Rose's Quilting Blog

This stabiliser gives me amazing results in my award winning Applique Quilts

This stabiliser gives me amazing results in my award winning Applique Quilts

Quilting stabilisers, Quilting papers, Do these confuse you?

Most people become very confused as to just what stabiliser or quilting
papers to use within their particular quilting project. Let’s face it, there’s a stabiliser for almost every quilting or sewing project that you may be doing,
then there’s also all the different papers to add to the mix, not to mention all the different bag making stabilisers, then there’s also the papers used for paper foundation piecing to help achieve all those beautiful & amazing points within
your quilts, next there’s the choices of iron on, water soluble, heat dis-solvable, tear away, leave in and forget it and the list just keeps growing like the magic pudding.

Is this why we often feel like we need more space, more cupboards, bigger sewing room, bigger credit cards and why our sewing areas get in a mess and
we need to declutter it to bring on our creativeness once again?

One can be forgiven to feeling a little overwhelmed when it comes to
choosing & using stabilisers. Is this how you yourself personally feel from time to time or maybe all the time? Be kind to yourself and know & understand that you’re not alone in feeling this way.

One thing that I very often suggest to my beautiful ladies, gentlemen &
quilters of all walks in life, is that you purchase a packet of sample stabilisers so you can gain a better understanding and usage of them. Be aware though that there’s never going to be just one brand that covers all your needs, but on
saying this there are many brands that have a huge range of stabilisers.

Today I’m going to just be focusing on the one type of paper and how,
where & why I like to always use this particular one.

As so many of you know I Love & Specialise in doing appliqué that looks
like needle turn but is all sewn on the sewing machine. All my award winning appliqué quilts including my Best of show quilts are all created using this technique and Yes I’ve been using this technique now for approx 40 years...
how time flies! You can check out some of my images here.

When creating my appliqué, which looks like needle turn, but is all sewn
on the machine, I want to achieve amazing points on the tips of my leaves, the
points on my birds or butterfly  wings and feathers, and beautiful rounded & smooth edges on my flowers etc. I want to be able to create a really nice edge because later within the making of my quilts I always also add trapunto under my appliqué to give my work many dimensions, so my stabiliser needs to do many things for me.   

I normally use Freezer paper for all the above and more. There are
several different brands but mostly I only use Reynolds Freezer paper which never fails me to achieve brilliant results and we’re all very familiar with this brand. It’s also a very cheap stabiliser in comparison to many others, but as I
say above in a roundabout way, all stabilisers have their own distinctive uses,
so don’t try using the wrong stabiliser to achieve a result it’s not made for.

For the technique that I normally use, I prefer to use freezer paper over some of the other stabilizers and papers, particularly papers like Floriani Wet N Gone. Now don’t get me wrong here as I Love using Floriani Wet N Gone, or a very similar brand, just not for my appliqué technique...why you may ask?

With using freezer paper, I find that I’m definitely able to get much better
points particularly when doing things like leaves, etc. Some of my leaves are so pointy they’re almost dangerous... hmmm

The freezer paper is firmer so allows you to really pull your fabric over the
edges and “work” it so much better. When I’m teaching in-person appliqué classes, this is something that I really focus on teaching my students on how to achieve these amazing points with using Reynolds freezer paper and it’s just so incredibly easy to work with, which also helps to achieve brilliant results.

Some of the other papers and stabilizers tend to soften once you have
placed your glue on it, hence this does not allow you to pull your fabric firmly against the edges that gives you a sharper edge.

Many people make comments to me about removing the paper from the
back of the quilt, and I don’t ever find this to be an issue, as everything has a process to it and this is just one of the processes that comes with using freezer paper.

Just think about when you’re making your own binding, it takes a little
time, but you get the result,colour, fabric design and width of binding that you want to’s just a process. Making a quilt is a process.

Basically once my total quilt top or section of appliqué has been attached
using a blind style stitch with my favoured monofilament thread, which is really easy to sew once you know how to set your machine properly and what brands of monofilament thread to use. I actually teach this within my Applique in-person classes, but it proved to be so incredibly successful that I then wrote a book on this same exact method that I teach within the class room that has helped thousands of people now learn and understand how to easily sew monofilament thread.

Anyway back to freezer paper...

Once I’ve finished attaching, I just turn the quilt over and cut around the
inside of the appliqué attaching stitching and I can easily remove the freezer paper pieces but simply wetting them, leaving them to soften a little and gently removing them, just making sure that I don’t break any of my appliqué stitching. That doesn’t normally happen as I’ve been doing this for so many years, I’m aware of how to easily remove the paper.

This takes away any stiffening that people are often dubious of.

On saying this when I made my “through the garden gate” quilt, I actually
forgot to remove it from behind one of my flower pots and only realised during the quilting process... too late then to do anything about it.

Well by the time the quilt was screwed up many times over, to fit under my domestic machine, and months adding & cutting trapunto, then months of quilting this quilt, next washing it to remove all my blue marking lines, then washed again after the quilt was totally finished ready for its first show, there was no feel, sound or stiffness anywhere within that area of the quilt to even know that a piece of freezer paper approx 6 x 8 inches had been left in the quilt.

It went on to win many awards including Best of Show and going up for
judging in the group of Best of Australia quilts. So don’t fear or concern too much if you happen to leave some of your freezer paper behind.

It’s such a brilliant paper to work with and can have many uses often only
limited by your imagination, but I can guarantee you that using this paper is one of the things that help me achieve brilliant results within my appliqué that looks like needleturn but is all sewn on the sewing machine. You can also check out my range of freezer paper and stabilisers here.

I always use Roxanne glue-Baste for doing the edges of my appliqué
when using Reynolds freezer paper. Roxanne's glue-baste is so brilliant and easily washes out when finished leaving no stiffness at all. If I’ve used massive amounts of it within my quilts and I often do, then I would just leave my quilt to soak for approx 30 minutes. I do wash and treat all my fabrics as soon as I bring them into the house after purchase so I never have to fear about fabric shrinkage or dye bleeds or colour runs...well I must admit I've experienced quite a dye bleed that went on to win Best of show. You can find out how I fixed this here.

I hope this has helped you to feel a little more comfortable with using
Reynolds freezer paper when your next doing turned edge appliqué.
I’ll talk about other stabilisers at another time.

That’s it for me here today
& I'll be back again next week
Have a beautiful creative & inspiring day

You'll always learn more from failures than from success.
The successes are the results of your failures.
Quote by Rose Lewis of Rose Lewis Quilting

Remember to also leave a comment below,
as this also helps others to learn within their personal creative journey.