Five Applique Tips for Professional Results


This is a picture of a parachute machine applique alphabet design.

 Chutes & Ladders Alphabet

Why does some applique look so much better than others? These tips make a difference!

Sometimes the smallest effort pays big in your final project. Here are five tips for stitching top-notch applique.

1. Fuse Your Appliques

Fusible adhesives give fabric a little bit more body and no puckers when it is fused flat against your base fabric. Also, the applique fabric’s edges will not fray or pull away from edge stitching, preserving the life of the applique. Note: Fusibles are not needed for GlitterFlex but are great for traditional applique fabrics.

This is an image of Heat 'n Bond Lite used for machine applique designs.

I prefer to use HeatnBond Lite on the back of my applique fabric. It fuses nicely and does not gum up your needle. Another option is Applique Fuse & Fix by OESD. A Teflon pressing sheet protects on your ironing surface and, ultimately, your project. Fusibles peel right off of the Teflon sheet for easy cleanup.

2. Fuse Big

To me, as I am sure it is for many of you, time is one of my most valuable assets. Rather than add fusible to a piece of applique fabric slightly larger than the shape I need, I like to cut fabric about 10 or 12 inches square and fuse the entire piece. Save leftovers for a future project.

If you don’t have enough fusible for the entire piece of fabric, butt two pieces of HeatnBond Lite next to each other. That works just fine.

3. Trim Close

The idea is to trim as close as possible to the tack-down stitches. You want to cut enough fabric away so that the satin stitches completely cover the edge of the fabric but not so close that you clip the tack-down threads holding the applique. The right scissors make a big difference.

4. Use the Right Scissors

This is a pictures of curved scissors for machine applique designs.

This pair from Gingher is one of my favorites. They are small and strong with a slight curve and bigger finger openings.


Applique scissors are a wonderful tool. Also known as duck-billed scissors, one side is fat and the other side is straight. Trim on a flat surface with the bill portion of the duck-billed scissors over the applique portion of the fabric. The scissors should glide flush to the fabric when cutting. I have heard that these are available for those who are left-handed, too.

5. The Finishing Touch

When machine embroidery is done, be sure to press your design from the back. If the applique is on a garment, adding a layer of Fuse So Soft ­­­­over the back of the embroidery area cuts down immensely on skin irritation.­­ I always back items for babies in this manner to protect their sensitive skin.

Get the Chutesa nd Letters design here. See the full video here.

Have a day blessed with perfect stitches and GlitterFlex!!


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  • Bonnie Welsh - October 06, 2020

    Hi Fran—You can get Heat ’n Bond at most quilting stores, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby, etc. =)

  • Fran Massengill - October 05, 2020

    Where do I get heat n bond

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