1 - UNDERSTAND YOUR FRACTURED IMAGE PATTERN
Every fractured image pattern contains at least 2 essential elements: a fractured map and several pages of fractured pieces.
The fractured map is not at-scale but shows how each piece fit together. For large patterns the map might spawn on several pages.
The fractured pieces on the other hand are all at-scale at 1:1 and ready to be traced over your fabric. Typically a fractured image pattern may contain many pages of fractured pieces, each unique and identified with a number and a letter
2 - TRACING THE FRACTURED PIECES OVER FREEZER PAPER
Because each fractured piece must be cut onto fabric, we must first trace them onto freezer paper.
Freezer paper is a fusible paper that will stick on one side when heated.
Using a back light or a light box, each shape must be traced exactly as it is onto freezer paper. Don't forget to add the piece number and letter code, as well as every stars appearing on some ledges.
Once the shapes are traced, cut them exactly over each edge, in order to get your fractured pieces ready on freezer paper.
3 - SELECTING YOUR FABRIC
Another key element of every pattern is your color chart. You must choose one fabric for each color on the chart. If you want to change the pattern overall color, remember to keep the color tones gradations to preserve the final effect.
Once you have selected your fabrics, you can glue a sample on the fabrics chart to remind you which fabric corresponds to which letter code.
In the example below we are showing how to prepare the fractured pieces on fabric D and E.
4 - STABILIZING YOUR FABRICS
Since fractured image appliqués are built from a lot of small pieces, the fabric must be stabilized before it is cut. Without a stabilizer, the fabric might deform, warp or fray as it is cut and assembled. To do this we use a one-sided fusible quilter grid such as Pellon 820
Apply one layer of Pellon 820 (or any stabilizing material that only sticks on one side) on the back of each fabric before cutting them. A slow and even ironing will activate the fusible material and apply the stabilizer to your fabric.
5 - APPLY THE FREEZER PAPER PIECES TO EACH FABRIC
Each fractured piece cut in the freezer paper must then be applied on the right side of the proper stabilized fabric (based on the letter code on the fractured piece).
To summarize: fractured pieces sandwiches are made of freezer paper on top of the fabric and pellon 820 stabilizer on the back of the fabric.
Use your iron to apply the freezer paper on the stabilized fabric. Make sure to leave enough space between each fractured piece to add the required ledges. A 1/4" ledge will have to be added for each side marked with an star (*)
6 - CUTTING THE FABRIC
Before you cut the pieces, you must add a 1/4" ledge for each fractured piece's edge marked with a star (*) as indicated on this diagram.
The best way to cut the fabric is to use a rotary cutter and a ruler, since all fractured pieces have straight edges. However, you must make sure to trim the fabric at the tip of the ledges to avoid fabric overlap during assembly.
7 - FINISH ALL THE FRACTURED PIECES REQUIRED FOR A SECTION
If you have followed these instructions properly, each fractured piece should be made of a layer of freezer paper, a layer of fabric with edges extending outside the freezer paper, and a stabilizer fused at it's back.
Each freezer paper fractured piece will show a coded letter indicating which fabric to cut it off. Make sure all the fractured pieces required for an appliqué or an appliqué's section have been prepared on their proper fabric before assembly.
8 - ASSEMBLING THE APPLIQUÉ OR APPLIQUÉ'S SECTION
Follow your fractured map to know how to assemble fractured pieces together. Use simple washable school glue or stick blue over the ledges to assemble the pieces.
Your pattern is designed so that each fractured piece will overlap over the next piece like roof shingles. Assemble and glue the whole appliqué before you start sewing. For larger appliqués, your pattern will suggest assembly sections that can be assembled and sewed first, before assembling the sections themselves.
Refer to your fractured map at any time to make sure your pieces are correctly assembled.
9 - REMOVING THE FREEZER PAPER AND SEWING AT EACH JUNCTION
The freezer paper must be kept until the very last minute so that you can refer to your fractured map and know which pieces to assemble together.
However, it must be removed before stitching.
All you need to do is to apply a simple satin or zigzag stitch over the junction. Simply keep the machine needle straight over the junction line of each fractured pieces.
Once all the fractured pieces have been assembled and glued, and you have removed the freezer paper, your appliqué should appear, ready to be stitched in one pass, without even needing to cut the thread. Stitch all junctions and the appliqué is ready for your quilt!