Adding Text to Your Quilts

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Sue Bleiweiss, the author of upcoming book Modern Art Quilts, is an expert at using fusible appliqué to create unique art quilts, including ones that incorporate text. Luckily for us, she's put together a series of videos demonstrating the techniques she uses to appliqué text.


There are a lot of ways to add text to your quilts, and my favorite way is to create appliqué letters that can be fused on and then stitched over. I have three methods that I use. . . My most often-used way is using a product called Transdoodle. It is a non-waxy, non-staining, reusable, chalky-colored transfer paper for clear guidelines that never set—not even with ironing—and simply rub out with the swipe of a cloth or in the wash.

I love this product, and it is a definitely a staple in my studio. You can get it at quilt shops or online on the Mistyfuse website. Here’s a video that shows how I use it. I shot this video using my iPhone so you may have to turn the volume up a bit to hear me.

If you don’t have any Transdoodle on hand, here is another option for creating text appliqués:

What I like about both of these methods is that there is no need to do any reversing of the letters, numbers, or shapes that you want to create an appliqué of.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that sometimes I use my Sizzix to create text for my quilts. This is a great way to create text appliqués. The only drawback is that you’re limited to using the size of the die. You can’t enlarge or reduce the size of the text. Still, there have been many instances where I have used the text dies that I have to add words and numbers to my quilt. I have two Sizzix machines in my studio: a Big Shot, which accommodates dies up to 6″ wide, and a Big Shot Pro, which can accommodate dies up to 12″ wide. And these machines are not just great for creating text. There are hundreds of dies available in all kinds of shapes, including an entire line devoted to quilting wool appliqué, purse-making, and softies. You can find more information about these machines and all the dies available on the Sizzix website here.

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