Have you ever seen those applique’d pieces done by an embroidery machine and thought, “I wish I could do that on my sewing machine.” Using some fabric, fusible web and these easy steps, now you can! Believe me, with a little practice, you’ll be whipping up stunning pieces of fabric art in no time!
What is Applique?
Simply put, Applique is the process of attaching (or layering) one piece of fabric on top of a larger piece of fabric. It’s one of my favorite quilting techniques because there are SO many different effects and designs you can achieve by using Machine Applique.
Further, applique breaks down to the Edge type, application process and stitching. To get the look of embroidery applique we’re going to cover my favorite: Raw Edge Applique.
In 2017 I found the PERFECT fabric for my sister. Being a huge mermaid fan, it had her name written all over it. The fabric insisted I turn it into a beautiful applique wall hanging. Do you talk to fabric too? Just me?
After a brief search online I found a gorgeous outline of a mermaid. All I had to do was make it quite a bit larger and I’d be set. My quilt idea was starting to take shape.
Using Raw Edge machine applique and a basic puzzle block design for the corners I was off and running. My sister’s birthday gift was a hit! She sent me a video of her opening the package so I could see her face. Alright, I told her to send it to me. Technology is definitely good for some things.
Raw Edge Applique
Raw edge applique is just that: the edges of your applique pieces are left raw. This can also be a great look if you want to add decorative stitching or leave a little of that frayed look on your final quilt.
- Foundation Fabric
- Applique Fabric
- Double sided fusible web (Wonder Under)
- Sharp scissors
- Marking pen
- Iron and Ironing board (or pressing mat)
Once you have your fabrics together, you’ll need a double sided fusible web. There are a few major brands on the market that you’ve probably seen around the craft store. I like to use good old Wonder Under.
If you feel the Wonder Under, one side will feel rough. That’s the glue side. The other will feel somewhat smooth. That’s the paper side. Using your marking pen, trace your design on the paper side of your interfacing. Then, cut around the edges. DO NOT cut on the line.
Place the glue side of your interfacing on the WRONG side of your fabric. Press with your iron.
SCut on the drawn edge of your design. Then, carefully peel off the paper backing.
Place your cut fabric design on to the Right side of your foundation fabric, glue side down. Press with your iron.
Stitching it all down
Even though I like to use a variety of fun stitches in my quilting, there are three main styles to stitch our applique in place: Straight Stitch, Zigzag or Satin Stitch and the Blanket Stitch.
The straight stitch is generally the most basic process for adhering applique. Your stitching is applied just inside the outer edge of your design. It is the easiest stitch to apply, however, depending on the quality of your interfacing and fabric, the edges will most likely fray.
Once your stitching is complete, use a hand stitching needle to push the thread ends to the back side. Tie and cut off the loose ends.
Zigzag / Satin Stitch
The zigzag stitch is my most used stitch for Raw Edge Applique. Personally, I really like the ‘outline’ look. The Satin stitch is simply a tighter version of the zig zag stitch. Some quilting machines may come with a pre-programmed satin stitch.
The Blanket stitch is a timeless way to apply Applique. It is used in both machine and hand applique techniques. However, at first it can prove to be a little tricky to keep the outside stitching aligned on the edge. But, don’t be intimidated. With a little practice and patience, you’ll be a pro!
The uses of applique in quilting are endless. You can achieve just about any design and look you want while using just your sewing machine.
Now that you’ve conquered Raw Edge applique, try your hand at at Turned Edge Applique!
If you tend to be like me, slightly paranoid, and worry about the edges of your design fraying, run a thin line of Fray Check along the edges. It dries clear and prevents fraying!
Be sure to share your progress in the comments below or in our Facebook group.
As always, Hoppy Quilting!
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