As you may have gathered, I have been a bit obsessed with machine applique lately. For successful machine applique, it is helpful to use a fusible stabilizer to adhere your applique pieces to your background fabric. My sister introduced me to Steam A Seam Lite, which I liked very much, and Pamkittymorning told me that Steam A Seam Lite 2 was what she likes to use when she does her machine applique. I had a hard time telling the difference between the two products to tell you the truth, and I got terrific results with both. Machine applique is one of those areas where the right tools make all the difference. Since I am so taken with this new technique, I thought you might like to learn along with me, if you aren't already familiar with the method. Keep in mind this is all new to me, so I am no expert. If you have been afraid of machine applique (as I have been for years) you can see it isn't so scary after all.
The first step is to trace the applique shape onto one side of the Steam A Seam sheet. The sheets have paper covering both sides of the fusible product. One of the sheets of paper will separate much easier than the other, and you want to trace your design on the side of paper that is more reluctant to separate. It sounds confusing, but once you try peeling the paper off, you can easily tell which one wants to come off with least effort. OK, as I was saying, trace your shape and then peel away the paper with the least resistance. The material underneath will be slightly sticky, allowing you to position it on to your applique piece. It won't stick firmly until pressed, so you can move it around until you get it placed perfectly.
Once you get it placed to your liking on the wrong side of the to-be-appliqued fabric, give it a light press down to hold it in place and get it fused onto the fabric. You are pressing right onto the remaining paper coated side of the Steam A Seam Lite. It doesn't seem to matter if you use a dry iron or steam. See how you can clearly see your traced line?
The next step is to cut on your traced line as carefully as possible. This step totally reminded me of how much I loved paper dolls when I was a kid. Especially ones of movie stars who wore fabulous ball gowns. I would spend ages cutting those things out and pretending I was a beauty queen. Does anyone remember Betsy McCall, from the McCall's magazine? She was a paper doll that could be found in the back pages of every issue, and if your mom said it was OK, you could cut Betsy and her darling outfits out and play for hours. Betsy even had little hats, shoes, and purses. You just had to be sure it was all right with your mom first, before cutting up her new magazine. Because if you cut up her magazine before she had read it....Ah hem. All right, back to the Steam A Seam lesson.
The next step is to get the other layer of paper off. This is the side of paper that doesn't want to come off as easily. I found that I needed my tweezers to start getting the paper to separate from the fusible product. Once you get it started, it comes off with no trouble, leaving the wrong side of your applique piece slightly sticky from the unfused side of the Steam A Seam.
Place this sticky side of the applique piece to your liking onto your background fabric. It will allow you to maneuver it around until you are completely satisfied with its position.
Once you get the applique piece positioned just right, then you get serious with your pressing, holding the iron down for a count of 5 or so. If the applique piece is large, you may have to move the iron once or twice to cover all the area to be fused. This pressing will permanently adhere your applique piece to the background fabric.
Now you are ready to stitch down your applique piece! I figure you have had enough instruction for one day, so I will tell you about my machine stitching adventures tomorrow.