Adhesives: Tips for Machine Embroidery

Adhesive Tips for Machine Embroidery with

Fun Time Veggies

Adhesives can be quite useful in machine embroidery. These tips will help you make them stick where you want!

Sometimes, with machine embroidery, especially applique and in-the-hoop (ITH) projects, we wish we had an extra hand to help keep things in place. That is where adhesives come in handy.


Most of us use some kind of temporary spray adhesive like Sulky KK1000 and Odif 505, when we embroider. They’re great to hold layers in place for ITH quilting and for holding applique pieces in place before they get tacked down.

  • Avoid spraying in the hoop unless you can’t avoid it. I typically spray the back of the batting or fabric before finger-pressing it in place.
  • If you do spray in the hoop, consider shielding your hoop with an ingenious spray guard, a cutout cardboard template, or plastic cling wrap.
  • Even if you don’t spray directly in the hoop, spray and tape residue can build up on you hoop over time. Find out how to clean sticky hoops here.


Tape is a useful tool to help hold layers in place, particularly with ITH projects.

  • I originally used a lot of painter’s tape but found that the 3M Transpore surgical tape works even better. It is perforated, easy to tear, comes in a variety of widths, holds well, and can be reused. If you stitch through it, it easily tears away, doesn’t leave residue, and won’t gum up the needle.
  • Tape is especially useful to hold layers of fabric and batting in the hoop.
  • If you’re adding fabric on the back of the hoop, tape helps to keep edges from turning over and becoming stitched where you don’t want it.
  • Tape can also be used to cover hoop edges to prevent temporary adhesive buildup.


Glue sticks are another way to hold applique pieces in place, just draw inside the placement lines.

  • Fabric sticks from Fineline and Fons & Porter have a smaller tip for getting into small places.
  • You can even use school glue as long as it is the washable kind.


In traditional applique, fusible web, like Appli-kay Wonder and Exquisite FuseMe, make your applique fabrics lay perfectly flat. A professional finish means no wrinkles and a great base for decorative embroidery. You can find a discussion on other fusibles here.

  • Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions, as some fusibles require high heat and others do not.
  • Cut your applique fabric slightly larger than what you need and Iron one side of a fusible onto the back. After tack-down stitches, trim and fuse to the base fabric before continuing embroidery.
  • Using an applique pressing sheet will save your ironing surface and iron face. If you don’t have an applique pressing sheet, use parchment paper.

What tips do you have for machine embroidery adhesives?

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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