Want to try machine appliqué? Have no fear! I’m going to show you just how awesome machine applique can be. For those of you that have been doing it for a while, I hope to share a couple of tips for you to make it even more enjoyable.
Hoop Your Base Fabric
Great applique starts with a good base. Hoop your base fabric with an appropriate stabilizer and tap it to make sure that it is nice and taut in the hoop. My friend, Allene, shared another tip. Run your fingernail across the fabric and, if you see the fabric moving like snow in front of a snowplow, you know it's not tight enough.
If that is the case, take your fabric out of the hoop and hoop it again. I've also applied that same test with my appliques, including GlitterFlex (after fusing to make sure it was fused nice and flat). Make sure you do not pull and tug on the fabric in the hoop because it will stretch and may pucker when taken out of the hoop.
The Applique Procedure
With machine appliqué, the first step is going to be the appliqué positioning stitches and it will look like this. I just digitized a quick, easy circle. The first stitch sequence shows you where you will put the applique material. Because of how applique designs are digitized, your machine will stop so that you can position the applique fabric.
Note: If you are fortunate enough to have a multi-needle machine, you'll want to code the first two colors as reserve stops. That way, the machine knows to stop so you can position and trim your machine appliqué. It might be called something different on various multi-needle machines, but it's called a reserve stop for the Brother and Baby Lock machines.
Add Fusible Backing to the Applique Fabric
Add a fusible backing to your cotton applique fabric, something like Heat’n Bond Lite (HnB Lite). HnB Lite is specifically for sewing (don’t use ultra), won’t gum up the needle, and doesn’t add bulk to your project. One side is fusible and the other side is a bit tacky so, after fusing it to the appliqué fabric, it will stay where you put it when you position it in the hoop.
Another similar product is OESD Applique Fuse and Fix.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your fusible of choice.
Once the applique positioning stitches are in place, position your applique fabric over the stitches and run the tack-down stitch to secure the applique to the base fabric.
Make the most of your applique fabric by positioning the edge close to placement stitches. Here, the applique tack-down line stitched right against the edge.
You'll notice that this fused fabric kind of looks like a little flower. This came from inside the applique frames that I created for my Eggsquisite Jewels collection.
Fusing the Applique Fabric
After trimming close to the tack-down stitches, you can do one of two things. You can wait until all embroidery is completed and fuse the applique pieces in place or fuse them right after the tack-down stitch. (I prefer to fuse as I go.)
Use a small iron and fuse appliques in the hoop at a heat that's recommended by your fusible product. You can see the iron I use here.
Test the fabric adhesion with your finger nail to make sure that it's nice and tight against your fabric. As with hooping fabric, you don’t want any snow plow issues. Continue as you normally would do with your standard embroidery.
May your day be blessed with perfect stitches and GlitterFlex!!