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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 02:30 PM.

  5. #5
    Power Poster 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
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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
    W. 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, 4 crazy cats & 1 dog!

  11. #11
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I like the tear away paper stabilizer. It really helps reduce puckering.

  12. #12
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    I use wonder under and I do the blanket stitch by hand, I love to stitch and listen to the tv

  13. #13
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    You can use a tear away paper-purchased, copy paper, or even paper towels...they tear away very easily. Satin stitching needs to have some stabilizer or there will be distortion because of the close together stitching.

  14. #14
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    A friend of mine and her mom used to make sweatshirts with applique stuff on it for craft sales. You'll never believe what they used underneath.....(on the back side of the bottom fabric..) that lightweight slick paper that comes in the Sunday paper that has coupons on it. She says it works great. You can try.

  15. #15
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    When I did appliqued t-shirts and sweatshirts for craft shows, I always used copy paper. I worked at a school and there was plenty of paper in the recycling boxesfor free! It doesn't matter is it has printing on it. Have also seen notebook paper used.

  16. #16
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I starch or use freezer paper or fusible web. I use the blanket stitch I find it much better for me.

  17. #17
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    I love to applique and I only use the machine blanket stitch or hand blanket stitch and have never had a problem. I use Mistyfuse to adhere the applique to the fabric. I think that satin stitch IS the cause of your problem. Can you rip it out and start over?? I've not used satin stitch but I know it makes the thread very thick.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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    "Remember that your instincts are more important than rules"

  18. #18
    Super Member jemma's Avatar
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    lisa+lori have the answer for you

  19. #19
    Super Member Ruby the Quilter's Avatar
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    I also use the Steam a Seam, and put tissue paper under the background fabric. It tears off easily and helps with your problem.
    Quilting in the Desert

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