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How To Machine Applique Star Points

Appliqueing is a fun and satisfying art form. But it is by no means easy. If you pick up the nuances of using a sewing machine and an understanding of fabrics, threads and designs, appliqueing can become simple for you with time. It takes years to master the process and understand how to turn your fabric to get the right stitch. With practice, you will be able to create beautiful applique designs on clothes, quilts, pillow covers, show pieces, etc. 

How To Machine Applique Star Points

Appliqueing has its own set of complicated aspects, that can make even the best of appliquers pull off their hairs. One such aspect is appliqueing star points. A star has edgy points which are very difficult to navigate using an embroidery machine. But again, this is not an impossible task. You just have to get smart and know your way around your stitches. In this article, let’s discuss how to applique/sew a star point without losing any hair and maintaining the beauty of your project.  

Steps to Machine Applique Star Points

Machine appliqueing star points consists of the same steps as any other applique design. Let’s learn how to applique the star with a machine and finish the project.

Create a Template

The first step of any appliqueing project is to create a design. In this case, we have a design, which is a star, so we can head straight to creating a template using a freezer paper. Trace your design on the paper side of the freezer paper and cut it. This is your template. If you want multiple templates keep your star on folded freezer paper and trace it. Cut through layers to get multiple templates, multiple stars. 

Cut the Applique Fabric

Place your star on the applique fabric, shiny side down and press it using a heated iron. The poly-coating on the shiny side will melt and adhere to the fabric. Now cut the applique fabric in the star shape leaving atleast ½ cm for seams. Seams provide for the extra fabric that you can tuck in while sewing your applique. This extra fabric can also be used to fix errors (if you have made any), in the applique shape. You can peel off the freezer paper once you have cut the applique star.

Mark the Base Fabric

Mark the spots on your base fabric where you will like to applique a star. One efficient method of marking is to place the templates on the fabric and marking the outlines with chalk or a washable pencil. This way, you will have a clear picture of your design and you will also be confident in the position of the star while you stitch it in place. 

Sew the Applique using an Embroidery Machine

Set your machine to a zig zag stitch setting. Start sewing from the outer side of the star. As you approach the point, stop and choose a narrower size of the stitch while you are atleast 1 cm away. Now, proceed slowly till the end, and when you are at the point stop sewing.

At this point, pick the sewing foot and without moving the needle, rotate the base cloth by 180 degrees so that your stitches now fall on the other side of the star point. Make sure that your needle is in the fabric when you pivot. Stop opposite the point where you had changed the stitch size on the other hand, again reset back to wide stitches. Repeat the same process at pointy corners to get a non-stop beautiful stitch that doesn’t get messed up at the corners. 

Which Stitch is Best for Appliqueing Points?

A zig zag stitch is the best stitch to use for appliqueing and it works equally well for appliqueing edges like star points and leaves. A buttonhole stitch also works well because it is a wide stitch and easy to manage on the edges. While you can use any designer stitch to decorate your applique, go for these two in the initial (learning) days. 

Which Thread is Ideal for Appliqueing Star Points?

The thread you choose for appliqueing star points depends on your fabric and the size of the applique. If you have a smaller star, it will be best to use a fine thread as that will help you navigate with ease and neatly sew the points. You can consider thicker threads if your stars are bigger in size and your applique fabric is thick or textured like wool.

Can You Use a Sewing Machine to Applique?

Yes, you can use a sewing machine to applique. It can do the basic job of sewing your design in place. One drawback with using a sewing machine to applique is that you will be able to work only with thin fabrics. A sewing machine is not designed to handle a quilt or a bedsheet for that matter. An embroidery machine, on the other hand, can work with different types of fabrics. Moreover, a sewing machine can give you only a simple sewing pattern. If you are looking for designer patterns and that too in bold, you can achieve that only with an embroidery machine. 

Is Machine Applique Sturdier than Hand Applique?

A machine stitch is always stronger than a hand stitch be it on a sewing machine or an embroidery machine. But this does not mean hand applique stitches are weak and your project will be ruined soon. Hand appliqueing also lasts a long time if you know the right way of doing it. You can also make your applique projects last longer by paying attention to nuances like applique material, the type of base fabric and the type of thread you are using to stitch. 

Your pattern of stitching also decides how sturdy your handiwork will be. One more aspect that contributes to the success of your applique work is how you manage fraying of the applique fabric. Follow the expert advice and ensure that there’s minimum fraying. When you will do it right, your hand applique will last as long as machine applique.

Tips for Machine Applique

  1. Check your needle for sharpness. It has to be very sharp and ready to pierce multiple layers of clothing without a peep. Remember that a blunt needle can punch bigger holes and may also tear your fabric.
  2. Use a medium weight background fabric so that it doesn’t pucker. If you are working on a lighter fabric, consider using a hoop to hold the fabric tightly while you sew or your fabric will surely pucker and your project will be doomed.
  3. Reduce the tension in your thread. This will also help you avoid puckering of your fabric. You will have to find a fine balance because too tight, your fabric will pucker and too loose, your thread will pool on your fabric. 
  4. It is always better to use a darker shade of thread in the needle and a lighter/paler shade in the bobbin. Doing this will ensure that you have a less solid, stitched line. 
  5. Always drop your presser foot before you start stitching. This foot results in the right amount of needle tension. Most modern machines will give you a notification if you forget to put down your presser foot. Don’t wait for it though. 
  6. If you are appliqueing layers, start with the bottom most layer. If you sew the top first, you will not be able to reposition or correct the placement of the upper layers
  7. Use good quality fabrics both for applique fabric and base fabric. You don’t want any of your fabrics to shrink or bleed after you have finished your project. The same goes for your thread. 

If you master the art of appliqueing points and edges without creating a goopy mess of thread, you automatically add up to the number of designs you can create. Follow the simple trick mentioned above and watch your designs come to life.

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