Applique preparation. My way.

I’ve been creating a castle all day.  It’s not what people do normally on a hot summers day but I’m on a roll and on a schedule so I’ve worked almost 10 hours on this section today… in all it will have taken me about 18 hours to prepare 2 feet of appliqué. which measures 2 ft X 2 ft.

There are almost 300 pieces to be drawn, assembled and cut.

bags of bits, there is an entire castle, lots of strange animals and a few soldiers residing in the bags.

I’ve had a lot of questions about how I approach my appliqué.

So here are a few answers.

  1. I never prewash the fabric. I need the sizing to keep the edge of the appliqué firm and crisp.
  2. So before you have a heart attack about not washing, I have chosen my fabrics wisely and I’ve also tested them for shrinkage and colorfastness.
  3. This quilt will never be washed if I can help it. The sizing in the fabric preserves the fabric and in particular against fading.
  4. I’m mainly using cherrywood fabric. I have some Hoffman fabrics for the textures and some batik for the hands and faces.
  5. I do have a few others but I won’t mention the brand in this forum. They give me a concern and I don’t want to be sued by telling you that I worry that the hand isn’t as good as I would like. I need a tight weave, and I want the color to go all the way through the fabric. That means, the back is the same color as the front. That way I avoid a ‘halo’ of white when I do raw edge appliqué.
  6. This is not a format quilt. By that I mean that every single piece is different. It’s not a bunch of flowers or repeating patterns and to date I have created 5890 separate pieces.
  7. That means that its real easy to get confused and because I want to work efficiently I draw, put on fabric and cut the appliqué in genres. For instance, one of the animals, or the castle. The man hanging off the roof etc.
  8. Each bag is labeled and it takes the confusion out of the equation.
  9. In other appliqué formats, I can just put all of the patterns down on the fusible web and mix it up all together, but this is different.
  10. I used the same technique for the quilt below.


Each person was cut out and put into bags so I didn’t get confused. It was a bit like “Where’s Wally’

  1. Each piece is assembled on a teflon appliqué sheet. Oh and I met a lady on my last tour who can make me a teflon sheet as large as I want.
  2. I’m using a new computer  and I don’t have a photo of a teflon sheet in the base, , but I’m sure you know what I mean.
  3. For the fusible, I use steam a seam lite. Single. The double has too much glue for my liking.
  4. When you remove the paper from the back of the piece the glue remains tacky and you can place each piece quite well without pressing.
  5. I admit to being very nervous about placing the pieces without ironing and I iron them constantly. I can’t  afford for a piece to slip out-of-place and then it’s not the same as the original Tapestry.

Nope you won’t see an image or a photo  of the progress. Not until the entire project is finished.

If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them,just drop me a line. Maybe you have some suggestions for preparing appliqué.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Peggy Baker says:

    A larger applique sheet would be awesome. Maybe the lady could start a business by selling them to those who want them. I would be interested. Loved traveling with you.

  2. Kathleen Smith says:

    Can’t wait to see it completed!

    1. Pam Holland says:

      One day Kathleen.

  3. Michelle Trytko says:

    Love your Horizon’s piece! If you use steam a seam lite single side, how do you attach the non-stick side and do you use the non stick on the quilt side or the appliqué Side? PS…I am assuming that you now feel out of danger from fire?
    Thank you Pam, Michelle

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Michelle, the non stick side is the glue side after you take the tracing paper off. Its a little tacky (sticky) I lay it on the fabric, the tackiness allows me to lay several layers before I iron it down. Thank you , the fire is out just lots of smoke.

  4. cynthia mcalpine says:

    If I understand right, you do not stitch these down? They are just glued with the webbing stuff. Then when everything is on… you do anything more to hold everything in place, so nothing will ever come loose? I never trusted that stuff! I have always gone around everything with a tight zigzag. A lot of work to do that. This is a very artsy piece and the color is wonderful!

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Cynthia, this is just the preparation… yes they are stitched down after using the fusible web. This quilt will be stitched with a very small satin stitch, about 1/32″ wide.

  5. candyshomepatch says:

    Thanks for sharing Pam. With 18 hours prep, do you calculate that it takes about the same again to lay the pieces & then stitch?

    1. Pam Holland says:

      Candy, it takes about 3 hours to lay and the pieces and there are 145 pieces in this one, so it takes maybe 8 hours to illustrate and then about 20 hours to appliqué because the pieces are tiny.

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