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hand stitching through fusibles

betsy | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I’d appreciate any information about methods or products to use to hold fabric appliques to muslin squares while 4ht grade students HAND stitch through them. I’ve found many  fusibles to be hard to needle. The children will be using two strands of embroidey floss, one long strand through the eye and knotted to itself so that only two strands are getting pulled through the fabrics, thread tails can’t get sewn in, and they only have to get one strand through the eye. (I’ve learned from my student “testers” already!)  

Any advice on needles? Threading them is a challenge for the kids, but larger needles seem to be harder to get  through the fusibles. Thanks! Betsy


  1. ChrisHaynes | | #1

    I found in the quilt notions section some spray on temporary adhesive.  You spray it on the back and it holds the applique down while you sew.

    There seem to be several types, with varying prices (actually it looked like they were all priced the same but came in vary different sized bottles).

    I used google.com and found this as kind of an explanation (not affilatted, and not the one I used, the one I got was a bit stinky):



    I used it to adhere fabric to a cardboard backing so that 3rd graders could draw self-portraits with fabric crayons (for a quilt that will be auctioned off).  I also used it to temporarily put reflective fabric on my daughter's Halloween bag.

    1. betsy | | #2

      Chris, I like the idea of stabilizing fabric for the drawing step, but I'm not wild about breathing a spray adhesive. I also like the construction paper-like body of the fused fabric, enabling the children to draw on, and cut out their shapes to be appliqued. Maybe I'm asking too much of one product. Steam a Seam 2 would enable the kids to stick their pieces down until an adult could really fuse them with an iron, but it also feels like  trying to pierce iron with a hand needle! Thanks for the input. Betsy

      1. ChrisHaynes | | #3

        I sprayed the adhesive on in a well ventalated area... well away from kids.  I placed them on cardboard and brought them to the school a couple of days later. It just sticks.

        You could also use "Wonder Under" fusible webbing or other fusible pellon (which is what "stitch witchery" is, it is just cut into strips) BUT... fuse it away from the edges.

        Another idea:

        Take the Wonder Under fusible webbing and cut out the shape about 1/8" less than the shape.  Cut the shape about a 1/8" bigger from the fashion fabric.  Sew the Fusible webbing and the fabric together... matching the edges.  The fabric will pucker.  Cut an "X" in the fusible webbing.  Use the hole to fold inside out. 

        Then iron onto the final fabric for hand sewing.  There will be no fusible at the edge portion that will be hand sewn.

        This is a method often used to recreate old-fashioned, before there were zig-zag machines, applique.  I saw it years ago on a "Nancy's Notions" show.

        There are also some other fabric glues.  I have also used fabric tack.  I seem to see many optons at stores that specialize in quilting.  You could always adhere them well away from where the kids will be sewing.

        Also... if you want to go to the expense:  You could get the kids gold or platinum coated sewing needles.  These do not seem to have as much problem with the stickyness (this is said "tongue in cheek"... but I just bought titanium coated sewing machine needles to work with coated nylon outdoor fabrics).

        1. betsy | | #4

          Thanks, Chris. I think that Wonderunder is the answer. It seemed to be the kindest one to stitch through, but I want to understand why steam-a-seam is recommended. True, it's great to stick the piece in place, but I want to know how anyone is able to hand sew through it. My arms and hands are still shaking from clearing incredibly heavy snow; I think I'll stay away from the iron for a while!

  2. faith | | #5

    Just my 2 cents:  I saw a glue stick in the quilting wall of WalMart the other day.  You could use this on the back of those appliques--AWAY from the stitching lines.  No spray to inhale.  No hot iron to handle.

    Happy Stitching!


    1. betsy | | #6

      Faith, I think that the glue stick is definitely worth a try. I was going to leave the ironing to be done after school, by adults, but I like the idea of students doing the job themselves. They used Elmer's last year; it was what the art teacher had on hand. We ended up having to reglue almost everything, a huge task. One of the primary goals this year is to have the students do some stitching, so the glue stick might be a good temporary hold. Thanks! Betsy

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