How To Applique A Shirt With Embroidery Machine

There are different things we can do with an embroidery machine. Applique is one of the common embroidery techniques that can be carried out with an embroidery machine at home.

Applique is a sewing technique where a piece of fabric can be sewn onto another fabric. Embroidery machines are commonly used to provide a fine satin stitch finish on applique designs. This provides an elegant and appealing look on your garment and applique design.

How To Applique A Shirt With Embroidery Machine?

First, you need to prepare and load your applique design onto the embroidery machine. Then hoop the garment you want appliqued and bring it to the embroidery machine for sewing. Ensure that your embroidery machine is properly set. Push the start button and let the design transfer to your hooped shirt.

Now, place your applique fabric onto the applique design then press start again on your embroidery machine. It will tack your applique onto the fabric. Bring the hoop and everything on it from the embroidery machine.

Unhoop the design and cut around the edges of your design and any of the excess applique fabric. This leaves you with the applique applied to your shirt.

Step 1. Prepare your fabric.

The most important step in fabric preparation is washing, drying, and ironing the fabric. You will have to wash, dry, and iron the shirt that you want to applique. You will also wash, dry, and iron the fabric that you want to use for the applique on your shirt.

You may be applying a new applique fabric onto an old shirt, when you wash the shirt after applying the applique, the applique fabric may shrink if it wasn’t washed first.

Hence why it is important to prepare all the fabric you will need before you start your embroidery process.

Step 2. After washing, you need to get the applique fabric to the right size. This means that you will have to measure the length and height of the shirt to be appliqued to determine the size of the applique design. This will determine the size of the applique fabric.

To get it into the right size, you will have to cut it down to the size of the hoop that you will use, or slightly larger than the applique design size. Or, you can opt to use it as it is, then cut it off once you have finished stitching the applique.

Step 3. Set up the shirt to applique. You can do this with a pencil or water-soluble markers whose marks will fade once the shirt is washed. Hoop the stabilizer and shirt ready to load to the embroidery machine.

Use the appropriate stabilizer for the fabric and quality of your shirt.

Sometimes, you may require to use an adhesive on your stabilizer to make sure that it is properly placed on the shirt fabric.

If your shirt doesn’t hoop, you can float it over the hooped stabilizer. It will still help the embroidery stitches get a firm hold on the shirt fabric.

Step 4. Load your applique design onto your embroidery machine. At this stage, your fabric is ready to begin embroidery. But first, you need to prepare the embroidery machine for the process.

Convert your sewing machine into an embroidery machine if you are using a machine with these capabilities. Connect the embroidery carriage and replace the sewing presser foot with the embroidery foot. Set up the right needle and thread for your applique design stitching.

When the embroidery machine is ready, load your applique design. You can either buy or make your design. Then load the design on the machine as per the user manual.

Step 5. Bring the hoop and all its contents to the embroidery machine. Make sure the hoop is tightly sealed and the fabric and stabilizer are held taut. Align your hoop underneath the needle on the embroidery machine, on the applique spot that you marked.

Press start on your embroidery machine and let it start stitching the applique design outline onto your shirt. You can use any thread color that you want for this stage.

Step 6. Cut out a piece of your applique fabric that is larger than the applique design. Place this applique fabric over the already stitched applique outline.

Make sure that your applique fabric is firmly in place so that it doesn’t move when you start stitching. You can use an adhesive to keep it in place. Although you will still have to hold onto it so that it doesn’t move while stitching.

Step 7. Align the hoop accordingly on your embroidery machine and set it to run the tack stitch and press start. The machine will stitch the applique design on the applique fabric. The embroidery machine will use a tack stitch that holds your applique fabric in place while stitching the design on the fabric.

Step 8. Remove the hoop from the machine. Do this carefully by first raising the embroidery then gently pulling out the hoop from the embroidery machine. If present, any excess threads would prevent smooth movement from the machine. Therefore, cut them off with care. Ensure that the stitches made on the design don’t get cut off or loosened.

Step 9. While still on the hoop, use sharp scissors to cut out the excess applique fabric. Cut as close as possible to the tacking stitch without touching the stitches. Cut around the edges of the applique design to ensure that only the design part of the applique fabric is left on the hoop. Also, ensure that neither of the fabrics on the hoop moves from their current position. This helps to maintain the integrity of your applique design as you finish it off.

Step 10. Bring back your hoop to the embroidery machine in preparation for the final stitches. Since these stitches will be visible, make sure to use threads that match or contrast your shirt. Use a thread color of your choice that will be a complement to your embroidery.

Step 11. Once you have properly threaded the embroidery machine with the right thread, confirm that your hoop and its contents are still properly aligned on the machine. Press the start button and make the final tacking stitch.

Step 12. Now embroider a satin stitch over the base tacking stitch that you just completed. A satin stitch is a proper embroidery finish. It will make your applique design more attractive. The machine applies the satin stitch in segment around your applique design as it finishes embroidering your design.

Step 13. Remove the hoop carefully from the embroidery machine. Cut off any excess threads and remove any lint with a lint roller.

Step 14. Open the hoop and release its contents. Clean up traces of stabilizer around the applique design on the shirt. Cut off any threads that may be hanging on the shirt. Iron off any wrinkles that may have formed as you embroidered your applique.

Step 15. You have successfully appliqued a shirt with an embroidery machine. You can now wear your shirt if you like. Press your applique from both the outside and the inside side of your shirt. Your shirt is now ready to be worn with a beautiful appliqued design.

How To Properly Embroider Applique To A Shirt?

First, determine the part of the shirt that you want to embroider. This will help you to know where to place the hoop. When you hoop, make sure you hoop only the pat of the shirt you need. Do not hoop both the front and the back, lest the two are sewn or appliqued together.

Choose a shirt with an easy-to-work-on fabric if you have never done applique before. This makes the applique process easier for you. Cut off any threads as close as possible to the fabric of the shirt to ensure a neat finish on your applique design.

Is Applique The Same As Embroidery?

Embroidery and applique are two different sewing techniques. Embroidery is the art of creating patterns on clothes using threads of different colors. Applique refers to a sewing patchwork that can be sewn onto other fabrics.

You can use applique to embellish or to hide holes in your garments. While embroidery is possible on all types of fabrics, only specific fabrics can be appliqued without a problem. It is difficult to applique on light fabrics as you will tear them rather than embellish them.

Often, applique designs are bigger and thicker, requiring a large area of your garment than in embroidery designs. You will also need to iron applique after washing as it often gets wrinkles or shrinks depending on your fabric.

On the other hand, embroidery is more elegant and attractive compared to applique. Enabling embroidered garments to stand out uniquely.

Further, embroidery rarely wrinkles or puckers due to washing. You are never concerned with the state of embroidery on a garment as it is part of it.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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