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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hand Applique by Machine ~ Lesson Three

Sewing the Applique by Machine

Now that your applique is all prepared, we're ready to stitch it in place.  Remember, at this point, you can easily hand-stitch if you'd like to.  Here's how to stitch it using your sewing machine!

Begin by placing the applique exactly where you want it to be on your background fabric.  Holding it in place, lift half of the applique and dot with Roxanne's Glue Baste-It.  (By using Roxanne's, your applique will be tacked to the backgound fabric and you won't have to deal with any pins while sewing.  This is a water soluable product that is very safe for your fabrics.)  Gently press the applique in place.  Repeat for the other half of the applique.

You have some decisions to make regarding the thread you want to use. 

*You should choose a cotton thread, in a color that will match the background fabric, for the bobbin.

*You can choose a cotton thread, in a color that will match your applique, for the top.  Choose a color that closely matches the applique so that it will disappear.  This often means that you will need to change thread colors from piece to piece. 

*Another alternative for the top thread is to use a good quality mono-filament thread.  That way, you don't have to change colors from piece to piece.  Mono-filaments come in two colors: clear and smoke.  Use the clear for light color fabrics and the smoke for medium & dark color fabrics.  The reason for the two colors is to better hide the reflection of the thread against the fabrics.  The reflection of the clear thread will show up more on dark fabrics.  I never ever recommend using a mono-filament in the bobbin.  That's just me!

*It is very, very helpful to use an open-toe foot for this technique.  It allows you to see more of what you're doing!

Once the applique is glued into place, stitch it using the Blind Hem stitch shown above.  You should play with the settings of the length and width. 

The length should be shorter, or closer together, for smaller appliques, and can be longer, or farther apart for larger appliques. 

The width of the tacking stitch should cross over the fabric just enough to jump the fold.  If it is more than that, it will be more noticeable. 

Use your needle-down option and pivot often.

The stitch is ideal when the needle is landing exactly at the right of the fold, and the tack stitch is small enough to catch the fabric, but not so large as to be seen.  Back-tack your stitches when you come to the end.

Sorry this isn't a better photo, but I wanted to show you how the stitching looks from the back. 

Those are the basics of the technique.  I hope this tutorial will help you in some way.  This method has really worked for me and enabled me to make the applique quilts I wanted to make.

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S.  Sorry for the poor quality photos.  I'm working on taking better ones!  Please bear with me.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial, pictures and all. It's great. It really helped! I was spraying starch and getting everything wet! And I couldn't figure out the machine applique. Now I will try it!

  2. Hi Pam, Thank for your tutorial...
    I wait that your visit my blog, see you...
    bye-bye to España!!!

  3. Hi Pam,

    Thanks so much for such a wonderful tutorial! I'm looking forward to trying this out soon. Maybe I can do applique after all! Sure appreciate all you do for us!! :)

    Hugs, Karla

  4. Once again Pam, your the best. Will this method work for vines? Diane

  5. Yes, this will work for vines and every shape you can imagine. For the vines, if they're short or small, you can trace the freezer paper and continue with the technique. However, if you have longer vines, or vines that curve, I recommend making them from a Clover bias maker. It's very easy and fun. From there...you can glue then stitch in the same manner. Hope this answers your quesion!

  6. Now I have a whole bunch more great tools to put on my Christmas list!

    Thanks Pam!