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Thread: Machine Applique First Try Many Problems -- HELP!!

  1. #1
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Since I know next to nothing about quilting, I'm making a Christmas practice quilt. My pieced blocks have been going pretty well. Sunbonnet Sue is one of my all time favorites, so I decided to give her a try. I read every hint and tip I could find and set off today to make her.

    Problem #1 even you folks can't fix. I spent 10 minutes trying to iron the pieces on the block and couldn't get it done. I reread the instructions and kept on trying. Finally, I realized I forgot to take the paper off!! :oops: Everything ironed just fine. You can't fix stupid!

    I starched the block into cardboard just like a tip on here said to do. That worked great.

    The problem is my curves. They are jagged. I've read tips that say you have to pivot with the needle on the inside or the outside depending on the shape of the curve, but I just don't get it. Can you give me specific tips based on these pictures?

    Overall block
    Name:  Attachment-49188.jpe
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    Jagged hat which I tried to fix and made worse.
    Name:  Attachment-49226.jpe
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Size:  38.4 KB

    How do I smooth out these curves????
    Name:  Attachment-49227.jpe
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Size:  50.1 KB

  2. #2
    Senior Member mrsj82's Avatar
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    The only bit of advice I can think of is this. When you're doing the curves, stop at one point and keep the needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot, and turn it slightly. Do a few stitches, and re-peat the process until you get around the curve.

    Anyway, I think this looks stunning! And I don't think the curves are very jagged at all, I think they're really great!

  3. #3
    Super Member joeyoz's Avatar
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    Ditto. Just slow down. Take your time. It's looking great.
    Quote Originally Posted by mrsj82
    The only bit of advice I can think of is this. When you're doing the curves, stop at one point and keep the needle in the fabric, raise the presser foot, and turn it slightly. Do a few stitches, and re-peat the process until you get around the curve.

    Anyway, I think this looks stunning! And I don't think the curves are very jagged at all, I think they're really great!

  4. #4
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    Lisa, what the others said, and think about this: you had to enlarge the picture, so we could see any minute 99/100 of any kind of not perfect.
    Nobody's is perfect.
    Mine aren't - just loved!
    Your doing great. :D

  5. #5
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    One thing that helped me do rounded areas was to think of a clock face. Every time you reach another "hour", you pivot slightly. It looks a lot better than some of my early pieces! I also find tear-away stabilizer helps keep things from puckering.

  6. #6
    Lisa T's Avatar
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    Oh, wow. I was expecting something bad! These look FINE. I think all you need is a little practice, which is what you are doing. My first ones looked way worse than my recent ones.

    (I use old magazine pages instead of tear-away stabilizer. It's cheap and it's recycling!)

  7. #7
    Super Member Susy's Avatar
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    You are being way too hard on yourself, it looks SO good compared to the one I have tried (and never done again)

  8. #8
    Super Member justwannaquilt's Avatar
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    I think it looks great!
    I have been trying to zig zag applique like that for oh...a year, and I dont have the patients to sew two or three stitches and pivot. so I don on my free motion foot and do raw edge applique or I don't applique at all. lol

  9. #9
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    I think it looks nice. Those little blips that are driving you over the edge will smooth out over time and aren't as noticeable as you seem to feel they are.
    I think they are really sweet!

  10. #10
    kd124's Avatar
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    I really don't see a big problem. You did a million times better than my first time.

  11. #11
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    Looks GREAT to me :thumbup: We are , our own worst critics :roll:

  12. #12

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    I love machine applique but learned that it is not necessarily a fast process. Sometimes I have to stop and pivot every 1, 2, or 3 stitches. Unless it's something I'm making for my mother...who has worse eyesight than I do. Then it's pedal to the metal!!!

    I did learn (the hard way) that the right swing of the needle should hit just the outside edge of the applique. I always tried to make the zig zag stitch straddle the applique. By using the edge of the applique as a guide my stitches became much more even.

