Applique the Fabric Way

Fabric Applique with

Can you use fabric with Bonnie’s machine embroidery applique designs? Yes, you can!

Bonnie’s applique designs are even more spectacular with GlitterFlex. The sparkly heat transfer vinyl is some of the best in the industry, tried and tested to hold up to wear and laundering. But what if you have a great fabric you would like to use? No problem!


Picture of Merry Mermaid machine applique in hoop


I had a cute fabric I thought I’d try with Bonnie’s Merry Mermaids. I chose Merry Mermaid 10. First, I washed and dried the cotton T-shirt and applique fabric to take care of any shrinkage.

Picture of iron on stabilizer to t-shirt for machine embroidery

I like to add a piece of fusible tear-away to the inside of the shirt front that I am embroidering. That helps keep the shirt from stretching while hooping (which can lead to puckering after embroidery) and tears away easily after you are done.

You still need a cut-away stabilizer to support the stitching, so I used a temporary spray adhesive on the cutaway to hold it to the tear-away making it easier to hoop.

Picture of hooped t-shirt ready for machine applique

Turn the shirt right side out and fold it in half, matching seams. Give it a light press. The crease will help with centering. Place the outer hoop inside the shirt. Line up the top hoop center marks with the crease and finesse the outer hoop in pace.

Applique with fabric is done the same as with GlitterFlex except fabric applique needs the addition of a fusible web to hold it nice and flat against the base fabric. Cut a piece of fusible web the size of your applique fabric and fuse it to the back side according to the manufacturer’s directions. 

Picture of machine applique outline for Merry Mermaids

When you start embroidery, the machine will stop after color stop one: Applique Position. Those stitches show you where to place your applique fabric. Use glue stick to hold it in place.

Picture of glue stick used to hold machine applique pieces in place in machine embroidery hoop

Color stop two: Applique Material, stitches down the applique fabric.

When it stops stitching, you can trim fabric to the stitch lines. Then fuse according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Picture of completed Merry Mermaid machine applique in t-shirt

Continue through your design. I changed the hair color to match my granddaughter and changed the pigtail stars to purple. Whether you decide to use fabric or GlitterFlex, you have an adorable applique for any project!

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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  • Debbie Henry - July 25, 2023

    Thanks for reading, Christine!

  • Christine Tyler - July 25, 2023

    Great tip and wonderful instructions
    Thank you 😊

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