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Thread: Applique -- fabric puckering

  1. #1

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    Help !!!! I have been quilting for about 3 years--prior to that I never even sewed a button on a shirt. However, I seem to be having a hard time with the appliqueing process -- my fabric always seems to pucker. I am using a zigzag stitch with my machine -- and can't seem to get the technique down. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Lisa

  2. #2
    BarbC's Avatar
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    I attach my appliques with heat n bond lite. There are lots of other adhesives you can use. Some wash away, some don't. The heat n bond holds it in place nicely so that it doesn't move while I am doing the machine applique around the piece.

    Barb C

  3. #3
    community benefactor Knot Sew's Avatar
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    Put paper on back of fabric and peel away after. I use the plain white computer paper. I sticks my design on fabric using kids glue sticks.. before sewing

  4. #4
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    When I do machine appliqué I always use a stabilizer or I get tunneling with my satin stitching. Sometimes I use a commercial product, other times I use newsprint or computer paper (which is harder to remove).

  5. #5
    Super Member ceannastahr's Avatar
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    I use a kids washable glue stick. Whats nice is after I place it I can reposition it if I set it down wrong, and there cheap 2 for a $1.00.
    Never had a problem with it moving while sewing.

  6. #6
    Super Member Celeste's Avatar
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    I haven't done machine applique yet, but I'm glad to have some pointers for when I try!

  7. #7
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    tearaway stabilizer isn't really expensive and if you use it under your foundation piece it should not pucker, when you're done it tears off pretty easy.

  8. #8

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    I also use Heat and Bond lite for small items which solved my puckering problem. When appliquing large objects, which I don't want to stick to the quilt, I have found that a blanket stitch works better than the zigzag stitch.
    Marylou :)

  9. #9
    BarbC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marylou
    I have found that a blanket stitch works better than the zigzag stitch.
    Marylou :)
    I don't have blanket stitch on my machine, so that is not an option... but I do know that you can still use Heat and Bond.. just use less of it. For larger items I draw off the item and then I repeat it about 1/2" or so inside the object. This is on the Heat and Bond. I end up with the adhesive being just around the edge of the applique, not behind the entire thing. Does that make sense? I hope so!

    Barb C.

  10. #10

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    Yes, it does make sense and I have done that too! Thanks, Marylou

  11. #11

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    Is the applique puckering, or the fabric that your appliqueing it to? If its the fabric that your putting the applique on, I believe its the bobbin tension is to tite, Not a fact, just that I applique alot and in the past when I've had that problem, it was my tension, Hope that may help.

  12. #12
    Catherine's Avatar
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    If you really have nothing in your sewing stash to use...use coffee filters as a stabilizer..they really work!!

  13. #13
    ButtercreamCakeArtist's Avatar
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    I'm just wondering...since I am new to applique`...how do you get the paper out after you've applique`d the the applique` on the fabric? Do you leave a really small space, and remove it before you finish all the way around the item you are putting on top?

  14. #14
    ButtercreamCakeArtist's Avatar
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    Catherine~ That's a really great idea. Do the white, bleached ones work better or worse or the same as the natural brown ones?
    I guess you iron these first??

  15. #15
    Suz
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    Buttercream,

    If you are appliquing by hand, then leave the opening and carefully pull the paper out. If by machine, then make a small slit in the back of the appliqued piece, pull it out, and then slip stitch or fuse the opening closed.

    Suzanne

  16. #16
    Catherine's Avatar
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    I use the white ones, and iron them down, if you feel you need two, use two. These really do work great and tear away easily. I always keep them handy..you can't beat the cost!!!!

  17. #17
    gr8tchr4u's Avatar
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    A few questions:

    1. Are you paying attention to the grain of the fabric of your base and applique? This can cause great puckering!
    2. Also, are your fabrics of similar weights?
    3. Are you using the same thread in the bobbin as well as sewing?
    4. Does your machine pucker fabric when using a zig zag stitch normally or it is this special project that is causing pain?

    I prefer something like interfacing or heat-n-bond. They come in various weights and are marvelous to use. They will also stay in place! :)

    L

  18. #18
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    Great topic and lots of good tips! Thanks.

  19. #19
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    See how much trouble applique is? This is why I think it is a 4 letter word!! :shock:

  20. #20
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    Are they puckering when you press them after they've been appliqued...I'm new to machine applique but have done hand work for a long time... If both your fabrics weren't prewashed, then steam can make them pucker...or too hot of an iron. One of the reasons I prewash everything...even tiny scraps I aquire from garage sales etc...i put them in a zippered mesh "personals" bag and gently wash them by hand in a dish tub. then hang them to dry by clips on hangers. Then when I press after appliqueing they don't pucker.

  21. #21
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    Good one, Marcia...let's not discourage the newbies (like me) from something altogether scary. LOL

  22. #22
    Suz
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    Lisa,

    Applique work always looks better after pressing whether done by machine or hand. Get a bath towel and lay your applique block face down on the towel and press with steam. No scrubbing, just up and down motion. -- Press from the back always. Pressing from the top side will crush and flatten your work.

    Just to see the difference, press only half the block and see how the two halves compare. I hand applique a lot and my work always looks better after pressing.

    Let us all know how this works.

    Suzanne

  23. #23
    Super Member Quilting Aggi's Avatar
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    a bit of tear away stabilizer on the bag of your piece will also help in preventing puckering.

  24. #24
    Super Member DA Mayer's Avatar
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    Is there a tutorial on applique, I haven't done it for years and i would like to start again. Your tips are great and I remember better if I also see what someone is talking about. Do any of you add batting to the applique?

  25. #25
    Super Member jbsstrawberry's Avatar
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    DA Mayer...I do sometimes depending on what the project is. When I make my appliqued Christmas stockings there are a lot of "stuffed" parts for a 3-D style. I've used poly-fil and batting for those. I've used batting on some appliqued pillows too. But I've never done a whole appliqued quilt. It would make for an interesting project though.

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