Appliqué Quilting Tool Works More Than One Way

pokey bolton

applique quilt
Still life by Cathy Tyler using
Wash-Away Appliqué Sheets.

I may have my favorite methods of doing things in my studio, but I'm always open to new ideas, techniques, and tools. I say, if it makes my art experience easier or better, it's worth trying.

A new method may not work on every project, but it's good to have a variety of options in my arsenal. I especially like it when I discover another use for that tool.

Cathy Tyler took this serendipitous approach last summer when her camera, some fabric strips, and a new product she'd been meaning to try came together to create a bountiful quilted still life .

Cathy started with some very colorful strips of fabric leftover from another project and a digital image of red zinnias in cobalt blue bottles sharing a windowsill with ripening tomatoes. She also had some Wash-Away  Appliqué Sheets, made for appliqué quilting, she'd wanted to try.

The Wash-Away Appliqué Sheets allow you to draw appliqué motifs or print them on an ink-jet printer, fuse the paper to your appliqué fabric, sew on the motif, and then just wash away the paper after stitching. The appliqués are soft and flexible without the need to cut your quilt or remove freezer paper.

applique tracing
Cathy first traced the lines around the elements in her photo.

In her process, Cathy essentially traced her design in thread onto her base fabric after fusing on an outline of her image using the wash-away sheets. Then she colored the image with fabric crayons.

This is Cathy's method, adapted from her tutorial in the June/July 2011 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine.

1. Upload your photo to the photo-editing software of your choice and use the "poster-edges" filter to define the main outline of your image. Print it out onto tracing paper.

2. Select a portion of the image and, using a pencil, trace it onto the dull side of a wash-away sheet. Note: Cathy recommends you do not use washable ink pens for this project. (She learned the hard way.)

wash away applique sheets
The wash-away sheet stitched
to the muslin quilt sandwich.

3. Place the wash-away sheet, shiny side down/traced design up, on a piece of muslin. Lightly fuse the edges of the appliqué sheet to the muslin, and tack lightly with the iron in the middle of the piece.

4. Next, layer the muslin on the batting and stitch around the edges. Free-motion stitch the image through all 3 layers.  

5. Tear away the appliqué sheet. If any of the sheet remains, rinse your piece and the appliqué sheet will dissolve. (You do not have to tear away the sheet before dunking the piece, but Cathy says she achieved the best results doing it this way.)

Now you can embellish your piece with embroidery, back and bind it, or incorporate it into a larger design.

I love that these Wash-Away Appliqué Sheets not only make it easy to appliqué quilts but also can be used for tracing a design with stitching. The more I play with them, the more ideas I'll come up with using this tool, I'm sure.

You'll find Wash-Away Appliqué Sheets in the Quilting Daily Shop, along with hundreds of other books and products to make your handmade life easier.

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