by Joan Frantzen
Hi it’s Joan Frantzen here as a Guest Designer. I recently discovered that wafer-thin dies work beautifully to cleanly cut single layers of fabric, eliminating the need to fussy cut the shapes. Before cutting, fuse iron-on adhesive to the back of the fabric and voila — instant appliqués! Machine stitching adds texture, and hand-stitched or glued embellishments bring your work to a whole new level. If you enjoy sewing, these little gems allow you to practice your free-motion stitching on achievable works of art that are quick and fun to make. Frame the piece with cardstock in coordinating colors, and include an easel for display. You’ll brighten someone’s day.
Step 1 – Press background fabric onto the fusible (bumpy) side of the Peltex piece and trim around the outside edge.
Step 2- Loosely trim pieces of the paper-backed iron-on adhesive slightly larger than the size of the dies that will be used. With a steam iron and following manufacturer’s directions, fuse each piece of the adhesive onto the wrong side of fabrics selected. Make sure the shiny side of the paper is placed against the fabric — this is the side with the glue that will melt onto the fabric.
Step 3 – Using the same cutting sandwich that is recommended for a single layer of cardstock (including the metal adaptor plate), die cut the shapes. Remember: When using the metal adaptor plate in the cutting sandwich, the fabric will be sitting on the metal plate FACE UP, and the die will be on top of the fabric with the CUTTING edge positioned FACE DOWN toward the metal plate.
Step 4 – Remove the backing paper from the die-cut shapes and position them as desired, fusible adhesive side down, onto the background fabric. Set the iron to the temperature recommended by the Peltx manufacturer (or whatever brand fusible you’re using). Fuse the appliqué(s) onto the background. It only takes a few seconds to bond the two pieces together. Press in an up-and-down motion, lifting the iron when moving it, rather than a side-to-side sliding motion, for the best adhesion with no shifting. (A quilter’s tip: Use a press cloth or a thin piece of fabric between the iron and the appliqués.)
Step 5 – Machine-stitch the die-cut appliqués as desired, using either free-motion stitches or the pre-programmed stitches of the sewing machine, changing thread colors as necessary.
It may be helpful to make templates that can help with positioning the final piece inside the frame. From three half-sheets of cardstock, cut the Fitted Frames die three times, then tape successive frames inside each one so that you have three templates you can use to “audition” how the artwork will look with the addition of each layer of the frame. (The Fitted Frames die cuts multiple frames all at one time.) Make notes on each template with dimensions, and you won’t have to “reinvent the wheel” each time you use the Fitted Frames die. See the three examples below. The middle version was ultimately the one chosen. It was cut from two colors of cardstock for the finished frame.
Step 6 – Add sequins as desired, using hand stitches or glue formulated for holding non-porous surfaces (the sequins) to porous surfaces (the fabric). Suggestion: Beacon Gem Tac Glue. Trim the finished piece about 1/2” larger than the inside opening of the frame chosen. Use Clear Double Sided Adhesive to adhere the frame on top of the fabric piece, then glue the entire piece to the card front.
Include a cardstock easel in the envelope so the recipient can display your beautiful artwork. (Easel shown was cut with the Elizabeth Craft Designs Card Stand/Easel die.)
NOTE: If you prefer not to do any machine stitching, simply substitute a different iron-on adhesive (such as Heat n Bond Ultra Hold, which has a thicker layer of adhesive and is not intended for sewing) to permanently adhere the appliqués to the fabric background. (Stitching with this thicker adhesive will gum up the sewing machine needle, so only use it when you won’t be stitching.) Add details with “pen-stitching” – veins on leaves, birds in the air, etc. – using fine-tip permanent markers, available in a rainbow of colors.
These coasters were made with the Leafy Branch 5 and Bunch of Flowers 1 dies from Elizabeth Craft Designs. Cover 4” Peltex circles with adhesive-backed fabric and die-cut appliqués on the front, then free-motion stitch. Finish with another 4” fabric circle fused to the back, and finally satin-stitch around the edges.
Here’s another example of Elizabeth Craft Designs dies (Bunch of Flowers 2, Poinsettia, and Big Triple Leaf) used along the upper border of a tote bag. Fuse the shapes onto the background, then free-motion stitch in place. Add buttons for the flower centers.
Think of all the ways you can use die-cut fabric: appliqués on clothing (collars, cuffs, pockets), tote bags, baby items, coasters, pillows, kitchen items — the possibilities are endless!
Elizabeth Craft Designs:
Soft Finish Cardstock in desired colors (sample used Dark Chocolate and Spring Green)
5” x 7” blank card and envelope
Peltex 71f Ultra-Firm One-Sided Fusible Stabilizer, cut to 5” x 6”
HeatnBond Lite Iron-on Sewable Adhesive
Steam iron set on high (cotton setting)
100% cotton fabrics
Decorative threads of choice
Gem glue (like Beacon Gem Tac Glue), optional