Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Machine Applique

When my Dad passed away 13 years ago, one of the men he worked with said something that has stuck with me to this day....................."There goes a lot of knowledge."  My Dad was very, very clever in his field.  He was a master welder and his talent in that field was well known both here and abroad.  Unfortunately, he didn't put pen to paper and leave all that knowledge here.  He quite possibly just never thought of it  OR it could have been because he hated paper work.  He had a grade 8 education but a university mind.  It was too bad he lived during the depression and he had no choice but to go to work to help out the family. 

When I heard the comment made by his friend, I decided then and there that if I learned anything, anywhere I would pass it on.  Some things I've taught myself, other things I've picked up here and there along the way.  I was asked if I would post this on my blog so that others could learn it.  Here you go:

Machine Applique......different ways to do it.

I cut out my template and trace it onto fusible web using a pencil that I know will not vanish when I put the iron to it.  Keep testing until you find the one that works for you.  I use a graphite pencil that I have found at Staples.  I keep the package at my light table so that they are available when I need them.

I fuse the pieces to my backing and take them to the ironing board.
I use a regular thread in the top and a bobbin thread.  My choices are YLI (for the bobbin) and Guterman.  Ask at your favourite shop for their recommendations.

Needles...................embroidery. I have used Schmetz Gold, Schmetz Embroidery and now I'm testing out a new brand for me, Inspira.  If I'm not stitching through layers of fabric I use the 75/11.  If I'm actually quilting while I'm doing the applique I use a 90.

use an applique foot on your machine while sewing.  It makes it much easier to see what you are doing.
Keep your needle in the down position. 

This is RAW EDGE applique.  Simple straight stitch just inside the edge of the design.  I'm using dark thread on this as it makes it easier for you to see.

Never start stitching at a point.  Start on a straight side.  When you get to the end..................STOP!!!!

Do not backstitch.  Do not use your thread cutter!  Lift the foot and pull your thread out just like I have done.  Then pull the top threads to the back and tie them off.  Don't backstitch.  It isn't very attractive.  I've done it, I shouldn't have done it, but I did.  It really took away from the finished work.You can use a little piece of fusible interfacing over the stitches so that they lie behind the work and not show through the background fabric.

From here on, I would strongly recommend that you use a stabilizer on the back of your work.  It could be a stitch and tear, a washable stabilizer, but use something so that you have some --well, stability!  This next "bit" is all about the APPLIQUE stitch. Mine is built in on my machine.  It is a tiny stitch and I really like it.

Once again start on one side and go all the way around the piece.  Notice how tiny the stitches are?  You finish this off the same as the raw edge.

The next is using the BLANKET stitch.  This stitch you can change the width and the length.  The one on my machine actually does the stitch twice so it gives it a "heavier" look.

I started this one with the size that the machine automatically sets up, then changed it to longer stitches and wider stitch lengths.
Now here is a little warning for you.  Do not move your needle until the machine has finished doing what its doing or you will end up with this.

I turned the position of the piece a little too soon.

This is the SATIN stitch.  I never use it.  I don't care for it.  It gives the piece a heavy look, unless you use co-ordinating thread.  See how the fabric is rippling like its sitting on a lake.  That's what happens when you don't use stabilizer.

If you want to get really fancy when doing the satin stitch you can do a straight stitch on the inside of the satin stitch.  A co-ordinating thread, a variegated or a Blendable look beautiful done this way.

How do I choose which stitch to use?  It depends on the look I'm trying to achieve.  I never use the raw edge stitching unless its for tiny places like eyes, noses, etc.  The applique stitch is the one I prefer.  I use it on just about everything.  For the most part I use co-ordinating thread.  If I want a fun look I'll use a contrasting thread.  It depends on the piece of work.
The blanket stitch I use when I want a "folk art" look.  It is a "heavy stitch" on my machine as it does each step twice.  You can do it all in one colour or a co-ordinating thread.  Its up to you.
The satin stitch.  If it is narrow (in the photos it is wider so that you can see it), I like it.  I really like doing it with the stitching on the inside and if you want you can do that stitch around the outside too.

3-D applique next..................................tomorrow

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by Maya Angelou

"Sometimes a small thing you do can mean everything in another person's life. When you learn, teach. When you get, give."

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