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Thread: What is the best stabilizer for quilt top applique?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Halfsquare's Avatar
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    What is the best stabilizer for quilt top applique?

    I am about to start a quilt that has cut applique shapes that I will be machine stitching not hand stitching. I will not be turning the edges, but raw edge applique with a button hole style stitch. Since it has been so long since I have done this I though I should check and see what stabilizer does everyone recommend that is the lightest weight, fusible, and is there one that washes away? I have no idea and it is overwhelming what is on the market. A long time ago I used Steam a Seam 2. Is there something better now? I hate stabilizer that makes the quilt top stiff. Any suggestions?
    Thanks so much.
    Bernina 440QE
    Bernina 1150 serger
    Janome 1000CPX coverstitch

  2. #2
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    I've never heard of a fusible that washes out but staem a seam 2 LITE is what I use, you can hardly tell it's there

  3. #3
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I also used Steam-a-Seam LITE ... it works just like the regular with the sticky back adhesive so you can reposition the applique if you need to. I didn't find it thick or stiff at all.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

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    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    do you want a stablizer (a thin fabric that adds weight/body to a piece) or a fusable web which you fuse to the back of one fabric- then place & fuse down to hold while stitching? if that is what you mean- which i think is- there are a number of them on the market- there is wonder-under, steam a seam lite, heat & bond lite- and numerous (off brands) they are paper backed- so you can draw your shapes on the paper- fuse to the fabric- cut out- remove paper-then fuse down to the background-they all wash away unless you get the heavy/stiff- no sew varieties-
    there are wash away stablizers that embroiderers use- they tend to be a bit different- they only fuse to one side- and they are much more expensive-
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  5. #5
    Senior Member luana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post
    I also used Steam-a-Seam LITE ... it works just like the regular with the sticky back adhesive so you can reposition the applique if you need to. I didn't find it thick or stiff at all.
    This is my favorite too! Good luck.

  6. #6
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    I use a light one from Joanns, but can't remember the name. There is a wash-a-way that you can get from machine embroidery, but I think it is pretty expensive.

    Tip: I just tried this last time I appliqued. Draw the pattern on the fusible backing like always then cut out the center - leaving about 1/2" of border then iron this onto the fabric. It cuts down on the weight and then you can use that cut away part for more appliques. It did take more time in preparing them, but I liked the feel much better. Not so flat and stiff.

  7. #7
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    I use a light one from Joanns, but can't remember the name - it comes on a bolt. There is a wash-a-way that you can get for machine embroidery, but I think it is pretty expensive.

    Tip: I just tried this last time I appliqued. Draw the pattern on the fusible backing like always then cut out the center - leaving about 1/2" of border then iron this onto the fabric. It cuts down on the weight and then you can use that cut away part for more appliques. It did take more time in preparing them, but I liked the feel much better. Not so flat and stiff.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Halfsquare's Avatar
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    Thanks so much. Sounds like the latest and greatest is Steam a Seam Lite. I will go get some. And thanks for the tip Treasureit. I will give it a try too. So helpful! Love this board.
    Bernina 440QE
    Bernina 1150 serger
    Janome 1000CPX coverstitch

  9. #9
    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    I am a wonder under girl myself
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  10. #10
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    I use heat & bond light. Am I doing something wrong. I attach my applique pieces like Treasureit says, leaving only a small amount on the edges to iron down. But then when I go to do my machine blanket stitching, I also iron a cut away stabilizer to the back. Do I have to do both or is the front heat L& bond enough?
    Correction: I use tear away stabilizer on the back.
    I don't want to brag but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

  11. #11
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    ​I have heard good reports about Misty fuse for a softer appliqué. I have always used Wonder Under and I "window" large appliqué to keep my top softer.

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halfsquare View Post
    I am about to start a quilt that has cut applique shapes that I will be machine stitching not hand stitching. I will not be turning the edges, but raw edge applique with a button hole style stitch. Since it has been so long since I have done this I though I should check and see what stabilizer does everyone recommend that is the lightest weight, fusible, and is there one that washes away? I have no idea and it is overwhelming what is on the market. A long time ago I used Steam a Seam 2. Is there something better now? I hate stabilizer that makes the quilt top stiff. Any suggestions?
    Thanks so much.
    I think you are confusing fusible for stabilizer. Fusible is the stuff that sticks the applique to the background fabric. Stabilizer is what is needed underneath the background fabric to prevent puckering while you machine stitch the applique.

    Misty Fuse and Shade Fuse are fusibles that do not stiffen the fabric. I have been waiting for some time to do some Misty Fuse samples because I want to see how it holds up in the wash with different stitchings around the applique.

    The background fabric needs to be stabilized so it doesn't distort while you are sewing around applique shapes. What I do is heavily starch the background fabric with a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water before ever cutting the background pieces. I "paint" this solution onto the yardage using a large wall painting brush until the fabric is saturated, toss in the dryer, then iron with steam. The fabric comes out fairly stiff with this method. In any case, typically it provides enough stability so the background fabric does not distort while you are sewing. If you do not use this heavy starching method, or if starch is not enough, then you need to place something underneath the background fabric before sewing the applique. This can be a tear-away stabilizer or a water-soluble stabilizer. Sometimes the stabilizer needs to be doubled, and I think it is more effective if you can spray baste it to the background fabric so the fabric is unable to slip away from the stabilizer as you sew (although most people do not do this).

  13. #13
    Junior Member Pat_sews's Avatar
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    I just sewed 20 sunbonnet sue blocks and I just use starch also. I love this method the best. I spray the fabric with starch and dry it then steam press it. Then I lay the peices I am going to use on the fabric and spray them and iron the whole thing once more. I might add a pin if the peices dont want to stay where they should. I don't seem to ever have any puckers . It works for me so I hope that helps u .
    Happy sewing

  14. #14
    Senior Member Halfsquare's Avatar
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    Do you satin stitch or button hole stitch your appliques in place. I am a bit concerned about fraying etc without the fusible to hold it together.
    Bernina 440QE
    Bernina 1150 serger
    Janome 1000CPX coverstitch

  15. #15
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    I like Misty fuse. its very light weight and soft.
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