Appliqueing is the process of creating designs by adding patches of fabric onto a fabric. This process originated as a repair option where people used to cover their torn clothes with patches of clothes. Soon it became a fashion trend and today, it is used to create stylish pieces of clothing and is also a method of decorating quilts, designing bed sheets, creating show pieces, etc.
How to Machine Applique with Fusible Web
Fusible web is a popular method of appliqueing. It uses a manmade fiber that melts when exposed to heat. This web can fuse two fabrics together with its melting action. It is used in the process of appliqueing to stick the applique on the base material before it is stitched. It holds the applique in place and gives you a guideline of where you need to stitch to permanently fix the applique. Let’s checkout how to machine applique method with a fusible web and learn more about the process.
Machine Applique with Fusible Web – Step By Step
- Tracing the Design
Every applique project starts with creating an applique design. In this case, you have to trace the design you want on the paper side of the fusible web.
- Fuse the web on the applique fabric
Now place the melting side of the fusible web on the wrong side/bottom side of the applique fabric. Make sure to cut the applique fabric bigger than the design so that you have edges that can be sewn and tucked in later. Place a parchment paper on the fusible paper and iron the surface. This way you will heat the fusible web to melt but the fusing web won’t stick to your iron.
- Cut the Design
Once the fusible web and the fabric have attached, it’s time to trim the design. Do not peel the paper off the fusible web until you are ready to stick it on the background fabric.
- Stick to the Base Fabric
Remove the paper from the fusible web and place the design on the fabric. Now press the design in place. Turn the fabric and press the spot to prevent any kind of heat damage.
- Finish with your Favorite Stitch
Use a sewing machine to place a beautiful stitch on the edges to make them look neat. You can use a simple satin stitch or any other fancy stitch to enclose the edges and also to add drawing details (if you have any). Change the settings of your machine to adjust the stitch pattern, width, etc. This is the only step where you will need to use a machine in this process. And, you are done.
You just created an applique design using fusible web and a sewing machine. This is a simple process as compared to appliqueing by hand or appliqueing by machine. Of course it needs some expertise with sewing machines but it is not a complicated process and you can learn quickly with some practice.
What Type of Thread Should be Used for Fusible Applique?
Cotton is the most commonly used thread for fusible applique. It is popular because it has the lowest luster and blends well with the applique fabric. Polyester thread can also be used for fusible applique. The 100 wt. polyester from some brands acts like cotton and has the strength of polyester.
Shiny threads made of silk and rayon are ideal for hand applique but if you are looking to add a shiny finish to your fusible applique, you can consider them.
What are the Tools You Need for Appliqueing?
Appliqueing is an intricate process that needs a number of tools. Here is a list of some basic tools. Without these, it is almost impossible to applique conveniently.
- Sewing machine
- Applique scissors
- Seam ripper
- Tracing paper and carbon sheets
- Press cloth or applique pressing sheet
What are the stitches used for Applique?
Appliqueing is done with different types of stitches. If you are using a knit fabric for your applique, you can go for straight stitches. This fabric does not fray so straight stitch works. For other fabrics, you can try zig zag stitches that tightly stitch the applique on the background fabric.
For hand appliqueing, buttonhole stitches or satin stitches are considered ideal. If you are quilting, you should think about using the famous blanket stitches because they are good at finishing the edges and effectively stop the fabric from fraying. Blanket stitch options are available on sewing machines.
What are the Tips for Machine Appliqueing?
Following are some tips that you need to keep in mind while using a modern embroidery machine. Some of the tips mentioned below may not be applicable on your machine because every brand has some different features. But you will find most of the points mentioned below useful.
- Start Stitching on the Outside Edge of Applique Shape
Position your needle on the outside edge of the stitch so that your stitches go ‘out to in’ and so on. When you lock the needle foot in position check the needle according to the mark on the foot. If it is in the center, you will have to remove the fabric and tap the foot pedal to advance the machine. This way your needle will change the position to the outer edge.
- Go for an Open Toe Applique Foot
An open toe applique foot helps when you need to see where your needle is going. It also helps to accommodate the raised stitches created by the satin stitch. Your machine did not come with an open toe foot? You should be able to buy as an extra. Think about it, it’s worth its price.
- Stitch in Correct Sequence
If you are stitching a layered applique, it is crucial that you stitch in the right sequence. The applique piece that has to go to the bottom has to be stitched first and the top most layer will go last. Do not place everything on top of one another and start stitching from the top most layer because then you won’t be able to set the other pieces that may have gone wonky in the process.
- Note your Settings
Keep a notebook to note down the details of every project. Note down the fabric types, the thread types, the minute details like stitch width, stitch type, etc. This notebook will come in handy when you need to do a new project similar to a project that you have done in the past. You will be able to quickly retrieve the details and start your new project without having to experiment. Noting the details will also help if you put your project on hold for some time and would like to resume it.
- Use the Needle Stop Up/Down Feature
Needle stop up/down function is for the times when you want to pause your stitching for a moment. This feature keeps the needle exactly where you stop and lets you restart without creating a huge gap in your stitches. It keeps you in the flow and your design doesn’t show any signs of a pause.
- Cover the Edges
Your applique stitch should completely cover the edges of your applique shape. The needle should just swing in the background fabric but the bulk of the stitches should be on the applique shape to cover the ridges. Ofcourse, there can be an exception to this rule based on the style of stitch you are using. You can also change this rule based on the applique material.
- Focus on the Corners
Corners are tricky to manage with machine applique. In order to make them look neat, you will have to pivot at the corner. While doing so, you also have to ensure the position of the needle. A 45-degree pivot usually prevents stray stitches at the corner. This step will need practice and you will get better only with time and a few projects under your belt.
Machine applique with fusible web is one of the easiest methods of appliqueing. It is ok if you manage to ruin the first few projects using this method. Just keep going, keep practicing, eventually, you will become so good at this method that you will be able to applique in your sleep.