What happened when I tried temporary fabric adhesive for applique

Applique with iron-on adhesive web

When I do machine applique, like the almond blossom in the image above, I typically secure the applique to the background fabric with iron-on adhesive web and then finish the edges of the applique with zigzag stitches.

Several sewists have asked me if I’ve ever tried a fabric adhesive stick instead of iron-on adhesive web. I hadn’t. But I thought I’d give it a try.

For this experiment I tried a temporary fabric adhesive stick from Missouri Star Quilt Company – and here I feel that I need to point out that this isn’t a sponsored article, and I’m not receiving anything from Missouri Star Quilt Company for writing about their product, I just thought you might be interested in this adhesive and how well it worked for appliques.

Now, this stick is a temporary fabric adhesive, not fabric glue. Fabric glues I’ve used in the past left the fabric stiff. That’s not ideal when making an item that you want to drape well, like a challah cover that you’ll drape over loaves of challah.

Temporary Fabric Adhesive

I did my temporary fabric adhesive experiment on a blossom from the Almond Blossoms Challah Cover Pattern. Finishing the curved edges and corners with machine zigzag stitches would make a good test of how well the adhesive would hold.

Here’s how it went:


When I ran the adhesive stick across the back of the applique, the adhesive spread easily and evenly. I realized quickly that I wouldn’t be able to rub the adhesive stick all the way to edges of the applique, however, or the fibers at the edge would pull away, creating frayed edges. This is unlike using iron-on adhesive web, which covers the entire applique right up to the edges and fuses to the fibers at the edges for a nice clean edge.


The adhesive was exceptionally light, hardly adding any weight to the fabric. The fabric wasn’t at all stiff, the way fabric often becomes with typical fabric glues.


The adhesive was highly effective at holding the applique in place while I finished the edges of the applique on the machine. Even while working along the blossom’s curves and corners the applique stayed in place.


Because the adhesive stick doesn’t seal the edges of the applique like iron-on adhesive web, the edges of the applique were a bit frayed. I image the fraying would become more pronounced after washing, although I didn’t do a test wash.

Here’s the Upshot:

For machine applique, I still prefer iron-on adhesive web to the fabric adhesive stick to get neat, clean edges on the appliques.

For hand-sewing appliques, fabric adhesive holds the applique to the background fabric strongly enough that it could be a workable alternative to pins, at least when working with quilting fabrics.

Take a look in the shop for the full pattern for the Almond Blossoms Challah Cover.

Challah Cover Sewing Pattern Almond Blossoms