fusible web (heatNbond lite) is used for lightweight fabrics and doesn’t make an applique stiff. Because of this, it can be used with any fabric if you want to use your finished product for clothes or bed linen so the applique and the fabric stay soft.
I prefer to use the lightweight fusible web because I don’t want my appliques to be stiff, I want my fabric to keep its drape and I don’t want to have problems with gumming up my needles.
Sometimes fusible web has a grid on the paper-backing which can help with positioning or enlarging appliques.
So let’s start our applique adventure. I am going to show you how to use all modern innovations for applique so it’s easier, faster and more fun. There are a variety of techniques for applique. I am going to use “raw edge applique”.
1. Choose your applique design.
You can draw it yourself, use printed coloring books, online coloring pages, you can Google whatever designs you want (go to Google, enter your design (for example, “rose flower”) – images – tools – type – line drawing) but be careful with copyright information – many designs are not free to use and you can buy them (really cheap). You can easily find applique designs online. I like designs from this site Planet Applique.
Have in mind that when using fusible web for your applique projects your designs will come out IN REVERSE when looked at from the interfacing side, so if the designs you choose are not symmetrical (it doesn’t apply for symmetrical designs, obviously) you need to draw your applique shapes backward. For example, if you want to applique letters using fusible web your letters will look like this when seen from the interfacing side.
2. Choose your fabric and fusible web.
Any type of fabric can be used for applique. Just have in mind that the applique fabric has to be compatible with the base fabric. For example, if you are going to wash the finished product, use fabric for an applique that’s also washable. It’s recommended to prewash your fabrics before cutting an applique. Also, it’s not really good to use for applique fabric that frays easily.
The next step can be done differently and I am going to show you that. The first method is to cut the fusible web first (3A to 8A) and the second one is to fuse it to the fabric first and cut after (3B to 6B). Which you choose is a matter of personal preference.
I advise you to test your fabric and fusible web combinations to see what works best for your project.
3 A. Use your home cutting machine to cut appliques.
I would say that the next step is tracing your design. But….
We live in the 21 century, right? So I will say — put your design on a USB drive and go to your home cutting machine.
Don’t have a cutting machine? Well, maybe it’s time to buy one?
You can use Cricut for cutting an applique design but I have Brother ScanNcut so I will use that.
I was making a fabric wreath and I needed 12 hexagon pieces to use as my applique pieces.
So I found the hexagon shape in my ScanNcut machine (that was easy, I didn’t need to save anything on my USB). Designs can be easily enlarged and reduced.
I loaded the mat with a piece of lightweight fusible web (the size of the mat) and the cutting machine cut my applique pieces very precisely and fast! Magic! I cut 4 pieces at once and had to repeat the procedure 2 more times for my wreath.
Get more info on home cutting machines here
Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint
$227.00 in stock
3 used from $201.05
- The Cricut Explore Air 2 is your personal DIY cutting machine. Make custom vinyl stickers, personalized home decor, unique greeting cards, custom designed apparel, and more
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- Design anywhere. Free access to Cricut's simple design software, Design Space. Create and design from your computer, tablet or mobile phone using the Cricut Design App for iOS and Android devices
- Make the perfect cut every time. The Smart Set Dial ensures that your machine cuts at the correct depth and pressure for any type of material
- Cuts 100+ materials. Cricut offers a wide range of materials specifically designed and tested for use with the Cricut machine including basic and specialty Vinyl colors, Iron-on Vinyls, Cardstock, Faux Leather, Adhesive Foils, Specialty Paper, Poster Board and more
Cricut Explore Air 2 Machine Bundle Iron On Vinyl Pack Tools Pen Design Beginner Guide
2 used from $275.49
- Provo Craft-Cricut Explore Air Machine 2 Mint with adjustable cutting and writing speed up to 2x faster. Cut through a variety of materials from paper and iron-ons, to adhesive vinyl- even thick materials like felt, burlap and lightweight leather.
- Smart Set dial adjusts to the material setting easily. This machine features built-in Bluetooth for wireless cutting, writing and cutting features, or cutting and scoring in one step.
- Upload your own images (.svg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, .gif, .dxf) use Cricut Design Space online software with an iPad app, computer, tablet, or smartphone to create personalized, professional looking DIY craft projects. Works with Cricut cartridges. Prints printable images.
- Bundle includes a Cricut Explore Air 2 machine; Built-in wireless Bluetooth; Cricut Design Space software & app access; German carbide premium blade (already installed in machine); Accessory Adapter (already installed in machine); USB cord and US Standard Power Cord); 100+ free images & 50+ free project ideas from Cricut's website.
- Also included are Getting started guide; Pen & cardstock sample; Cricut 12 in. x 12 in. StandardGrip cutting mat; 5 Cricut Color Candy Shop Pens; Cricut Tool Kit (Spatula, Scraper, Scissors, Hook Tool and Needle Point Tweezers); 8 sheets vinyl, 2 sheets transfer paper (colors may vary); 12 vinyl designs & project inspiration & technique book (digital); 4 Sheets Glitter Heat Transfer (colors may vary); 12 heat transfer vinyl designs & project inspiration & technique book (digital).
