I’ve always loved the look of fabric applique, but with my past struggles with sewing have lead me to learn that an embroidery machine is out of my league. It’s also for that reason that I didn’t really venture into the fabric world very often, until I learned that I could make my own fabric applique designs with fabric and HTV!
There are two key ingredients to no-sew applique designs with Silhouette: Terial Magic and HeatnBond Ultra! Of course you saw the Terial Magic in action when making the baby fabric flower headbands, and you know about the amazing crisp, clean lines that using Terial Magic gives you. Today we’re going to pair that up with a fusible product, HeatnBond Ultra, to adhere the fabric to the baby bodysuit from Kids Blanks.
With the fabric in place, we are going to then seal around the edges with a really amazing product: Chemica Galaxy Stretchable HTV from SewingMachine.com. I love using the Galaxy Stretchable HTV on these soft, knit bodysuits and especially baby projects because it’s so smooth to the touch, unlike regular glitter HTV. To my knowledge, Galaxy is the only smooth, stretchable HTV on the market, so it’s definitely good to stock up when you can.
And of course, we can’t forget about the awesome designs sponsored by JSL Custom Creations on Etsy! Be sure to check out the other designs she has available, she’s got some pretty amazing things going on! We’re using the Hedgehog from the Baby Animal Design No-Sew Applique Bundle, but they are sold individually, too!
Ok, so if you have used HeatnBond before, this will probably seem like a no-brainer for you, so just bare with the rest of us. The first thing we’re going to talk about is how to make the file, since for most designs, you’ll need to create a border for the HTV to seal the fabric.
So let’s start with the hedgehog design. This is what your standard cut file would look like. If you were cutting this in HTV, this design would be all that you need.
Because we want to seal the edges of our fabric so that they don’t fray, we need to create a border around each part of the design. We’re going to do this using the Offset tool. Depending on the border that you need, you can adjust the Distance higher or lower (this is the distance from the original line). Once you are satisfied, click Apply.
Next, we are going to use the Offset tool again, but we are going to create an Internal Offset, meaning it will be on the inside of the design. The process is the same and I recommend using the same Distance as you did for the regular Offset.
You will repeat this for each part of the file until all the fabric pieces are surrounded with HTV.
Now select your original design and make sure they are grouped together. You can select more than one object by holding down the Shift key and clicking on each piece.
Once grouped, move the original cut file to the side. You’ll see the makings of your HTV border.
Now it’s time to make some Compound Paths. By using your drag box, select each set of Offsets. For example, first I will select the two sets of spiky lines making up the back of the hedgehog. I will then right-click on my mouse to access the shortcut menu, then click Make Compound Path. Repeat this for the other two sets also.
Now select all three sets with your drag box, right-click and click on Weld. This will merge all three Offset sets together to form one cohesive border for your HTV.
Now you can line back up the boarder with the original and see that you have a nice, even border around the entire design with a separation between where your fabrics will meet.
Now that the hard part is out of the way, let’s talk about applying this file to fabric. First, we need to determine the size of our project. I use the easy way and grab my cutting mat. My bodysuit is 7” wide.
To give an inch on each side, I know I want my design to be 5” wide.
Go ahead and cut the design border in HTV. Don’t forget to mirror the HTV design (but do NOT mirror the part you will be cutting in fabric). The easiest way is to select the border and the eye lash, then right-click and choose Flip Horizontally.
Now isolate the HTV border and cut out of the silver Galaxy HTV. This will make it easy when it’s time to cut the fabric. For the cut settings, you’ll choose:
Material: Heat Transfer Material Smooth | Blade: 3 | Speed: 8 | Thickness: 20
Remember to use the Test Cut feature to make sure your settings are correct. It will vary based on your individual blade use and age.
Using the HTV cut, go ahead and cut enough fabric to fit your design. Give yourself a little room around the edges. You’ll also want to line up the cut fabric with the HeatnBond. Tip: you actually want to make your HeatnBond a little smaller than your fabric, otherwise the adhesive will stick to your Teflon pillow (or the mat of your heat press). I learned this the hard way, but luckily the adhesive came right off my Teflon pillow.
Now comes the time for the Terial Magic! To go ahead and answer a question, why are we using Terial Magic when we are already using HeatnBond. The answer is because using the Terial Magic to stiffen the fabric will make the cuts through the treads cleaner. You could cut without it as long as you are using the HeatnBond, but you’ll be much happer using Terial Magic anytime you cut fabric!
Spray the fabric with Terial Magic and set aside to dry. Terial Arts has a dedicated section on their website to learning how to use Terial Magic with fabric, so be sure to check it out! Their video is better than mine anyways 😉
With your stiffened fabric in hand, line it up with the ROUGH side of your HeatnBond, then press them with either your iron or heat press, fabric face down.
Now line the fabric pieces (fabric facing up) on the cutting mat. Make sure to pay attention to where your pieces are aligned in Silhouette Studio so that your fabric is where it needs to be to cut.
For your cut settings, you want to use Material Type: Fabric, thick fabric like canvas.
When your menu expands, scroll down and check out your settings. You should have:
Blade: 5 | Speed: 5 | Thickness: 33
Don’t forget to do a Test Cut to make sure your settings are correct AND don’t forget to use your designated fabric blade. You don’t need a “fabric” blade per say, but it’s the equivalent of keeping a separate pair of fabric scissors, highly recommended. You can use a regular ratchet blade, as long as you mark it to know it’s your fabric blade.
You should get nice, crisp cut lines.
With both the fabric and the HTV cut, it’s now time to align them together on the bodysuit. Start by removing the backing on the HeatnBond to leave the adhesive on the fabric. You’ll be able to tell because the back of the fabric will be shiny. If it’s not, repress the fabric with the iron or heat press.
I start by aligning the biggest piece, or the piece that will be in the center. Make sure that no fabric edges are exposed.
Now lay that down where you want it on the bodysuit. You can the pull up the edges of the HTV carrier sheet to slide the other pieces in with your tweezers. DO NOT place the eyelash just yet.
With all the pieces in place, carefully inspect the design to make sure no fabric edges are exposed. Then proceed to press in accordance to the heating instruction for the Chemica Galaxy HTV. You can download the full data sheet with heating and care instructions from the Chemica website.
See how it’s a cold peel? Remember that means you have to let it completely cool after heating. Although the HeatnBond is already set, let the HTV cool before attempting to remove the carrier sheet. Trust me, it’s worth the wait for this gorgeous and smooth HTV.
You can now cut the eyelashes out of the navy blue QuickFlex. With it being only a 5 second press, you don’t have to worry about overheating the glitter, which makes it great for this project!