i have always done applique by hand whether traditional or fusible. I have an old Bernina that I assumed didn't have an applique stitch so I have never even tried machine applique. Now I am thinking that the blind hem stitch might be one that others have used, is that right? If so do you use thread the color of the applique piece, as I would with hand applique? It seems like it will show more since more of the stitching is on the background fabric. I realize that sometimes I might want the thread to show as an accent to the piece. Also do you use some kind of stabalizer, if so what? Any help with this is so appreciated, thanks. I will always do some hand work because I love it, but for some things it would sure be nice to be able to do it on the machine.
I use a satin stitch, or the one that is straight but has a quick sideways stitch (not the blind hem) for my applique'. I use a fusible web - iron it to the back of my material I wish to applique', cut it out and then sew on. I have had very good luck with this, and since it is a little thicker than the material I an sewing it on, I don't need a stablizer. I usually match the thread, or will do a varigated if I want more contrast.
i like the look of needle turn without doing the work so my method of machine applique is a little more complex than fusible but i prefer the look.
i'll try to detail the process for you
1) cut the applique shape out of fabric and out of interfacing (woven light-medium weight).
2) sew them to each other, right sides together, with water soluble thread.
3) snip the interfacing and turn the shape out just like you would when making a pillow.
4) press the piece into the desired shape, once you're happy, give it a shot of steam from the iron.
5) the steam will dissolve the thread and your able to remove the interfacing with ease while leaving the seams on the fabric piece turned under.
6) place the applique piece onto the background fabric and stitch in place.
i prefer to use the blind stitch or the zig zag stitch with silk thread that matches the applique piece.
i use an extremely tiny stitch that only allows it to put a small stitch on each side (small zig into the applique and then a small zag into the background) i try to keep it just to the sides of the needle turn.
I use fuible to applique. I have tried a few different stitches, satin stitch, looser zig zag, straight stitch, decorative stitches. I prefer to use stabilizer with mine. I was doing a doll quilt and forgot the stabilizer behind a couple of pieces and noticed a difference. I like the smoother look that stabilizer gives. For that I use stitch and tear. I usually try to match the color of the applique, but if I was using a multicolor print and didn't want the distraction of the color stitching, I'd use Sulky Clear Poly thread. I did use it on one quilt and was quite suprised how nice it was. It's not stiff like fishing line as the nylon is.
There are quite a few different ways to machine applique. Harriet Hargrave has a great book out on it. (I have her older edition.)
I would have to look to make sure, but on my Bernina 1230 I think it is the blind hem stitch I use, but I mirror-image it. Whatever its name, it stitches 3 or 4 straight stitches in a row and then does a single zig-zag. I want the zigzag to go to the left, to catch the applique, so on this particular stitch I need to make it mirror-image. It's also very possible to use just a plain zig-zag stitch for the applique.
My preferred method is to use freezer paper. I trace the finished shape on to freezer paper (mirror-imaged if the shape is not symmetrical), iron it to the wrong side of the applique fabric, cut around the freezer paper with about 3/8-inch of fabric for the turnunder allowance. HH recommends using a glue stick to turn under the seam allowance. (Her book gives very detailed advice on how to do this quickly and with precision.) I prefer smearing a small amount of old-fashioned children's paste on the allowance with my fingertip (paste comes in a jar and smells like peppermint) for the turnunder, as it is faster for me and I can control the seam allowance better with it. I iron the applique piece to secure the turnunder.
For invisible machine applique, I usually use the very fine, clear nylon filament thread that HH recommends. However, some day I'd like to try silk thread in a matching color, as I think that would look even better.
For stabilizer, I simply use a heavy solution of starch on the background fabric. I mix a 1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water, apply this to the fabric with a house painting brush, throw the fabric in the dryer, and iron with steam. The fabric comes out nice and stiff. (I do all this before cutting my background squares). If I didn't do this, I'd probably use a commercial tear-away stabilizer underneath the fabric.
There are many sources online that I have explored to discover some methods of applique. Here is one of them. I also had found one that was a video by bernina but can't seem to find it now. But try googling it. Also, there are a number of how to's on YouTube.
I have used the blind hem stitch for applique, but I also use the blanket stitch. Sometimes I match the thread to the applique piece, sometimes I use a contrasting color..and sometimes I use a blind stitch and use a monofilament. It all depends on what I want the look to be.
I've also used the dryer sheet method for applique. It is similar to Klue's method..using dryer sheets vs. the interfacing.
There are as many ways to do this as there are people to answer your question. I'd recommend that you "test drive" some methods to find out what YOU prefer the best and ....thats how you do it. :D
I have used the blindhem stitch a lot on my older Bernina 830. I set the stitch length at almost zero, (but not quite), the stitch length at 2 depending on the size of the piece. Smaller pieces get a smaller stitch width. I would just suggest that you play with the length and width until you get the look you want. I usually try to match the thread. In the picture attached you can see that I only used one color of green thread even though I had several different green fabrics. I only use a stabilizer if I am using a satin or zig zag stitch but I like to spray startch on the back side of my background fabric before I fuse my pieces on.
I do it pretty much as Prism99 describes, and agree about the Harriet Hargrave book. One suggestion if you do use freezer paper templates: iron two pieces of freezer paper together then trace and cut. It makes a much sturdier piece to work with.
As far as the thread I use invisible on top, and the color of the background fabric in the bobbin.
Thank you everyone!!! I am going to try all your suggestions and find the one that works best for me. I can't believe I haven't given it a try in all these years. Maybe I will give machine quilting a try also!