Laser cut applique offers a speedy solution to the time consuming task of cutting when fuse appliqueing. Unlike traditional applique kits where a pattern is provided and you have to make templates or mark freezer paper or fabric to get started, laser cut applique provides the applique pieces already cut from fabric with the fusible on the backside. In 3 easy steps, you are ready to sew!
Step 1: Label – How to label applique pieces for placement
If your pattern comes with a chart identifying each piece assigning a letter or number to it, simply transfer the label to the paper side (that protects the fusible) of the fabric shape. It’s important to leave the applique pieces attached to the fabric for this step. The less they are handled after being trimmed the better.
If a pattern does not come with labels identifying the pieces, make up your own system. There are two goals in labeling applique pieces:
- Keep groups together. If there are eight pieces to the main rose flower, you might label all five pieces with the first initials of MR so you know at a glance that they belong to the main rose.
- Number the pieces in the order of placement. If a petal needs to be placed under all the other petals of the main rose, you might label it MR1. Next, the petal that go under the remaining petals is labeled in order of placement, MR2 and so forth for MR3 through MR7 leaving the final piece that goes on the top of all the pieces as MR8.
Step 2: Trim – How to trim laser cut applique
Each fabric comes with the applique shapes mostly cut out, but they remain attached to the whole piece by little tags of fabric. These little tags will need to be clipped to free the applique pieces.
Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect 4″ Scissors are perfect for the task! Their serrated edge helps hold the fabric while you make the cut so can have all the control and precision you want.
Following the edge of the applique piece, trim the piece free from the tag. It is important to trim away the tag from the applique piece, not just cut the tag in half.
After clipping, sort the applique pieces in ziplock bags until ready to use.
Step 3: Place – How to create and use an applique placement guide
Using a placement guide, mark any necessary registrations on the background fabric. These guides will help you keep things centered while you work. Usually the center and outer edges are marked.
If the pattern doesn’t have a placement guide and you feel you need one, any clear plastic will work. You can cut up clear plastic bags and tape them together if you don’t have clear plastic sheeting handy.
Lay the clear plastic over the finished print of the full scale pattern and trace the pattern and registration marks onto the plastic using a sharpie or plastic marker.
Next, lay the placement guide over the background, matching the registration marks. After removed the paper backing, slip the applique shape under the placement guide so it lays under it’s drawn location. The edges of the drawing should match the applique (except for overlapped areas).
Once an area is laid out, gently remove the placement guide and using a protective cloth, fuse the shapes into place with an iron (be sure to follow the recommended temperature setting in the pattern instructions). For some designs it is easier to fuse each shape one at a time. If this method is preferred, but sure the shapes overlap as desired before pressing.
Continue this process until the entire block is fused into place.
As you can see, starting with laser cut applique pieces not only cuts your prep time, but also gets you to the fun parts quicker!
Want to give laser cut applique a try? Check out these great laser cut kits:
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