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Thread: first attempt at machine applique

  1. #1
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    Whew! This was so much harder than I thought it would be. I would love any suggestions from more experienced quilters. I used a zig zag stitch and couldn't figure out just how long or wide the stitches should be. Things puckered and shifted a little bit, and I had trouble "steering" the needle. Any words of advice? Thanks
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  2. #2
    Super Member rootyr's Avatar
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    Ah!

  3. #3
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    Also, santa kind of lost his definition. can't really tell what that blob is. :?

  4. #4
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Did you put a stabilizer under the stitching? It helps keep the fabric from stretching and puckering.

  5. #5
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    I have a couple of suggestions for you...

    1. Use some very light stabilizer behind the area you are applique-ing. It helps.

    2. Turn your tension down a little bit.

    3. Make your zig-zag a little bit longer than you would think. Not too long, not too short.

    4. Sew slowly until you really get the hang of it. My first machine applique project was amazingly slow...it took me over 1 hour to sew down the first piece. By the time I finished I was down to about 10 minutes per piece. I'm faster than that now, but it takes a lot of practice to really get a rhythm down, and it depends on how detailed the edge of your pieces are.

    Keep at it...you are doing good for a beginner!!

  6. #6
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Smaller pieces that stick out like in Santa, need a much narrower stitch.

    You may want to use a stabilizer behind the fabric to reduce the puckering.

    Stop with your needle down, and in the background fabric, lift your presser foot, readjust the fabric, lower the foot, and start sewing again. You will need to do this, instead of trying to "drive" the fabric under the presser foot. It will cause puckers and distort your applique if you don't. You may need to do this every few stitches, but it is still faster than hand sewing :wink:

  7. #7
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    I didn't use stabilizer...what is that? Do you put it under the appliqued piece or the backing? I also had difficulty getting narrow pieces to stay put, as the needle would push it to the side. Pins didn't quite keep things still.

  8. #8
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    amma, when you say narrower stitch, would I shorten the stitch length or the stitch width? I get confused about that with zig zag. Thanks so much for your help!

  9. #9
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Very cute!

  10. #10
    Senior Member GwenH's Avatar
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    You would put it under the backing, sometimes if I am just making a small wallhanging I put batting under my backing piece and then do the applique, then you'd just have to put your quilt back on and do an outline stitch around the piece or even just around the borders. That being said your piece is really cute, and you will get better with practice. Have fun... I love doing applique.
    I know there are other stabalizers on the market but this is the one I use, you can get more information on stabalizer at http://www.sulky.com/stabilizers/tear.php


    Quote Originally Posted by dgreen
    I didn't use stabilizer...what is that? Do you put it under the appliqued piece or the backing? I also had difficulty getting narrow pieces to stay put, as the needle would push it to the side. Pins didn't quite keep things still.

  11. #11
    Super Member n2scraplvr's Avatar
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    Great job for a first timer!!! I only do HA or HQ so can't help you there. Usually really detailed work like the Santa and sleigh are tackled after more experience is gained and less detailed items are chosen for their quick efforts and inexperience hands, but you were brave in tackling difficult pieces for the first time. Everything should be easy from here on out for you! LOL! It just takes lots of practice. Charming piece!! :D :D

  12. #12
    blue10moon9's Avatar
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    This is my favorite way to applique (click on link).

    http://www.thequiltshow.com/bernina/303.html

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue10moon9
    This is my favorite way to applique (click on link).

    http://www.thequiltshow.com/bernina/303.html
    Thanks for this link....

  14. #14
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    You may want to use a fusible under your applique pieces at least until you get the hang out of it. You fuse the pieces to the background fabric and it doesn't move while you sew. Also, I like to use the blanket stitch rather than the zig zag. It fills the edge less and makes it less tight. The stabilizer will help you not have puckers.

  15. #15
    Super Member KathyAire's Avatar
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    Someone posted these two links yesterday. They are very good and helpful.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X7eMGCnv8g

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlPEC...eature=related

  16. #16
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Youtube has great tutorials!!

  17. #17
    Senior Member allie1448's Avatar
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    I think you did a great job for a first attempt! I used a blanket stitch for my first attempt at machine applique because my teacher told me that it was a bit easier to use as you could count when the needle was going to go into the fabric shape and make it a little neater than using the zig zag stitch. I was also told to check where the needle was in the fabric for turning corners so that I got a nice clean result each time. I still think you did an amazing job but I Hope this helps for your next project

  18. #18
    Super Member Teacup's Avatar
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    On the top I use fusible Steam a Seam or Wonderunder to hold my fabric in place, although I first learned using a regular craft glue stick. I generally use a satin stitch zigzag. Under the fabric I use "cheap" stabilizer. I was taught to use tissue paper like you use for wrapping gifts. I get plain white tissue paper and one side is usually slightly polished, so that side goes down on the bed of the machine to reduce friction. I use just a few dabs of glue stick to hold it in place if necessary. It rips off easily when I'm done. I have Thimbleberries quilting book by Lynette Jensen and it said she uses paper towels! Haven't tried that, the tissue paper works for me.

  19. #19
    Super Member pab58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgreen
    Also, santa kind of lost his definition. can't really tell what that blob is. :?
    :lol: :lol: :lol: You can just say it's the Grinch!! It kinda looks like him! :lol: :lol: :lol: Seriously though, I think it's really cute! Try using a stablizer underneath the next time. :thumbup:

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgreen
    I didn't use stabilizer...what is that? Do you put it under the appliqued piece or the backing? I also had difficulty getting narrow pieces to stay put, as the needle would push it to the side. Pins didn't quite keep things still.
    try glue. plain old Elmers school glue. it holds those pesky little pieces in place. there are all kinds of stabilizers out there. different strokes for different folks (situations). narrower stitch width for smaller, thinner pieces. you can use a blind stitch, blanket stitch, or small zig-zag. you can also use fusible on each piece, then stitch around. use the lightest weight you can buy. easiest for beginners.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I heavily starch background fabric for machine applique (1:1 solution of Sta-Flo liquid laundry starch and water). This makes it about as stiff as cardstock -- very stable, so it doesn't shift around as you sew. Also, if you ever decide to try satin stitch, the background fabric won't "tunnel" if it is heavily starched.

  22. #22
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    thanks everyone!

  23. #23
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    I also use my open toe foot and place one side at the edge ,on the applique. then I adjust my stitch size to lasnd where I want on the background. That may be obvious to some of us, but not always to beginnrs. All the other suggestions are great. Oh, and when you are reaching a narrower area, reduce the stitch width gradually.

  24. #24
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    a tearaway stabilizer is cheap, and so is washable school glue, I dilute it a bit with water, smear it here and there and press with the iron, it is stiff where the glue is so try not ot get it where you'll be stitching but it washes right out when the quilt is done.

  25. #25
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    Smaller pieces that stick out like in Santa, need a much narrower stitch.

    You may want to use a stabilizer behind the fabric to reduce the puckering.

    Stop with your needle down, and in the background fabric, lift your presser foot, readjust the fabric, lower the foot, and start sewing again. You will need to do this, instead of trying to "drive" the fabric under the presser foot. It will cause puckers and distort your applique if you don't. You may need to do this every few stitches, but it is still faster than hand sewing :wink:
    what she said....I use a buttonhole stitch for machine applique, adds so much to the finished product

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