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Thread: How do you stabilize applique?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Cindy2sew's Avatar
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    How do you stabilize applique?

    I have just learned to applique and I am hooked!! I am having a problem though. I am machine stitching the raw edges with a satin stitch and noted some pulling of the background fabric. How do I stabilize the block that I am working on? What type of stabilizer do you use? Tear away? Cut away? How do you attach it to the block? Fusible? Just pin it in place?
    I need help please.......


    Thank so much

    Cindy in TN

  2. #2
    Member Yvie's Avatar
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    Hi Cindy,

    Now I wouldn't call myself anykind of expert when it come to applique but I do love it and I don't think I have had the same problem with the backing fabric, so this might me helpful. - I usually use a bondaweb (or some other lightweight fusible fabric) I like it because I can draw on the paperside, cut it out easily, remove the paper and attach it to my backing firmly once ironed (also this means I can work without any, or just a few pins, and this is always a good thing as I always seem to find the sharp ends!)

    The only solution I can come up with is to check your machine tension, stitch length or replace the needle? (this is usually what I try when in doubt!)

    Hope the experts on here manage to figure it out for you.
    Happy sewing!
    Yvie

  3. #3
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I cut my background square oversized by about a half inch and starch it into cardboard. When it is starched heavily, I don't seem to get much pulling and the little bit of extra size lets me square it up when I'm finished. This plan seems to work well for me.

  4. #4
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I use a tear -away stabilizer when ever I machine applique. I just pin it to the backround fabric close to the applique , but not so close as to interfere with the machine stitching. On rare occasion it is a really large applique I use a very,very light spray of spray basting on the tear away.
    I won't satin stitch an applique with out the tear away .... FYI in an extreme pinch I have used copy paper in place of regular tear away.
    Last edited by Lori S; 01-24-2012 at 01:30 PM.

  5. #5
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    My favorite method is to starch the background fabric heavily before cutting the squares. I use a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, saturate the fabric, toss in dryer, then iron with steam. This makes a very heavy starch application. I also cut my background fabrics a little larger, just in case the sewing takes up some fabric, then cut to exact size after sewing.

    Since you are already sewing, the starch method won't work. You will need to place a stabilizer underneath the background square. A plain sheet of typing paper would probably work, or Stitch and Ditch (inexpensive on Amazon and tears away easily), or a tear-away stabilizer. MistyFuse underneath would probably work too, but I haven't tried that.

    Basically you need to stabilize the background fabric so it doesn't stretch and/or tunnel when you satin stitch. Applique requires you to sew all around a design, so you are inevitably going to be sewing on the bias of the background at certain points. That is where the background fabric is most likely to stretch and distort. Stabilizing the background fabric prevents that.

  6. #6
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    I use steam a seam Lt. II I use it behind my appliques when I machine or buttonhole stich by hand.

  7. #7
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I had the same problem you did and solved it by not satin-stitching anymore. Lol not much help, am I? I changed to using a blanket stitch or a small, narrow zigzag. I used satin-stitch on a wall hanging, and not only did it "tunnel", but it also warped the quilt so it doesn't hang flat on the wall. Phooey.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    When I do applique, I use freezer paper ironed to the fabric to stabalize it, and try not to use a wide satain stitch, it causes the fabrict to pull up. I also have switched to a naarrow zig zat for applique and I use invisable thread .

  9. #9
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    The satin stitch will cause the fabric to do that because it is trying to fit in so much thread in such a small area, if you go to a zigzag that should stop.


    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I had the same problem you did and solved it by not satin-stitching anymore. Lol not much help, am I? I changed to using a blanket stitch or a small, narrow zigzag. I used satin-stitch on a wall hanging, and not only did it "tunnel", but it also warped the quilt so it doesn't hang flat on the wall. Phooey.
    Sewbeadit
    Montesano, Washington

  10. #10
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I have used paper or tear away embroidery stabilizer.
    Grandma of 5 beautiful grand kids, and 4 crazy cats!

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