I'm working on a new Tree quilt - another commission. The fabric I selected for the tree is a lovely wood print, but it has a few knots in it, which look a bit odd when they appear on a relatively small branch (most of the branches are a bit under 1/4in wide.
So once the tree, traced on Lite Steam-a-seam 2 and trimmed, is placed on the chosen fabric, I move it to the best position in terms of print patterning and economic fabric use, then 'bend' the branches away from the knots where necessary. The photo above shows a narrow branch falling partially across a knot, which I wanted to move.
This photo (above) shows how I cut the fusible web - a simple slit through the branch almost to the cutting line on one side (from the left in this case), and opposite, a teeny-tiny wedge (about 1/8in wide) on the side towards which I'm going to bend the branch. The tip of the wedge is about 1mm (yes, I know I'm mixing my measurements!) from the end of the slit - handle it carefully.
Then it's just a case of bending the branch gently away from the knot and repositioning it. I don't need to bend it far to get it clear. Steam-a-seam is great for this, because a quick press with your hand will hold it temporarily in place (it's still easily re-positionable though) until it's pressed permanently in place with the iron. The tiny gap in the fusing (remember I'll cut it out along the drawn line after ironing the tree in place) isn't big enough to be a problem one I've appliqued it with a small machine buttonhole stitch.
The same technique can be used on wider pieces, too (this section above is about an inch wide at the slit.
When cutting it out, you just need to carefully smooth-out the adjusted curve on either side so there's no kink - only a small adjustment is necessary.