Cricut Maker, Champagne
$369.00 in stock
5 used from $285.99
- Cricut Maker gives you the freedom to make everything from paper crafts, iron-ons, and vinyl decals to sewing projects, leather crafts, and balsa models
- Expandable suite of tools. With its powerful blades, pens, and scoring tool, Cricut Maker grows with you as you learn each new craft
- New Rotary Blade. With its gliding, rolling action, this blade cuts through virtually any fabric quickly and accurately - without backing material
- New Knife Blade (sold separately; coming in 2018). This extra-deep blade slices through heavier materials like 2.4mm (3/32") balsa wood and matboard with ease
- Simplifies sewing and quilting projects. Choose from hundreds of digital sewing patterns, and Cricut Maker cuts and marks all the pieces - you just sew them together
Brother ScanNCut DX, SDX125, 5” LCD Touch Screen, Wireless Network Ready, 600 DPI Scanner, 682 Built-in Designs Home Electronic Cutting Machine Grey/Aqua
- CUTS UP TO 0.1" THICKNESS: The Brother Home Electronic Cutting Machine effortlessly cuts materials such as foam and felt with the Auto Blade. Material compatibility may vary. Always perform a trial/test cut to confirm a successful cut.
- ON-SCREEN EDITING: Editing designs is fast and easy. This ScanNCut machine comes with a 5" LCD touchscreen display.
- FULLY DETAILED DESIGNS: With 682 built-in designs, 100 quilt patterns, and 9 letter fonts, this Brother Cutting Machine produces detailed work.
- WIRELESS NETWORK READY: Wirelessly connect your PC or mobile device to transfer cut data from the Brother CanvasWorkspace application.
- PERFECT FOR QUILTERS AND SEWERS: The Brother SDX125 Electronic Cutting Machine provides a ¼" increment seam allowance to piece together fabric.
Brother CM350 Electronic Cutting Machine, Scanncut2, 4.85” LCD Touch Screen, Wireless Network Ready, 300 DPI Scanner, 631 Built-in Designs
- 300 DPI BUILT-IN SCANNER: The ScanNCut2 machine allows you to turn your scanned images into unique cut designs and patterns
- LARGE COLOR TOUCHSCREEN: The Brother ScanNCut2 CM350 includes a 4.85" LCD touchscreen that allows users to easily select functions
- WIRELESS NETWORK READY: The CM350 permits multiple connectivity options, including PC connectivity and standalone or wireless network connectivity
- LARGE SCANNING AND CUTTING AREA: Use the included 12" x 12" cutting mat or upgrade to a larger mat to create and cut a wide variety of designs
- ON-SCREEN EDITING: The Brother CM350 allows users to edit designs easily on the LCD touchscreen. Compatible operating systems: Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/Windows 8.1, Windows 10
Brother ScanNCut2 CM350 Scanner & Cutting Machine Fabric Applique & Rhinestone Kit Bundle
4 A. Now I have to fuse my applique pieces (cut from fusible web) to the applique fabric.
Always do a test first on a scrap piece of your applique fabric, so you can see how it works. Use manufacturer’s instructions coming with your fusible web so you know what is the correct iron temperature and whether to use steam or dry iron. You can adjust the iron temperature after testing. Sometimes manufacturers recommend to fuse using steam and sometimes you will need to use a dry iron.
I have chosen 100% silk brocade for my project. So I press the fusible side of my cut hexagon pieces to the wrong side of my silk applique pieces. Remember that you should always fuse fusible web on the wrong side of your applique fabric. I press for 3-5 seconds. You can use a pressing cloth but my applique pieces have the paper-backing and the iron can go over it without problems. My fabric is textured so the adhesive side of the fusible web doesn’t stick very easily to the fabric and I have to keep the iron a little longer to get a good bond. But don’t keep the iron too long also as the heat may scorch the fabric.
The applique should stick to the fabric so you can’t lift it.
Never iron on the adhesive side of the fusible web! You will make your iron dirty.
Buy just in case, in the clip below you will see the instructions on how to remove fusible web from your iron. I use Faultless Hot iron cleaner and it works great!
Buy Faultless hot iron cleaner here
Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner (2 Pack)
- FAULTLESS HOT-IRON CLEANER
- Non-toxic, Cleans while the iron is hot
- Removes residues from the soleplate of a HOT iron
- No need to wait for iron to cool down to clean it
- Easily removes melted synthetic fabrics, patch glue and starch
Faultless Starch 40110 Faultless Hot Iron Cleaner1oz (28 Grams)
- Cleans while the iron is hot.
- Removes residues from the soleplate of a HOT iron.
- No need to wait for iron to cool down to clean it.
- Easily removes melted synthetic fabrics, patch glue and starch.
