Saturday, August 24, 2013

Spa treatment for finished blocks...

The first two blocks of my new "Contentment" project are all hand appliqued and ready for my "glue removal spa treatment..."

I use two different glues while doing my hand applique...both temporary, although they are both archival glues and could be left safely in the fabric.  I start out with cool water, and add more and more warm water as I am assured of my fabric's color fastness (I'm a fabric washer, so I am pretty sure of nothing running at this point...).  Warm water seems to dissolve the glues faster for some reason.

I use Elmer's Disappearing Purple Glue Sticks (the smaller size) to glue my raw edges to the back, or wrong side of the fabric.  I've seen pre-schoolers sucking on those madly, like a purple Popsicle...those suckers are SAFE (no pun intended).

And because hand sewing around straight pins make me super cranky, I use Roxanne's Glue Baste in teeny-tiny dots to hold things together while I concentrate on invisible stitches.

(You can faintly see my "dot-dot-not-a-lot" dots on the wrong side of the pant legs below.  Even when I use the tiniest dot possible, they spread out when the 2 fabric layers are mashed together.)  

I soak, gently squeeze, replace water, and repeat until I can no longer see the little dots.  The glue stick comes out in minutes.  The Roxanne's takes a little longer...a lot longer depending on how much glue baste you use.  

I left these two blocks about 4 hours...I walk by and squeeze-release a few times while they are swimming around to help the process along.

WITHOUT WRINGING, I GENTLY ball up the blocks together and squeeze out the excess water.  I was super gentle this time, as I had already cut away a little bit of the backing behind larger motifs to remove excess dark fabric that was peeking through.  (I usually sew some layered motifs together before placing on the background, but this time I glue basted everything together so I could stitch on them away from home.

I gently pat each block out, right side down, on a clean towel over my pressing surface.

I fold the towel over the block, then gently roll up the towel.

Then I gently squeeze along my roll, NEVER wringing.

I pat out the block again on my towel, face down, and pat to smooth it out, NEVER pulling or tugging.


I press (lifting to move the iron) with my hot, dry iron to mostly dry the block and remover wrinkles.

These blocks will finish 10 inches when I trim them down, which I will wait to do, just in case I change my mind about the setting, etc  

This one commemorates the day we met...

Hey, check out LuAnn at Loose Threads...she is using the glue sticks to make her cool and so clever!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. oh I really love your new blocks, very fun. I tend to shy away from the glue sticks but I may have to give them a try. thanks for sharing your process.
    love the header picture :) just made me smile.

  2. Thanks for sharing your process. I must remember that the next time I applique.

  3. Yes. Your blocks are getting a spa treatment. I will remember when I start to applique. Love your folk art home. Thanks!

  4. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Your blocks are looking just lovely. This is exactly how I remove the glue from my blocks.

  6. I love your new applique blocks Teresa, they are just darling. When I begin my next applique project, I'm going to try your technique, it sounds really great.
    Be sure to have a great weekend

  7. So cool to get lessons from the master (or is it mistress?!)
    I hate the pins too.
    I am getting better at the stitching part.
    Thanks for the inspiration. have total creative license to make your blocks reflect whatever the reality is in your mind! LOL

  8. WOW--you ARE on a roll, Teresa; such lovely work--love those memory blocks--thanks for posting your method to de-glue....hugs, Julierose

  9. Thank You for showing us how to gently wash our blocks. I have never washed my quilts after quilting them. I now realize how important it is to wash. I am working on the LE bom and will give your method of appliquing a try. Many Thanks!!

  10. Thanks so much for sharing your process of removing the glue from your blocks. I do a similar procedure when I use glue, which is not too frequently.


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