Monday, February 14, 2011


My DSQ10 quilt top is all fluffed and ready to quilt.  I've ordered special thread - King Tut, Sahara Desert - for the job.  It is long staple Egyptian cotton with a great sheen, variegated in tans and pale grey.  I think it will look stellar.  But I have to wait for the post man....again.

In the mean time I thought you might like some hints for fluffing your own raw edge applique.

First off - you want to fluff it BEFORE you quilt.  When the fibers are loose you can easily pull them out from under the quilting stitches.  This way fluffy look will stay even after the quilting is done.  If you try to fluff after you quilt the quilting stitches will get in your way as you fluff, or the edges will get in your way as you quilt.  Either option is frustrating.  Don't go there.  Fluff First!!

You need to clip your curves.  This releases the crosswise fibers and lets you pull them out with a brush.  Clip them perpendicular to the top stitching at 1/4 of an inch intervals starting and finishing right next to the seam.  Be careful NOT to cut the top stitching or the background fabric.

I found it easiest to clip all of my curves before I started fluffing, but it really doesn't matter.  Use sharp scissors and good lighting and you will do fine.

Now you are going to need a few "special" tools - a new firm toothbrush, and a fine mist squirt bottle filled with water.  (I used an old hair spray bottle rinsed out and re purposed.)

Work one block at a time being careful to go at it systematically.  You don't want to miss a block.  I did and it looked very strange next to it's fuzzy brothers.

Lightly mist a block with water.  You want it wet - not dripping.  The water will loosen up the fibers and help you remove the ones that you don't want.

Start brushing, with the toothbrush bristles perpendicular to the fabric, in a circular motion.  Little fibers will easily pull away from the applique and you will start to get a fuzzy look.

The toothbrush bristles will start to fill with these pieces, as will your quilt top, your lap, the floor, your shirt, etc.  You want all of the fibers lying parallel to the top stitching to come out, but only from the loose edge.  If you brush too vigorously you may pull a few fibers from the other side.  If this happens don't worry about it, just stop brushing there.

As you get closer to being finished the fibers will be more difficult to release.  Try turning the bristles of the toothbrush so that they are parallel to the fabric and brush away from the top stitching.  When you are doing it correctly you will feel a little bit of a tug on the bristles - kind of like when you brush your hair.  Sometimes a little extra squirt of water helps too.

Between blocks do your best to clean out the toothbrush.  Using a comb, or other small brush works well for this.

The goal is to get all of your blocks to have a nice fluffy edge.  Be patient.  It takes a little while, but the end results are delicious. 


Martha said...

that really turned out cute Cindy. Not sure I am that patient to fuzz the edges.

emedoodle said...

adorably fuzzed edges! :) Thanks for showing us how to do it... not sure that I have the patience... but the outcome looks great!

Karen said...

wow - this is such a great idea - thanks for the explanation