Today I want to show you the Applique pressing sheet method. I have used this method for years and I love it. It’s a great way to get an accurate applique motif when you have a complicated design which uses many different parts. I have used the Santa from my Calendar quilt, December block as an example to illustrate the Applique pressing sheet technique.
If you haven’t used a pressing sheet before, in essence they are a Teflon like sheet which fusible web does not stick too. This allows you to build up intricate applique motifs made up of lots of different pieces. When pressed the pieces will fuse to each other where they overlap. The fused design can then be simply peeled off the pressing sheet and positioned and fused on the background as if it were one unit. How great is that?!
To use the Applique pressing sheet method, start by tracing all the pieces of the pattern onto your fusible web. Roughly cut out the pieces.
As with standard machine applique, the fusible web pieces are now fused onto the back of your fabric according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Accurately cut out the pieces along the traced lines. Using a window or light-box, copy any markings onto the front of the fabric with an air-erasable fabric pen or dressmakers’ chalk. Remove the paper backings.
Now lay your paper pattern down on your ironing board.
Before you begin you need to figure out which pieces to lay down first. I find the best way to do this is to look at the photo of the finished applique motif and see which pieces are uppermost.
If you are feeling intrepid, you can lay out the pieces for the whole figure all in one go but beware, it is so easy to get the layout wrong or for a piece to be nudged out of place. For this reason, I built up my Santa in stages.
Fusing the Face
I recommend starting with Santa’s face, noting that the nose and moustache are on top. For very small pieces like the nose, I add it in by eye later on so the first piece to lay down on the paper template is the moustache.
Lay this RIGHT-SIDE DOWN, so the glued side is uppermost. It should fit exactly within the lines of the template.
Please ignore Santa’s smudged eye, for some reason it printed like that!
The moustache is then covered by the beard and finally the face which is carefully placed on top. Remember they are right side down, so the glued side is facing up.
Gently lay the pressing sheet over the design, taking care not to shift any of the pieces. Finally press the motif briefly with an iron on cotton setting. Sliding the iron over the pieces could cause them to shift out of place.
After pressing, let the applique cool slightly before peeling it off the pressing sheet. Set it aside for the moment.
Fusing the Hat and Body
Now to fuse together Santa’s hat. From looking at the photo, I know that the trim needs to be laid down first.
Cover the trim with the rest of the hat, carefully placing it exactly over the template lines.
Again, cover with a pressing sheet, press, leave to cool briefly and peel off the sheet and set aside.
Repeat the process with Santa’s body. Laying down the arm first, then covering it with the rest of the body.
Fusing the Figure
Finally I lay the three parts down on the template and fuse them together.
Here is my Santa!
I added in his nose. He just needs his gloves and he’s ready to position on the background fabric. You fuse it and stitch around the pieces as normal. If you need more information on the basics of machine applique, check out my tutorial.
I hope this Applique pressing sheet tutorial has shown you how easy it is to build up beautiful appliques, using the pattern for greater accuracy and consistency. Enjoy! Tag me on Facebook or Instagram when you try out this method, I’d love to see your creations!