What if you want to make an item with an applique? Maybe a Misha Vest that has two applique version? Or perhaps you want to add applique to any other pattern you have? Applique instructions call for fusible mesh stabilizer, which you can buy in almost any fabric store or online, but what if you do not want to buy the whole roll just for one applique? Is there a way to substitute a regular fusible stabilizer instead?
These are all great questions! I decided to run a test and try out four fusible stabilizers I had on hand:
- fusible mesh stabilizer
- medium weight fusible interfacing
- lightweight fusible interfacing
- stretch fusible interfacing
For my test, I used a medium weight jersey as the garment fabric and woven cotton scraps for applique fabric. I have reinforced all applique pieces with medium weight fusible interfacing.
I used the same steps of attaching applique. First I fused the interfacing pieces to the back of the main fabric. I then basted the appliques on and finally, I attached the applique to the fabric using a tight zig-zag stitch.
The next step would be to peel off the backing stabilizer and trim it. I suppose one can leave the stabilizer as is and not trim it, but I do prefer the fabric unaffected by the applique to stretch and behave like it normally would, and I like how tidy everything looks on the inside.
|Fusible Mesh Stabilizer||Medium Weight Fusible||Stretch Fusible||Lightweight Fusible|
|Iron Before Peeling||no||yes||yes||yes|
|Ease of Peeling||easy||ok||ok||hard|
|Glue Residue||none||very little||little||some|
|Applique Support||great||great||good||very little|
|Final Result||nice and tidy||nice and tidy||nice a tidy||ok|
Fusible Mesh Stabilizer
Fusible mesh behaved just like I expected it to. It peeled off easily without having to be heated, and then I trimmed it off without any issues. There was no glue residue left on the fabric, either. The final result looked nice and tidy.
Medium Weight Fusible Interfacing
I was pleasantly surprised by how well this interfacing behaved. I needed to heat it up with the iron first to be able to peel it off, but it peeled off really easily after that. There was no glue residue and the final result looked very similar to how fusible mesh looked.
Stretch Fusible Interfacing
I also had to heat up this interfacing with an iron before peeling it off. It was a little bit harder to peel off, and it did leave some residue on the fabric. Although I suppose with this interfacing being stretchy, you don’t have to peel it off and trim it.
Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
This interfacing was hard to peel off, even after being heated for a while. It left a lot of residue on the fabric. OIt also didn’t seem to support the applique as well as the other interfacings did.
The short answer is you do not need to have a fusible mesh stabilizer for applique. If you are not planning to make a lot of appliques I would suggest not buying fusible mesh stabilizer just for this purpose and use medium weight or stretch fusible interfacing instead.
Even though I still prefer fusible mesh, it is not by much. For me, it only ranks better in the ease of trimming the extra after you have sewn on the applique.
Mediumweight fusible would be my second choice, just because it seemed to behave most similar to fusible mesh.
Stretch fusible was a close third. It was a little bit harder to peel off and left some residue on the fabric.
I would not recommend using lightweight interfacing for the purpose of supporting the applique.
Peeling the stabilizer
Finally, here are the steps to peel the stabilizer off after you have sewn the applique on.
- press the iron directly onto the stabilizer (wrong side of the garment) to warm up the glue
- keep the iron on for a few seconds, and then carefully peel the stabilizer off up to the stitching line or as close as you want to
- the longer you keep the iron on, the easier it should be to peel the stabilizer off
If you find there is still glue residue on the fabric after you’ve peeled the stabilizer off, put a pressing cloth or scrap fabric on top and press again. Keep the iron there for a few seconds (6-10) to let the glue soften and transfer onto the scrap fabric. Then take the iron off and peel the fabric off. Following these steps should clean up the residue.
I hope this blog post helps you with appliques! Let me know if you have any questions about appliques and I would be happy to answer them.