How to… use fusible web

I am in a group of friends who are collaborating on a baby quilt for one of us who is soon to be a first-time grandmother {maybe she would prefer ‘granny’?!}. We are each working on a block, even those who have never done any quilting or even a lot of sewing. To help those who are wanting to create a simple applique block, I have written these quick instructions for you on how to use paper-backed fusible webbing. This is sold under various trade names, such as Vliesofix, Wonder Under, Bondaweb etc and I’m not promoting any of these in particular. I will refer to them collectively as ‘web’ in this tutorial.

You will need:
* the base fabric which will form the background for the picture – mine is a cream with a small red print
* the fusible paper-backed web
* the feature fabric from which you will cut the shapes.

1. The low-down on fusible web The fusible web has two sides and you need to be familiar with each side. One side feels like paper; the other has a rough texture- this is the glue, or web, side. Never let your iron come into direct contact with this side!!!

The paper side is dull- on the left-hand folded over corner in the photo above; the glue side has a slight sheen if you hold it up to the light.
On the paper side of the web, use a pencil to draw the shape you want. You can also trace from a picture or access copyright-free drawings. If you are aiming for a picture, you will need to break it up into the individual shapes that make up the picture. For example, I am going for a row of beach huts on my block, so I will want some rectangles for the buildings and triangles for the roofs. {You are working with a reverse-image here at this stage- remember if you want something that is asymmetrical, draw it in reverse so that when it is fused onto the feature fabric and then turned over to fuse onto the background fabric it is the right way up. This might make more sense when you get down to Point 4 below}. Luckily here I just have shapes that appear the same back-to-front!
Trace the two shapes as separate objects on the paper side of the web. My photo shows the rectangles I’m using for the huts.

Cut out the shapes from the web- just outside the lines.

2. Take your feature fabric and work out where you want the shape to be cut from. I want the beach huts to be from striped fabric and have decided to use some fabric which has some sections of the design in stripes. You can see from the photo below I want to be able to get the rectangle from the corner with the stripes, avoiding the cat at the bottom of the square. I turn the feature fabric over so it is face down on the table. The wrong side of the feature fabric is now facing up.

I place the web shape with the glue side down onto this wrong side of the fabric in the spot that I’ve chosen. Feel the web paper- you should be able to feel the paper-side on top – remember, you don’t want to let the glue-side come into contact with your iron or you will have a sticky iron that the rest of the family will not appreciate! You can always use a pressing cloth or a piece of baking paper on top of it all before using the iron as a precautionary measure.
Press with a dry hot iron. You don’t have to keep the iron on it for more than a few seconds; just enough to melt the glue and the paper shape will be stuck to the wrong side of the feature fabric.

3. Cut out the shape. Allow to cool for a few seconds and then cut around the shape from the feature fabric: this time, cut directly out on the lines.

Peel off the paper from the shape.

4. Put your picture together The cut-out fabric shape will have a fine layer of glue on its wrong side. Place this piece, with the glue-side down, onto your background fabric in the position where you want it to be. The background fabric should be lying on the table with the right side facing up.
The shape can be moved around until you get it where you want it. When you are happy with it, press the shape onto the background fabric with the hot iron.

You can go onto adding whatever other shapes and pieces you need to make up your picture. The photo shows one of my beach huts. I’ll be adding more to complete the total picture. All that remains then is to stitch around the edges of each piece in your preferred method, e.g. blanket stitch or buttonhole stitch or machined running stitch or whatever!