To Sew or Not to Sew?

To Sew or Not to Sew?   This is one of my most frequently asked questions!   A customer recently contacted me and asked this about the snowflakes.  I was happy to reply, but after doing so thought that I should address it here as well.

The answer is no…  And sometimes yes.

You do not have to sew the appliques down as they are backed with Steam a Seam 2.  This means all you need to do is peel off the paper backing, place where you want, and iron down.  The great thing about laser cuts is that the heat melts the Steam a Seam 2 into the cut edge as it is cutting and greatly reduces the chance of the edge fraying.

However, there are some applications I would like to mention that might warrant sewing to be safe.

Personally, I would sew down if I were making a baby blanket that would go through heavy handling and many washings… sometimes for years!  That bunny would not look quite so cute if one of his eyes fell off a couple of years in, even if it did add character!  For the same reason, I did free motion stitching on my cardinal that I put on the back of my denim jacket.  I knew I would be wearing the jacket in the car, and was concerned about the constant rubbing of the applique on the back of the seat.

Free motion embroidery to secure the cardinal applique on the back of a denim jacket.


Sofa pillows?  To me that would depend on the use they would get.  I have 10 grandchildren who love to rough house with pillows.  I would either sew those down or put them up somewhere when I knew the kids were coming.  If your house is less rowdy than mine and the pillows are seasonal or mostly decorative, you probably would not need to sew.

I do NOT stitch down my wall quilts or table runners, and most of those are samples that I drag around to shops, guilds, and shows. I do not fold them but I do roll them around a pool noodle, and they have held up fine.

I did not stitch this applique down because I wanted it to puff up above the quilting.


Are you seeing a pattern here?  If you have a particular idea that this is not helping with, I am always happy to help.  Just use the contact form and I will get back to you.  I personally answer all emails so it may take 24 hours.

A few of my other posts might help as well, so I will list them here and provide the links.

In THIS POST, I have photos of a fusible test project I did to decide which fusible substrate to use for my appliques.  It includes photos of different ways of applying and how they held up through washing.

THIS POST discusses using your quilting over the top of the applique to help hold them in place!)

THIS POST is unrelated, but has a photo of the cardinal on the jacket which I referred to earlier.  You can see the free motion embroidery I added to help adhere the applique to the jacket back.  I hope this helps in your decision to sew or not to sew.

Be kind today.   This holiday season was brutal for many people, especially those who have lost loved ones over the past couple of years.  Stay safe.  Who dreamt we would still be talking about masks now!?  And most of all, have your own personal get away and create something… anything… today!

Do you have other questions?  Please feel free to contact me!

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