Faultless 40105 Hot Iron Cleaner - 2 Pack
- This product adds a great value
- Product is highly durable and very easy to use
- This product is manufactured in China
5 A. In this step I am going to cut my applique pieces using my rotary cutter.
6 A. Now I need to fuse my applique pieces to my project pieces.
I have to peel off the paper backing and sometimes it’s almost impossible to do it. In the video below I show a trick – if you can’t find a paper edge to start peeling use a pin or scissors to scratch the paper in the middle of the applique and you will see how easy it is to peel the paper off this way.
7 A. Position the applique on the base fabric.
Adhesive side (that was under the paper) goes on the right side of the fabric. Sometimes – like in my case now – you just press with your fingers and the applique is fused (the adhesive side doesn’t need to be activated by the heat from an iron) but some types of fusible web need to be pressed with an iron and the applique stays in place after pressing.
8 A. Now I will show you how to finish the fusible applique.
You have to stitch the applique in place and to finish the raw edges. There are many stitching techniques available. Most common way to do it is just to zigzag stitch by your sewing machine. Stitch so one edge of the zigzag falls in the applique fabric and the other edge, just past the raw edges of the applique in the base fabric.
But again – modern technology gives us many wonderful features in modern sewing machines and I am going to show you how to use a Babylock embroidery machine for stitching the applique. It’s fast, easy and fun!
3 B. The other way of making an applique with fusible web.
Still – use your cutting machine. But let the machine cut the applique pieces from fabric.
I used this technique to make my quilted tote bag.
So, cut a piece of fabric the size of your cutting mat (approximately) and cut a piece of fusible web corresponding in size.
Iron, fusible side down, to the wrong side of your applique fabric. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for your fusible web. Use a pressing cloth to protect your iron from the glue on the fusible web. Or you can use parchment paper – fusible web is not sticking to the parchment paper.
4 B. Cut the applique shapes with a cutting machine.
This time my applique shape was not in the memory of the cutting machine. So, as I have Scan N cut, I scanned my applique piece (I drew it myself) and cut pieces by machine – first from pink cotton fabric and afterwards from cork fabric.
You have to place your applique fabric onto your cutting mat with fusible web down. Make sure the fabric firmly adheres to the mat and there are no bubbles.
Cutting applique shape with a home cutting machine is so easy and fun!
5 B. I traced the design on to my base fabric.
The design has 4 equal pieces in some symmetrical figure (I found this quilting design here). I fused cut applique pieces to my base fabric.
6 B. I used my embroidery machine to stitch all the applique pieces in place.
This time I used satin stitches.
Some additional tips
Fusible web can gum up your needle. It may happen if you are using heavyweight fusible web, or if you are using a few layers of different fabrics for one applique.
There are some special needles from Schmetz that are covered with non-sticky coating – they are a great choice for stitching your fusible applique.
And if you are using just a regular Universal needle and it got gummed up clean the needle with alcohol.
Get more info on SCHMETZ Super NONSTICK Needles here
SCHMETZ Super NONSTICK Needles (5 Needles per Package) ~ Includes 1 Pack of Each Size 70/10, 80/12, 90/14 & 100/16
- Five (5) needles per card.
- This Listing Includes the Set of 4 Sizes: 70/10, 80/12, 90/14 & 100/16
- A Super Universal Needle with a non-stick coating of NIT (Nickel-Phosphor-PTFE). Extra-large eye is suitable for embroidery work
- Distinctive scarf with the special design of the eye ensures prevention of skipped stitches. Slightly rounded point provides trouble-free sewing on most materials. Strong conical blade reinforcement easily handles thick fabrics like denim.
SCHMETZ Super NONSTICK Needles (5 Needles per Package) ~ Includes 1 Pack of Each Size 70/10, 80/12 & 90/14
- Five (5) needles per card
- This Listing Includes the Set of 3 Sizes: 70/10, 80/12 & 90/14
SCHMETZ Super NONSTICK Needles (5 Needles per Package) ~ Includes 1 Pack of Each Size 80/12 & 90/14
- Five (5) needles per card.
- This Listing Includes the Set of 2 Sizes: 80/12 & 90/14
Perhaps you will be interested to read my articles about choosing the best iron for sewing and about pressing tools I use for sewing.
There are some interesting books you can read if you want to learn more about appliques. Check them out below for some great ideas.
Flip & Fuse Quilts: 12 Fun Projects - Easy Foolproof Technique - Transform Your Appliqué!
$25.41 in stock
28 used from $5.16
- C&T Publishing
Pat Sloan's Teach Me to Applique: Fusible Applique That's Soft and Simple
$26.70 in stock
16 used from $14.90
- Make it possible to create a handmade work of art that has lasting charm
- The perfect start to any project
- These are a great way to add extra design to whatever project you want to add it to
Inspired by Tradition: 50 Appliqué Blocks in 5 Sizes
24 used from $29.01
- Used Book in Good Condition
Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when you are ready to make an applique, and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration!
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Actionable tips, tools and inspiration for people who like to sew. Make fashionable garments together with me @ageberry77