How to Applique
There are several methods of doing appliques. I will show you my favorite way of doing them, but please explore other options & choose what works best for you.
It takes three separate rounds of stitching for one applique piece. You will hoop your garment & keep it hooped at all times. You will remove the hoop from the machine, not the garment from the hoop. Once the design is completely finished, then you can remove your garment from the hoop.
#1- there will be a straight stitch out, marking the spot where the applique piece is to go. Once this step is finished, remove the hoop from the machine & lay it on a table. Place the fabric block over the placement shape, taping it in place at the corners. Make sure your block of fabric extends past the shape.
#2- put hoop back on machine for the tack down step. Once this is finished, place hoop on table & carefully trim out the shape. You want to cut close to this line. The tack down that I use makes it easy to cut the shape out without cutting into the applique. Take your time in cutting so you achieve a beautiful finished applique.
#3- put hoop back on machine & it will finish the satin zigzag stitches.
Please note that each of these 3 steps will show a different thread color on your sewing machine. This is necessary so your machine will stop sewing between each step. You will however, be using the same color of thread at the machine. Example: you’re going to sew a blue ball. Step one, the outline, will show up as red; the tack down step will show up as green; then the 3rd step, the final zigzag will show up as blue. This is so the machine will stop between each step for you to do the necessary steps per applique piece
Follow each step carefully for the correct sewing & do not try to jump ahead & do matching colors at the same time. Some designs may have pieces under/over other pieces, so you must follow the color changes for a correct sew out. Each design that I do will have a direction color change sheet, so you can tell exactly what each step will be. I recommend you printing the directions out so you can follow along at the machine.
- It is very helpful to use small embroidery scissor for trimming out the applique. The small blades make it easy to get in the hoop & up close to the stitches. You will find the stitch that I put for the tack down step to be much easier & safer for cutting out than just a straight stitch.
- I use a product called “heatn’bond” lite. This is a permanent iron on adhesive for the applique pieces. Follow the directions on the package. Apply this product to all to your applique fabrics before you begin the design. This is readily available at fabric/craft stores. Be sure to use the Lite one & not the heavy one.
- When you remove your hoop from the machine to trim out the pieces, place the hoop on a table. This way the hoop stays flat & makes it easier for not putting pressure on your hooped item & getting it pulled out of place.
- I use a small travel iron to adhere the heatn’bond to the garment/fabric after the tack down & trimming step. Do NOT press until the applique has been trimmed out. Do NOT “iron” by pushing the iron around while in the hoop – just use a light hand, setting the iron down & lifting it up until you have covered the applique.
- Natural fiber fabrics work best. I recommend pre-washing all of the fabrics; as fabrics shrink in varying degrees.
- Do not skimp on your fabric blocks for the applique pieces. Cut them a bit larger than the actual shape. When placing the block over the outline shape, be sure you are over lapping the design past the outline shape
- You scotch tape at the corners of your fabric block to keep it in place for the tack down step
Note on thread colors:
The colors that are listed in a design may not "read” as the same color on YOUR machine due to the fact that different brands of machines & thread companies use different names. Example: my machine may read as – Persian blue – but as midnight blue on your machine. My thread colors on the design is only a representation, you will actually be choosing your thread colors according to the fabric that you are using.
Hooping is a very important part of the embroidery process. In fact, if you do not hoop correctly, it will end up as a poor design. You do not want your fabric shifting around while hooped, this will cause the pieces to not line up.Some people hoop using both parts of the hoop, some use sticky paper instead of the top hoop piece. There are many hoops on the market, besides what comes with your machine. Be sure that you hoop properly.
Stabilizer is extremely important. Do not skip using this product. I can assure you that if you do not stabilize you will not get a good finished design! This is one product that I do buy the best I can. I can do the same design, using 2 different stabilizers, same fabrics & threads, & have different results. I will not get into stabilizers, as this varies from fabric to fabric, design to design. There are books & information on line concerning stabilizers. Spend a little time to read up on these.