Jan 03 11
Wow, I have received enough emails in the last 2 days to know that my last post thoroughly confused a lot of people! I am so sorry about that! The post intermingled 2 very different techniques but the pieces I was working with look alike in the photos, and that’s what caused such a mixup. Let me start at the very beginning…
There are 2 main ways you can use a Sizzix or Accuquilt fabric cutting machine:
1. To cut strips or squares, triangles, etc for piecing. In this case, there is no fusible attached to the fabric; or
2. To cut applique shapes. In this setting, you may bond a fusible web to the wrong side of the fabric and then cut out all your shapes, or you may cut your applique shapes without any fusible web. If you chose the latter, you will need to machine applique the pieces (i.e. finish the edges to anchor the pieces down to the background fabric) because there is no turn-under allowance built into these dies. (In other words, you can’t use these dies to cut applique shapes for hand applique.)
For me, I use my machine to cut applique shapes for fusible applique. Every piece of fabric I cut has already been bonded to Wonder Under before it is cut. Here is my system:
Wonder Under comes in a 17 1/2 inch wide bolt. I cut lots of 6 inch wide strips of it and fuse these strips to 6 1/4 inch wide fabric strips. At any time, I have about 70-90 pre-fused pieces of batik fabrics in all different colors, just like these in the above photo. (Why batiks? For the same reason that I use mainly batiks for all my fused applique…they tend to be very tightly woven, so they’ve got the best chance of not fraying at the edges.) They’re ready to go because I am cutting so many shapes these days that I don’t want to take time to stop and fuse! Now if you look at this next photo below, you’ll see that when I go to actually cut with a die, I’ve sliced up that long strip into pieces that maximize the use of fabric:
You can’t tell from the photo, but there are several layers of the fabric/wonderunder pairing loaded into that die sandwich. So, the #1 question that people wrote to me about is answered: I always prefuse my fabric to Wonder Under before it is placed into the Sizzix machine.
Now…for the next question…what’s all this about using up scraps? In the photo below, you can see the remnants of many pieces of fabric that have been run through my Sizzix machine:
These scraps are golden; you would never want to throw them away! By looking at the scraps toward the back of the photo, you can tell these scraps are all bonded to fusible web, so they are ready to be cut again. All those small areas can be cut into the smaller shapes on the dies, so when I said I had cut out a couple hundred of the small purple petals, I was talking about the small purple petals next to the very center of this photo:
Do you see those large purple and blue petals on the outside of the flower? Those are very large…probably 6-7 inches long and they are much larger than any of the petal sizes that come on the die. Those are the petals that I traced onto Wonder Under and then cut out by hand:
So, these flowers were created by mixing die-cut petals and hand-cut petals, and that’s why I was able to make such large flowers. Know that when you are using a fabric cutting machine, there is no need to trace out anything!
Hopefully, that clears up all the confusion. In my defense, all I can say is that I had spent that day working in my sewing room while watching an all-day marathon of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” Have any of you seen this show? How is it that all these women don’t know how ridiculous they sound?! I guess when you watch that kind of programming it kind of turns your brain to much!