GlitterFlex 101: Applique

Curious about GlitterFlex and how it might be used? Here's a quick and easy step-by-step tutorial to get you started. 

GlitterFlex can be used for applique just like any other cotton quilting fabric. It's very, very thin so it's perfect for garments or quilts, anywhere that you want high impact without a lot of bulk. 

It is a super sparkly material that comes with a clear protective cover that is removed prior to embroidery. We sell more than 55 various colors of GlitterFlex at Color types are Ultra, Hologram, Neon Opaque, and Rainbow. All the various colors are applied in the same exact fashion; the only difference between them is the mixture of glitter and their sparkle affect.

Once the clear protective carrier is removed, the sparkle is very intense. Something that I do a little differently with GlitterFlex than I do with ordinary applique is to use a high-contrast thread for my placement stitch and my appliqué tack-down stitch. Otherwise, the thread tends to get lost in all of the sparkle and my mature eyes can't see where those tack-down stitches are.  Having a bigger contrast between the thread and GlitterFlex makes life so much easier!   

With standard cotton applique, you don't have that issue and it's really easy to see where to trim along your tack-down stitching. However, with GlitterFlex, I like to use a thread color that is either a lot lighter or a lot darker so that I can easily see my stitch lines when trimming the applique.  

The first step is to hoop your background fabric and load a Merry Mermaid design onto the embroidery machine. Just like any other applique design, you're going to start out with your placement stitch. In this example, I have two applique areas that will hold the same GlitterFlex color. 

Lay the GlitterFlex on top of the placement stitches to determine the size needed and cut a square accordingly. Once cut to size, remove the clear carrier 

Add a little bit of school glue stick inside the placement stitches and position the GlitterFlex in place. (My dealer told me about school glue years ago.  It is quite reasonable in cost and very safe for your machine.) 

 Stitch out your tack down stitch 

Because GlitterFlex is a tearaway, you can tear around the applique stitching instead of cutting it away. Remove the hoop from the machine and place it on a flat surface. Press inside the applique shape with one hand while tearing the excess GlitterFlex away, close to the stitch lines, with the other. (Be sure to save your scraps because you can use those in future projects!) 

If you see any areas that need a little touch-up, trim them with scissors. After all of the GlitterFlex is trimmed, I like to fuse it down, or pre-fuse it, while it's still in the hoop.  

Move the hoop over to an ironing surface and use a Teflon pressing sheet or the clear carrier that you removed from your GlitterFlex 

Heat your dry iron to a cotton setting (350) (no steam). Place the pressing sheet, or clear carrier you peeled off earlier, right on top of the GlitterFlex and press each section for 15 to 20 seconds. It does take some time, but the results are well worth it!  

Let the GlitterFlex applique cool so that it is well fused to the background fabric before continuing to stitch the embroidery. (Note: While the picture below is of a different Merry Mermaid, the step is still the same and the thread contrast is a good example of what I mentioned earlier.) Your GlitterFlex should lay nice and flat. If you see a bubble, fuse that area again as you may have missed a spot.

Any time you have detail stitching on top of the GlitterFlex, I highly recommend that you use a higher contrast thread then you might ordinarily use with just standard fabric. The design will stand out more, otherwise the stitches get lost in all that wonderful sparkle. 

Continue embroidery as you normally would to completion. Aside from the final pressing, my design is finished! 

See the full video on this tutorial. 

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  • Bonnie Welsh - August 23, 2018

    Joyce, There’s only one color called “Dark Gold” in the GlitterFlex list of colors. You can find it under the Ultra singles here: I’ll also update the description to make sure the link to the color is available under the kitty design as well. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Joyce Koeppl - August 21, 2018

    Dark gold for kitty,, which one is this so I can add to my order?

  • Bonnie Welsh - May 27, 2018

    Dee, GlitterFlex is washable. Just wash in cool water and tumble dry (inside out if possible) according to manufacturer instructions. As I mentioned, when I did my testing, I didn’t have the option to turn a test sample inside out and it did fine, no problem. =)

  • Dee Landree - May 27, 2018

    I also would like to know about washing as I want to use it on a tee shirt. Can someone please let me know if this is a good idea? Thanks Dee

  • Bonnie Welsh - May 22, 2018

    When I tested my samples of GlitterFlex I just threw it in the washing machine (right side out) and then the dryer and it came out beautifully still after six test washes. Having said that, the manufacturer suggested to “Wash inside out, wash cool and tumble dry.” Easy-peasy! =)

  • Susan Barrett - May 14, 2018

    In all the tutorials about Glitter Flex, I don’t see anything about washing the project, regarding the glitter flex. I am eventually going to want to wash my project, either a shirt or a quilt, and I was wondering about special care instructions, especially if it is a gift.

  • Annette rady - May 08, 2018

    Love these mermaids – especially in glitter. Any chance of there being a mermaid book soon?

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