Applique 101

For those of you who are new to machine applique, here are some of the basics:

 There are 2 types of machine applique.  The type that I use on my site is "CUT IN PLACE".  This is a very simple way of doing applique. 

With every embroidery design you need a good stabilizer fabric, and applique is the same.  I use a nice firm tear-away stabilizer. 

Here are the basics instructions of applique:

1. Use a temporary spray adhesive to adhere your fabric to your stabilizer.  I always spray on the stabilizer instead of the fabric.

2. Put your fabric with stabilizer in your hoop with as little wrinkles as possible, making sure your fabric is taut but not too tight, as to pull when you sew.  (I like to use an iron on spray starch for this because it keeps the fabric from puckering. Simply spray it on the fabric and iron it. You can buy this at any store where laundry supplies are sold.)

3. The first stitch you sew is the placement line. This will show you how big you need your fabric to be. Cut your fabric large enough to cover the placement line and adhere it in place on top of the hoop.

4.  The next stitch will be your tack down stitch, some people call it the cut away stitch.   After running this stitch, remove your hoop from the machine. DO NOT REMOVE DESIGN FROM HOOP. 

5. Cut away fabric outside of sewing as closely as you can, being careful not to cut the stitches. Using the back of the curved embroidery scissors is best for this.

6.  Return hoop to machine and continue with this same applique process until all of your fabric is tacked down and excess material is cut away.

7.  Return your machine to the hoop so you can sew out embroidery details and run the satin stitches around the pieces.

8.  Remove the design from the hoop and gently tear away stabilizer. Iron the design again to remove any creases the hoop may of left.




Here are a few tricks I have picked up:

1.  I always use a temporary fabric spray like 505.  This one specifically is odorless, colorless,stainless,spotless, and most importantly, DOES NOT GUM UP YOUR MACHINE OR NEEDLES, and has no CFC. ( I am not affiliated with this spray company in any way)

2.  I recommend using "CURVED EMBROIDERY SCISSORS" to cut out your fabric around your cut lines.  These are about $13 and can  be purchased at your local fabric or sewing machine store.  These are great for getting into small areas to cut.

3.  Fill multiple bobbins before you start a design.  This will take away the hassle of having to stop to fill a bobbin.  Also, you can purchase bobbin winder machines at your local fabric store.  These are great.  It is just a little plug in machine that fills your bobbins, instead of using your sewing machine.  With some machines you have to unthread them to fill a bobbin, so this is a great alternative.

4.  If you are using stretchy fabrics , don't pull them too tight or your design will be distorted when you remove it from the hoop. You may also want to use a cut away stabilizer instead of a tear away for this.

5.  When using fleece, terry cloth or other fabrics with a high pile, use a tear-away stabilizer on back of design and use a wash away stabilizer on top of design.  This prevents the pile from showing through your stitches, and conveniently washes away.

6.  If you notice holes in your fabric as you stitch, try changing your needle.  When a needle is not sharp it will leave needle marks or holes in your fabric. 

7.  If your design has a lot of fill stitch you can double up on stabilizer to help keep the fabric from puckering and pulling.