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Will my machine applique hold up if I don't use double sided fusible interfacing?

by Stephanie
(Zeeland, MI)

Stephanie writes...


I'm working on my first quilt. I have added my daughter's name to the quilt using fusible interfacing to the back side of the letters and then zig zag stitching the letters to the quilt. So the letters are not fused on the quilt side, simply zig zag stitched.

It has turned out beautifully, but I'm wondering if it's going to hold up?

I went back and read how to applique and I guess I missed the step where it talked about using double sided fusing.

Any advice?

Should I take them off (crying - it took me forever to stitch them on so neatly)?


Julie replies...

Congratulations on your first quilt! It's so much fun and so satisfying when you're finished.

And unlike laundry, dishes and housework...


Rest easy, this is not something that you'll have to rip out.

Unlike fusible interfacing which is a fiber with glue applied to it on one side, double-sided fusible web is literally a very thin sheet of glue and nothing else.

The advantage of using it for machine applique is two-fold:
  1. The glue helps to seal the cut edges of the applique and minimize any unraveling and errant threads. Your fusible interfacing applied to the back of the letters served this same function. So far, so good!

  2. The other side of the fusible web helps the positioned applique to stay put while stitching, i.e. you iron the applique in place to activate the glue. And Voila! You don't need any pins to to keep it from moving while you stitch.

    You didn't mention any issues while stitching the letters down, so no problem there either. Good job!

    In fact, if you used fusible interfacing again, you could use Elmer's Washable Glue stick—the kind that goes on purple and dries clear— to 'stick' the appliques in place for stitching. You just need to remember to wash out the glue when the quilt is finished
The only problem you may encounter with your quilt is if you used a really open zig zag where there's not much thread coverage over the cut edges of the letters. Over time you may see some fraying of those edges. If that's the case, you could re-stitch over the top to add thread coverage.

When you wash the quilt, use as little agitation as possible so as not to abrade the fabrics.

I think you should celebrate your accomplishment! I certainly do!

I'd love to see your quilt when it's finished, please consider sharing it here.

Readers, you are welcome and encouraged to share your knowledge and experience using the 'comment' link below.

Thank you!


Julie Baird

Comments for Will my machine applique hold up if I don't use double sided fusible interfacing?

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What about using only GLUE STICK and no fusible anything?
by: Eklectika

Hello! First want to say what a great site this is for beginners ~ very much appreciate so much educational info.

Okay. So I am doing a whole-cloth lap quilt and want to only glue stick on 5 inch square and then quilt on top thru batting/backing. I plan to use a buttonhole/blanket stitch to secure the edges as well as quilting the entire quilt sandwich. For the life of me...I cannot conceive of the WHY behind having to use any fusible iron on fabric/web at all. And I've read numerous articles. So maybe something is not computing? Bottom line for me is that I want quilt to remain supple and not stiff at all from any fusible web material.

Am I simply bonkers with my idea that I can do use a glue stick only....yet still come out with a quality product?

Time is of the essence.

Thanks for your help/guidance.


From the Editor: I totally get where you're coming from.

The advantage of having a fusible on the back and then using a satin- or decorative-stitch on the edge is that the fusible 'binds' the threads together on the edge. Much more than a glue would.

Sometimes those threads want to fray while you're stitching. That can look messy on the finished product. And what do most people want to do with a thread that's sticking out?

Why pull on it, of course!

To eliminate the stiffness, here's a trick you can do.

The whole purpose is to have the fusible at the very edge of the fabric, right?

So, using that concept, trace out your shape onto the fusible just as you would normally. (Reversing if you need to...)

BEFORE Fusing it to the back of your fabric, cut out the inside of the shape&—leaving a good 1/4" of fusible between where you stop cutting and the outline (the edge of the shape) you traced.

This is sometimes called 'windowing' or 'window paning'. You've removed all the fusible from the center, leaving a 1/4" frame at the edges right where the fusible does it real work.

I'm not home right now or I'd take some pictures.

Fuse this to the wrong side of your fabric as usual (following manufacturer's instructions for your specific fusible).

Then cut on on the line you traced just as you always would.


While there's still a bit of stiffness at the edges, it's only where you need it. The rest of the patch remains soft and supple.

Does this help?


Julie Baird

Thank you!!
by: Stephanie

Thanks Julie for your help. I'm so relieved I don't have to take it apart.

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