Eye of the Beholder

original applique patterns inspired by the world around us

Machine Reverse Applique - Part 2 of 5: Stabilizing Your Fabric

     Welcome to Part 2 of our 5- part blog series on Machine Reverse Applique.  Follow along and gain insight into how to prepare your piece and how to approach machine reverse applique to stitch with success.  Become familiar with your sewing machine.  Be aware of how you think about machine reverse applique. Learn tips for curves, circles, corners and acute points. If you are just joining now, go back and read Machine Reverse Applique Part 1 -Creative Possibilities

  Frozen Wonder medallion VIII  (30" x 30"), also used as the center medallion for  Frosty Frozen Wonder Quilt I . I machine reverse appliqued without any stabilization.  Notice some puckering and waving.

Frozen Wonder medallion VIII (30" x 30"), also used as the center medallion for Frosty Frozen Wonder Quilt I. I machine reverse appliqued without any stabilization.  Notice some puckering and waving.

Stabilizing your fabric: Three Ways

When you machine reverse applique with a satin stitch or buttonhole stitch you may have experienced that your fused top puckers and pulls, getting eaten up into the stitch. Or your piece gets stuck and jammed into your machine.  The result is that your quilt top may shrink up and wave, causing it to become smaller and not lay flat. It doesn't always happen, but it is likely to. 

I never used to stabilize my pieces when I machine reverse appliqued a fused top.  It was expensive, and most stabilizers, like fusible, had to be pieced to back our  medallion and table runner patterns.  Most of the time I appli-quilted instead: we'll get to that below.

Generally I managed well, but It meant that I had to carefully adjust my stitch width. Too wide and the fabric gathered into the stitch. Too tight and the forward progress while stitching stalled and I'd get a mole hill of stitches or the piece was sucked in and jammed into the sewing machine. 

Since then I have found some options that work, and I recommend stabilizing your fused quilt top in one of the following ways. 

Fabric stabilizer

 R-Tex 100% polyester stabilizer was ironed onto the wrong side of the silk I use in this fan. Fan border blocks in silk for  Amidala's Flower mini-quilt X.

R-Tex 100% polyester stabilizer was ironed onto the wrong side of the silk I use in this fan. Fan border blocks in silk for Amidala's Flower mini-quilt X.

There are many choices on the market for a fabric stabilizer.  These are an added layer onto the wrong side of your fused quilt top. I've rarely used these products for machine reverse applique as I use different methods for stabilization. Ask your friends or local quilt shop what they recommend.

The only add-in stabilizer I have used is R-Tex 100% iron-on stabilizer, and I mostly use it to stabilize silk fabrics. It is lightweight and supple, like a piece of lingerie. It acts to tame the fraying and adds body without making the fabric stiff.  I also used it when I made my stepson a T-shirt quilt and it worked beautifully.  I get it from one of my local quilt shops, Sew Downtown in Greeley, CO (it can be ordered from them).

Generally, I use one of the following methods for stabilization.

 Appli-quilted  Majesty, Medallion IX  (36" x 36"). In this picture you can see the top and a glimpse of the back(blue) showing the reverse applique stitching has gone through all the layers, providing the first round of quilting.

Appli-quilted Majesty, Medallion IX (36" x 36"). In this picture you can see the top and a glimpse of the back(blue) showing the reverse applique stitching has gone through all the layers, providing the first round of quilting.

Appli-quilting

One of the added advantages of Appli-quilting, covered in Machine Reverse Applique - Part 1 of 5: Creative Possibilities,  is you do not need an additional material to stabilize your fused quilt top.  The batting and backing provide all the stabilization you need. 

Terial Magic

Terial Magic is my favorite way of stabilizing my fused quilt top when I DON'T Appli-quilt.

Terial Magic is a spray-on stabilizer. Just follow the directions on the bottle.

  • Dampen both sides of your fused quilt top. 
  • Let it dry for 15 - 20 minutes
  • Iron dry the rest of the way. 
MRA.terial magic (2).jpg

Your fabric becomes crisp and stiff.  Some times the fabric appears darker after its sprayed, but don't worry, it washes out.  When washed out the fabric returns to its original color and softness.  I have used it safely on batiks, woven cottons and silks.  To be safe, test a swatch first.

See you next week, January 17, 2018, for Machine Reverse Applique - Part 3 of 5: Your Sewing Machine & You.  Explore what your sewing machine can do and how awareness of  Needle- Eye coordination adds to your success. Plus get directions for making a practice piece to hone your machine stitching skills in Part 4 & 5 of this series.

Visit the machine applique section of our shop for our unique reverse applique patterns for creating by machine.