    Be gentle with yourself. Progress not perfection!!!! You're stitches look great and will only improve with time.

  13. #13
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    I think it looks pretty darn good!

  14. #14
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    I think it looks great.

    I know, because I do it to myself, that we expect perfection from our projects and get frustrated. just keep trying. I also found that satin stitch didn't work for me i tried with blanket stitch or double blanket stitch and I feel better about my results. Do your machine have those stitches?

  15. #15
    Senior Member JANW's Avatar
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    I hope this helps, because it took me awhile to figure this out, but I now use an open toe foot so I can see where I'm going and do a blanket stitch. But it really looks good for a first try.

  16. #16
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    OK, maybe is just need some practice. I do like the idea of using the edge of the applique as a guide. I was kind of winging it trying to keep the stitches evenly on the applieque and the block.

    I'll stick this one in my practice quilt where all it's lflaws will be in good company and keep on trying.

    Thanks for the encouraging words! :D

  17. #17
    Super Member burnsk's Avatar
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    I think she's as cute as a button. Nice work.

  18. #18
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    Sunbonnet Sue is cute - and if that's your first attempt? - you did very well

  19. #19
    Senior Member OdessaQuilts's Avatar
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    Lisa, you're doing just fine. I agree that an open-toe foot and going at a moderate to slow speed will help. Also on sharper curves, you will definitely want to stop every few stitches to adjust the piece ever so slightly to keep the curve smooth. The gentler the curve, the less often you should have to do this step.

    As for the swing of the needle and pivoting, I have found that it helps to pay attention to where your needle is going to stop. Lift the presser foot, turn the piece and make sure that the needle is going to "swing" to the proper place when you start to go.

    Okay, that doesn't make quite enough sense to me, either, and I've been sewing for far too long! lol

    Assume you are satin stitching around a square, with the body of the square to the left of your machine. When you come to the first corner, leave the needle down on the right swing (off the edge of the square). Lift the presser foot, turn the square counter-clockwise to do the next side. Proceed. As you come to the next corner, try leaving the needle in the down position on the LEFT swing (in the body of the square). Lift the foot and rotate the piece another 90 degrees and then sew to the next corner. Now stop, remove your work and look at your corners. The first corner you did will have a little square of fabric hanging out at the corner, or an "L" shape open. The second corner you did should be completely solid.

    So, as you can see, you need to pay attention to which side of the swing you need your needle to be left in the fabric and consider where the swing will take you once you turn your piece. That way you will have a nice, solid line of satin stitching.

    The best advice, you've already been given: keep practicing. You're really doing just fine!

    I hope this helps.

  20. #20
    k3n
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    Hi Lisa - can't help you with machine appliqué I'm afraid because I've never tried it but just wanted to say I think she looks mighty fine as she is! :D

  21. #21
    BlueChicken's Avatar
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    That is seriously good for a first attempt... hell, mine don't look that good and I've been doing it for ages!

    I can't add any new tips, but definitely agree with all the ones above, slow and steady, take note of the fall of the needle... left, right, left, right, left... so you know where to stop it.... and don't be afraid to do only one or two stitches before stopping and turning a little, one or two more, stop and turn a little again.


  22. #22
    reneebobby's Avatar
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    I haven't done applqiue yet it is on my to do list, which is very soon anyhow I think for your first time you did a wonderful job, probally better than I'll do.

  23. #23

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    Personally I think you are being a tab-bit picky.... it's adorable and I love it!

  24. #24
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Odessa, I'll keep your instructions in mind on the next practice round.

    Ladies, my Sue is blushing from all your kind words about her.

  25. #25
    Super Member vicki reno's Avatar
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    Yours look fine. Just remeber like everyone else has said, take a few stitches and pivot ever so slightly. You will get puckers if you try to pivot without raising the presser foot. Been there done that! Keep up the good work. Sue looks good! :D

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