Turned-edge machine applique with fusible web tutorial

TURNED EDGE APPLIQUE WITH FUSIBLE WEB

Turning appliqué edges with paper backed fusible web is a variation of the most widely used “freezer paper” method to turn the applique edges. If you are looking for a simpler applique technique that also utilizes fusible web, check out our raw edge applique tutorial

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Infographic on how to do turned edge machine applique with fusible web

Fusible web, also known as an iron-on adhesive, is a mesh of a solid fabric glue that melts upon heating. This way it can be ironed on the fabric and attach two fabrics together. For applique, use a light weight paper backed fusible web, with one side covered with paper.  

Using this method, one cuts out the appliqué shape from the paper backed fusible web, irons it down to the back side of the fabric and cuts it out with an additional seam allowance.

Then, one thoroughly folds the seam allowance over the paper template, removes the paper and sticks the seam allowance to the back of the applique with a hot iron.

Finally, one irons the applique onto the background fabric and stitches it down.
This technique is tedious and slow, but if you are rigorous, it gives great results on almost any kind of shapes.

Alternative method to turn applique edges is using interfacing. You can read the tutorial for this method here.

For your convenience, all the essential steps are summarized in this infographic. Download it, print it and have it within reach whenever you need it!

In this tutorial we will applique 4” (10 cm) tall quarter music note from “Music Note” applique pattern. This is a difficult shape, that has many different elements: convex and concave curves, narrow lines, deep inner points and sharp outer points. We will take a detail look into how to turn this tricky shape into a perfect applique. On top of this,  this guide will give you plenty tips on how to avoid certain pitfalls.

YOU WILL NEED

MATERIALS
1. Printed pattern
2. Your favorite fabrics
3. Paper backed fusible web
4. Thread
EQUIPMENT
1. Sewing machine
2. Paper and fabric scissors
3. Iron and ironing surface
4. Pencil
HANDY TOOLS (A nice to have, but not essential. Not used in this tutorial):
1. Small iron
2. Applique tweezers
3. Appliquick rods

METHOD STEP BY STEP

1. Transfer the pattern

The first step in making an applique is to transfer the desired applique outline to the paper lining of the fusible web.

Print, scan or trace the applique pattern and cut out the right size design using paper scissors.

Invert the shape and trace it onto the paper lining of the fusible web.  IMPORTANT: trace the inverted (mirror) shape to get the correct final applique orientation for non symmetrical applique pieces. TIP: trace symmetrical shapes directly onto the paper lining of the fusible web, as shape orientation is not important there.

2. Attach fusible web

Once the applique outline is on the paper lining of the fusible web, attach it to the backside of the applique fabric.

First, cut out the traced shape from the paper backed fusible web using paper scissors.  TIP: if fusible web detaches from the paper lining, sandwich it with the parchment paper before cutting and shortly press with a hot iron to reattach.
Next, place the cut out fusible web shape onto the back side of the fabric with the sticky side down. Gently press with a hot iron to fuse (follow manufacturers instructions for best results).

3. Prepare the seam allowance

To successfully hide the raw fabric edges, cut out the applique shape and properly prepare the seam allowance before turning. The way to prepare the seam allowance depends on the shape of applique edge.  Cut 1/4"-1/8" (4 - 6 mm) away from the edge of the fusible we to get the applique shape with the seam allowance.

DEEP INNER POINTS

At the deep inner points, make a single cut into the seam allowance all the way to the paper lining. There are two such points in a music note: point where the stem connects to the note head and where it connects to the flag. 

CONCAVE CURVES

At concave curves, such as the inner side of the music note flag, make multiple cuts into the seam allowance to permit smooth edge folding.

 

SHARP OUTER POINTS

Extremely sharp outer points, such as the bottom tip of the music note flag, are too narrow to accommodate the bulk of the folded seam allowance fabric. At such points, trim the seam allowance mimicking the angle of applique shape edges. This, however, will leave a few loose threads at the very tip of the shape in the finished applique piece. Do the same, if there is not enough seam allowance fabric to make a proper fold. 
When the outer point is a bit wider, like the one at the top of the music note, it is possible to fold the seam allowance under without leaving any loose threads. There, leave the seam allowance untrimmed. 

