Machine Applique

Applique is the process of applying one piece of fabric on top of another for decorative or functional purposes.

There are several products available to help make the machine-Applique process easier and faster.

Fusible transfer web is a commercial product similar to iron-on interfacings except it has two sticky sides. It is used to adhere Applique shapes to the background with heat. Paper is adhered to one side of the web.

To use, dry-iron the sticky side of the fusible product onto the wrong side of the chosen fabric. Draw desired shapes onto the paper and cut them out. Peel off the paper and dry-iron the shapes in place on the background fabric. The shape will stay in place while you stitch around it. This process adds a little bulk or stiffness to the Appliqued shape and makes hand-quilting through the layers difficult.

For successful machine Applique, a tear-off stabilizer is recommended. This product is placed under the background fabric while machine-Applique is being done. It is torn away when the work is finished. This kind of stabilizer keeps the background fabric from pulling during the machine-Applique process.

During the actual machine-Applique process, you will be layering one shape on top of another. Where two fabrics overlap, the underneath piece does not have to be turned under or stitched down.

Thread the top of the machine with thread to match the fabric patches or with threads that coordinate or contrast with fabrics. Rayon thread is a good choice when a sheen is desired on the finished Applique stitches. Do not use rayon thread in the bobbin; use all-purpose thread.

Set your machine to make a zigzag stitch and practice on scraps of similar weight to check the tension. If you can see the bobbin thread on the top of the Applique, adjust your machine to make a balanced stitch. Different-width stitches are available; choose one that will not overpower the Applique shapes. In some cases these Applique stitches will be used as decorative stitches as well and you may want the thread to show.

If using a stabilizer, place this under the background fabric and pin or fuse in place. Place shapes as for hand-Applique and machine stitch all around shapes.

When all machine work is complete, remove stabilizer from the back referring to the manufacturer's instructions.

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