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How To Remove Fabric Beneath Applique




Hand Applique or Mock Hand Applique

In general, I do not cut out underlying layers beneath applique shapes. I am not concerned about the bulk of what usually could be two or maybe three layers of fabric. However, the time when I would cut out an underlying layer is when a darker fabric color is showing through from underneath a lighter layer, such as:

  • a yellow flower center layered on top of darker petals

  • darker green leaves under a light-colored flower

  • darker leaves underneath lighter leaves


Another example would be when using a narrow bias tube vine stem that has overlapping elements. The bias tube vine stem consists of several layers, which does give it nice dimension on the quilt surface. However, underneath leaves and flowers it can show up as a darker color and/or a raised "pipeline". If that appears to be what will happen, and this requires pre-planning, I would cut the bias tube into segments of the appropriate length plus enough extra to get under the edges of the overlapping flowers and leaves. I would applique these segments along the placement lines of the pattern diagram that I had drawn on my background fabric, then fill in the empty spaces with leaves and flowers. Of course, this would not be necessary where flowers and leaves just bump up to the vine stem or overlap only partially - such as in my Autumn Memories and Hydrangea Blossoms patterns.

Fusible Applique

Much of fusible applique involves layering shapes one over another, and then after the fusing is completed, it is not possible to cut out the darker shadows. So this also requires pre-planning. Lighter-colored shapes where this problem could happen need to have an extra layer added in advance.

So the first step is to identify which shapes will have a problem. Some examples are:

  • a light design element on top of a dark design element

  • a light fabric on top of a printed fabric

  • probably all light-colored shapes on a dark background fabric such as black, purple, or dark blue


Next, use Wonder Under to fuse a layer of white muslin to the wrong side of the light-colored fabrics. That extra layer of white muslin is usually enough to block the shadow from the darker fabric. Proceed as you normally would to create your shapes using your double-layered fabrics.

When & how to remove fabric

beneath Applique shapes

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