Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Intro to Machine Applique

In July, 2007 the Beginner Block Lotto choice was this Posy block--it's a great one to try or practice turned-under machine applique.

Posy Posy Posy

I made five blocks using three different techniques (with one variation) and three different stitches on the machine and took photos along the way. You can view my step-by-step photos with commentary on Flickr in my set Notes for Machine Appliqué Posies. I'll also go through them here--to make it easier to print them off for reference. As always, all the images are clickable for a larger image.


Using these techniques, there will be nice, turned under edges on the appliqué. You want the nice edge to be the feature, not the thread. Use a clear (or smoke) mono-filament or mono-poly or thread in a matching color.

Three kinds of machine stitches work well with these techniques.
  1. Blind Hem Stitch - when using this stitch, the straight stitches go into the background at the applique edge, then the zig stitch comes into the appliqué.

  2. Zig-Zag Stitch - this is an open zig zag, not a heavy satin stitch. Use this stitch On the applique, at the edge.

  3. Straight Stitch - even IF your machine only sews a straight stitch, you can still do machine appliqué. In fact, Jane Sassaman recommends using a straight stitch to highlight the nice turned under edge.

First, two things about backgrounds.
  1. For all three of the methods I will describe, take a minute and starch the background squares. I usually spray the fabric pretty heavily, wait for it to soak in a bit, then press and repeat.

  2. Applique sometimes pulls the background in a bit, so start with a background square a little larger then you need and square up after the block is complete. For Posy blocks for the lotto, I started with 9-inch squares and squared them up to 8.5 inches for a block that will finish at 8 inches.

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