 

NARROW LINES

At narrow applique segments, such as the music note stem, make sure the seam allowance is narrower than the segment. Trim the seam allowance on both sides to 2/3 of the segment width. 

 

4. Turn the edges

To turn the applique edge, fold the seam allowance over the paper lining and glue to the fusible web at the back of the applique shape. 

 

SHARP OUTER POINTS WITH TRIMMED SEAM ALLOWANCE

At the outer points, where seam allowance is trimmed, carefully fold the remaining seam allowance fabric over the paper lining. Aim to get as small opening at the very tip as possible. The raw fabric edge there will remain in a finished applique. Press with a hot iron or finger nails to reinforce the fold.
 

SHARP OUTER POINTS WITH NON-TRIMMED SEAM ALLOWANCE

At the outer points, where the seam allowance is not trimmed, fold it over in three steps.

 

Step 1. Fold the seam allowance from one side of the point, then from the other. Finger press to strengthen the fold.

 

Step 2. Open the fold and repeat the same procedure as in step 1, just start from the other side. First fold the seam allowance from the side, that was folded last in the previous step. Then fold the other side over. Finger press to strengthen the fold.

 

 

Step 3. Open the fold and then fold both seam allowances at the same time. This will generate a four fabric layer fold, that will precisely mimic the shape of the point.

 

CONCAVE CURVES & DEEP INNER POINTS

Fold the seam allowance over the paper lining and press with a hot iron or with fingernails. Make sure to fold each piece fully to avoid creating "steps". Aim to fold 1-2 threads beyond the cut to get an even folded edge with a smooth curve. 

 

STRAIGHT LINES & CONVEX CURVES

At straight lines and convex curves, fold the seam allowance over the paper lining and press with a hot iron or fingernails to secure the fold. Be careful not to fold the paper lining, as this will create straight segments on convex curves.  

 

Once all of the seam allowance is turned over the edge, gently remove the paper lining.
To attach the seam allowance to the back of the applique, gently press it with the edge of a hot iron blade. Be careful not to touch the sticky surface of the applique with the hot iron. 

 

TIP: Use a small iron to ease the folding. In case you do not have a small iron, heat up the whole applique piece or its segment with a large iron. Then quickly remove the paper lining from the hot applique segment and press the seam allowance with fingers. Additionally press problematic areas with the edge of a hot iron blade. 

5. Attach the Applique

Once all of the raw edges are nicely turned under and secured to the back of the fabric, attach the applique shape in its final place. 
2nd LAYER OF FUSIBLE WEB FOR TRICKY SHAPES (optional)
For very narrow shapes, iron on a second layer of adhesive after the edge is turned under. This will help to maintain the folded seam allowance in place (especially at sharp outer points) and will allow you to stick the shape to the background fabric.  Otherwise this becomes impossible at the narrow areas of the applique, where seam allowance fabric covers the entire surface.
 
When appropriate, remove the paper lining of the 2nd adhesive layer from the back of the applique shape.
Clip off the sticking out threads and folded seam allowance pieces, if any.
 

 

Place the applique shape on the background fabric with the sticky side down. Press with a hot iron to fuse.

 

Top stitch around the edge to attach the applique. Use your favorite decorative stitch or simply straight line stitch. Sew slowly to meet the curves. 
TIP: To imitate hand stitching, use narrow blind stitch.
Congratulations! The applique is finished!

 

The time spent was totally worth it. You can proudly admire those nicely turned edges! And as with all things in life - practice makes perfect. Next time it will go quicker and the end result will be even nicer. The wonderful thing about appliques - once you master them, minion opportunities opens up! You can customize and embellish your quilts, bags, dresses or any other sewing projects. Possibilities are endless.
Happy appliqueing!

Rugile from Magic Little Dreams 

 

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