No reverse, work forward applique


If you’ve ever added appliqué letters or numbers to your quilts like I did with the number 20 in the quilt above then you’ve probably used a traditional method of tracing your letters in reverse, cutting them out, realizing you did some of them backwards and then starting over again.  Well I have a better way to do appliqué and it works perfectly every time!  This technique is also known as the “work forward technique” and all you need is some Mistyfuse, parchment paper and a pencil.  I learned this from my good friend Iris Karp who as you might know is the owner of Attached Inc, the makers of my favorite fusible, Mistyfuse.

Let’s say you want to cut the letters F U S and E out of fabric so that you can apply them to your quilt.  The first step is to print the letters out in the size you want onto a piece of paper.


Now trace the letters onto a piece of parchment paper (NOT freezer paper) using a pencil.  Any pencil will do (although a softer lead works better than a hard one) and if you’re going to be using a light colored fabric just use a yellow or light colored pencil instead of a dark one.

workforward2I like to use Reynolds Brand parchment paper for this but experiment with other brands to see which one you like.

Note that if you don’t want to go to the trouble of printing out your letters first, you could just draw them directly onto the parchment paper.  Draw them just as you would write/read them – don’t reverse them.

Fuse a layer of Mistyfuse to the wrong side of the fabric that you want to cut your letters out of.  Put your parchment paper tracing on your ironing surface right side up and place the fabric wrong side down against the drawn letters.  The Mistyfuse side goes against the drawn letters.workforward3

Press the fabric with a hot iron, no steam- press it well and it doesn’t hurt to lean into it a bit.

Peel the fabric back and you’ll see that the drawn line has transferred to the wrong side of the fabric!

Now all you have to do is cut the letters out on the line, place them on your quilt and iron to fuse them in place!


12 thoughts on “No reverse, work forward applique

  1. You’ve just saved me a million big fat headaches. Pity I didn’t find this before my last set of big fat headaches!! I love mistyfuse but I also love paperbacked fusible because of the paperback. Now I get the best of both worlds.


  2. I’m a little late in posting a response, my apologies. Thank you so much for posting this – I’ve used this technique on several quilts after seeing it quite a while back, and think it’s brilliant! I’ve tagged this post so I can find it whenever this ol’ brain forgets. Love your style, and thank you for sharing your work – I’ve dyed fabric from instructions in your DVD, and am getting ready to create my own wonky house quilt with your instructions on the DVD. You’re so inspirational, and it’s always fun to try new things! Love having a DVD to follow – it’s like having my own personal teacher in my sewing room 😍


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