Tips & Tricks: Easy Machine Applique

Machine Applique

Here are some of our favorite tips, tricks and techniques when doing machine applique. We've had plenty of those 'this is never going to work' times, it's really nice to know that the end successes were so worth it!

Tie Off Methods

1. When a section of applique is completed, raise the needle and reduce the stitch length to a very short straight stitch (1.0 or 1.5)

2. Sew 3 or 4 stitches in the ditch beside the satin stitch and clip close to the surface

3. Pull the top thread to the wrong side of the fabric by tugging on the bobbin thread

4. Use a pin to pull it through; then tie the two threads into a knot and clip

Tips & Tricks

• Use two-or-three pieces of stabilizer under an area of the design that extends past the applique pattern pieces to keep the satin stitch from ripping or distorting. For example the septers for the Nutcracker Queens.

• Occasionally dark colored backgrounds or stripes will distort the color of the lighter colors used for the applique pattern pieces. To prevent this, fuse a featherweight interfacing to the back of the lighter color before applying the fusible web.

• Fabrics that ravel, like tissue lame', satin, taffeta, silk, and other delicate fabrics have to be stabilized before they can be used for an applique. Fuse either a featherweight interfacing or a tricot backed interfacing to the wrong side before applying the fusible web.

• Apply fusible web directly to the back of tricot-backed lame'. Use a pressing cloth over the lame' to fuse it to the background fabric to keep it from melting.

• Always un-sew (rip out) a satin stitch and other decorative stitches from the wrong side of the background fabric. Use a surgical steel seam ripper with a curved blade on the bobbin threads and the top thread will pull away easily.

• Save larger pieces of stabilizer removed from a project to reinforce smaller applique areas.

• Convert a hand applique pattern to machine applique by tracing the pattern pieces onto the dull side of freezer paper. Be sure to number them before cutting them apart. Iron them onto the right side of the applique fabric. Apply the fusible web to the wrong side of the fabric and cut them out. Fuse as directed.

• Applique patterns designed for machine applique are usually reversed. To convert them to hand applique, lay the pattern pieces on a flat surface and trace them to the dull side of freezer paper that has been laid over them. Cut apart and iron them onto the wrong side of the applique fabric. Cut them out adding a 3/16" seam allowance to each piece.