Lapel Stick Fabric Adhesive

There are four ways that I have used glue sticks in the quilt-making process. Two I use frequently with hand appliqué, one I employ occasionally for basting, and one I discovered while experimenting with a decorative edge finish. Let me tell you how I use glue and about my favorite new product for the job: Lapel Stick.

I should preface my remarks with the fact that I don’t particularly like using glue. I detest sticky fingers and am concerned about keeping my sewing work areas clean. I have found glue sticks to alternately come out in clumps or in long gooey strings like melted mozzarella. But there are times when a glue stick comes in handy.

Appliquéd Circles
I prepare circles for hand appliqué by taking a running stitch in the seam allowance, gathering the circle around a template, and pressing with liquid starch. Often these circles are too small to pin or the pin would cause too much distortion. I use a glue stick to hold the prepared circle in place on the background fabric while I stitch it in place.

Lined Appliqué
Dark-colored fabrics tend to shadow through light-colored ones. To avoid this during hand appliqué, I cut a lining patch without seam allowances out of plain white fabric and glue it to the back of the light-colored patch. I then needle-turn appliqué the lined patch to the background fabric. (See the article “Avoid Shadowing in your Quilts”.)

Glue Basting to Freezer Paper
Some appliqué methods involve basting seam allowances to freezer paper, which can be done with thread or glue. The glue stick must be water-soluble in order to remove the freezer paper once the appliqué is complete. This is a very sticky job, although the Easy Edge Appliqué Tool really helps.

Decorative Edge Finish
My quilt Flourish on the Vine has a decorative edge finish of half-inch clamshells. They were attached to the quilt with a knife-edge finish, but I needed to come up with a way to hold hundreds of tiny half-circles in place before sewing. I used the Lapel Stick to temporarily glue the clamshells to strips of tear-away stabilizer. After the clamshells were stitched in place and the stabilizer removed, a light spray of water easily removed any glue residue.

Clamshells glued

Clamshell Decorative Edge Finish

This was the first time I tried Lapel Stick and I was impressed: no clumps, no gooey strings, and hardly any sticky fingers! Lapel Stick quickly replaced the glue stick in my appliqué kit and I have enjoyed using it to hold fabric circles in place and to line light-colored patches. I haven’t done any glue-basting lately, but I will be sure to try Lapel Stick when I do. You can purchase a 3-pack of Lapel Stick for $15 from their website or search for a retailer near you.

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