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Blog about living a life to nurture, cherish and create.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Tutorial: How to applique letters with bondaweb

Monogrammed pillow
You may have seen the new monogrammed pillows that I have just launched into my Etsy shop. Today I thought I would give you some insight into one of the handmade processes that goes into making them: how to applique letters using bondaweb (fusible webbing).
Monogram pillow

What is bondaweb?
Bondaweb enables you to applique without pins. It is a piece of paper which, on one side, has a web of heat-activated glue. You can draw your shape onto the paper side then iron it onto fabric, cut the fabric shape out, remove the paper and iron the fabric shape onto a backing piece. It enables you to make your applique very neat and precise - and you won't prick you fingers on pins!

How to applique letters using bondaweb
applique with bondaweb what you'll need
What you'll need
Before you start collect together everything that you'll need: fabric and paper scissors, pencil, quilters' ruler, bondaweb, fabric for applique and backing, contrast thread, printed off letter, sewing machine, iron and ironing board.

1. Print out a letter of the size and font that you like on the computer. You could also trace a letter or draw one by hand. I would recommend keeping the shape quite simple to start with as this will be easier to both cut and sew.
2. Cut out your printed letter.
3. Reverse the letter and draw around it on the smooth side of the bondaweb. You need to reverse the letter so it reads the correct way on your finished item. The smooth side of the bondaweb is the side without the web of glue.
applique with bondaweb
Reverse letter and draw around it on smooth side of bondaweb
4. Cut the letter shape out from the bondaweb, leaving a small margin around the edge. As you can see from my picture I didn't bother cutting inside the curves of the S. This will be cut away later. Leaving this allowance gives you some margin for error.
5. Take the fabric you want to cut your letter from and iron it flat. Place it with the back facing you on the ironing board. Carefully place the bondaweb letter on top of the fabric.
applique with bondaweb
Iron fabric flat, turn over and iron bondaweb letter on
applique with bondaweb
Cut fabric shape out
Depending on the fabric you have chosen you will have to think about centring the pattern of the fabric, making sure the pattern is the right way up and that any stripes or checks run down in a straight line. You can see that with my stripey strawberry fabric I had to take note of which way the strawberries ran down the fabric and the placement of the stripes, I centred the S over one particular stripe. Choosing a plain fabric will remove this complication for you. Iron the bondaweb in place.
6. Leave the fabric and bondaweb to cool for a couple of minutes before cutting out the letter shape, right on the pencil line that you drew.
7. Place the fabric letter onto your backing fabric. You need to try to get it straight. I folded my 12" square backing piece into quarters so
applique placement
Get the position of the letter right before ironing in place
that I knew where the centre was. I also used my quilters' ruler to make sure that the letter was the same distance from the top of the backing as it was from the bottom.
8. When you're happy with the placement of the letter iron it in place. This is the point of no return!
applique machine sewing
Sew the letter in place with the stitch of your choice
9. Now you can sew the letter in place. I used the blanket stitch setting on my sewing machine at its longest and widest stitch size. A zig-zag stitch with a wide but short setting is a common choice for machine applique. Use scraps of fabric to try out which stitch you prefer before starting to sew your finished piece.
10. Congratulations! You have finished your letter applique. You can now make up your finished item. whether its a cushion, a quilt, an apron or anything else.
applique letter S

If you follow this tutorial I'd love to see your finished item. Snap a picture on your smart phone and add it to twitter or instagram tagging @ByElsieB.

If all this sounds like too much fuss and bother for you - why not just pop over to my Etsy store and buy a monogrammed pillow there.

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