How To Applique With An Embroidery Machine?

Appliqué is a popular embroidery technique that can add depth and texture to any project. While traditionally done by hand, appliqué can also be accomplished with the help of an embroidery machine. The process involves cutting fabric pieces into desired shapes, securing them onto a base fabric, and stitching around the edges either by satin or decorative stitches.

One key tip for successful appliqué with an embroidery machine is to choose the right stabilizer. Using a stabilizer ensures that your base fabric remains secure during stitching and prevents puckering or distortion. Tear-away stabilizers work well for most fabrics, while heavier fabrics may require cut-away stabilizers.

Another important consideration is selecting the right type of thread for your appliqué design. A polyester thread is often recommended because it has a slight stretch which helps prevent breaking during intricate stitching. Additionally, polyester thread provides a lustrous finish that adds richness to your appliquéd designs.

With these tips in mind, you can now explore the world of appliqué using an embroidery machine. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fabrics, threads, and stitch combinations to create unique and stunning designs that elevate your sewing projects from ordinary to extraordinary. Enable your creativity and let your embroidery machine bring your vision to life!

Which fabric works best for applique?

The most important consideration when doing applique is choosing the right fabric. A good fabric choice can make a big difference to the outcome of your applique project. While many fabrics can work with applique, some are better than others.

For crisp and clean edges, cotton fabric is often a great choice for applique. It is easy to cut and shape, making it ideal for intricate designs. Additionally, the cotton fabric holds its shape well and does not stretch or distort easily, ensuring that your applique stays put and looks professional.

Another fantastic option for applique is felt fabric. Felt comes in various colors and has a soft texture that adds depth and dimension to your designs. It is also durable, making it suitable for machine-sewn and hand-sewn projects. Whether you’re creating cute animal shapes or detailed floral motifs, felt fabric brings an extra level of charm to any appliqué project.

Consider colorfastness, stretchability, and texture when selecting fabrics for your next appliqué endeavor. Experimenting with different fabrics will help you develop your skills and add creative flair to your projects!

Can you make an Applique on a Sewing Machine?

Applique With An Embroidery Machine

Applique is a popular technique in sewing where fabric shapes and designs are attached to a base fabric. Traditionally, this method involved hand-stitching the applique pieces onto the fabric, making it quite time-consuming. Although, with advancements in technology, it is now possible to create appliques on a sewing machine.

Using a sewing machine for applique offers several benefits. This method saves time and effort over traditional hand-stitching methods. With a well-equipped sewing machine and some practice, you can easily achieve clean and precise stitching lines that give your applique a professional look. Additionally, a sewing machine allows for more intricate detailing and creativity in your designs.

Another advantage of using a sewing machine for applique is experimenting with different stitches. Most modern machines come with various decorative stitches that can enhance the edges of the applique or add interesting textures to the design. This opens up unlimited possibilities for creativity and personalization.

Making an applique on a sewing machine is possible and highly advantageous if you want to save time and explore different design options.

Different Methods of Applique

Machine Applique

The most popular method of applique is machine applique. Using this technique, you can create intricate patterns on fabric without cutting anything out beforehand. You can easily create stunning applique designs with basic sewing skills and a sewing machine.

Machine applique involves using a special type of sewing machine foot called a satin stitch foot, which allows for precise stitching around the edges of your design. You begin by tracing or drawing your desired design onto the fabric, then place it under the sewing machine’s needle. Using a zigzag stitch or satin stitch, you slowly follow along the traced lines, securing the edges of your design to the fabric.

Hand Applique

Hand applique is a timeless quilting technique used for centuries to create stunning designs. Unlike machine applique, which can feel mechanical and lack the personal touch, hand applique allows you to truly connect with your project. This technique works best for simple shapes like hearts, flowers, or geometric patterns. The freedom of using only your hands and a needle and thread brings a sense of joy and mindfulness to the process.

A benefit of hand applique is the control it gives you over every stitch. You have complete authority over how each shape is stitched down, allowing for intricate detail work that may not be as easily achieved with a machine. This level of precision creates truly exceptional pieces that stand out from their machine-sewn counterparts.

A delightful aspect of hand applique is experimenting with various stitches. While common choices such as blanket stitch or whipstitch are versatile and reliable, branching out into less traditional stitches can add an unexpected flair to your work. From French knots and chain stitches to herringbone or feather stitches, there are endless possibilities for creating unique textures and accents in your hand applique projects.

Fused Applique

Fused applique is an exciting sewing technique that adds a whole new dimension to any project. Using special adhesives, fabric pieces can be easily attached to create intricate designs and patterns. The process is straightforward – all you need to do is cut out your desired shapes from different fabrics, apply the adhesive to the back of each piece, and press them onto your base fabric.

What makes fused applique so fascinating is its versatility. Many possibilities are available when creating customized projects, whether embellishing a quilt, adding decorative elements to clothing or accessories, or creating artwork. This technique allows you to experiment with various fabrics, colors, textures, and sizes. The ability to layer different fabric pieces opens up countless opportunities for creating depth and dimension in your designs.

The greatest advantage of fused applique is its time-saving nature. Unlike traditional applique methods that involve hand stitching or satin stitches around each shape, fused applique allows you to skip those steps altogether. Simply fuse the fabric pieces in place using heat or an iron-on adhesive and move on to the next step – no need for time-consuming stitching! This speeds up the overall process and ensures a secure bond between the fabrics without compromising appearance.

Fused applique introduces a whole new world of creative possibilities in sewing projects.

Styles or Types of Applique

Smooth Edge Applique

Smooth edge appliqué is a technique that brings precision and finesse to your quilting projects. Unlike traditional appliqué methods, which involve turning under the edges of fabric shapes before stitching them to a background, smooth edge appliqué allows for raw-edge stitching. This means that the edges of the fabric pieces are left unfinished, giving your quilt a more modern and contemporary look. 

A major benefit of smooth edge appliqué is its versatility. This technique allows you to experiment with different fabrics, colors, and textures without worrying about finishing the edges neatly. You can use bold prints or intricate motifs that would be challenging to turn under in traditional appliqué. As a result, you are opening up endless possibilities for creativity, which allows you to add unique design elements to your quilts.

Another benefit of smooth edge appliqué is its time-saving nature. Without having to meticulously turn under every edge, you can complete your projects quickly while achieving a professional-looking result. The raw-edge stitching creates depth and dimension on your quilt top, adding visual interest and enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal.

Raw Edge Applique

While raw edge applique may not be as commonly used as other techniques, it offers a distinct and unique look that can add a touch of creativity to any project. The raw edges left to the sides create a slightly frayed, textured effect that adds character and depth to the design. Although some argue this technique doesn’t look professional, it can be intentionally incorporated into certain styles or themes for a more rustic or handmade aesthetic.

Among the advantages of raw edge applique is its versatility. Leaving the edges unfinished allows you to experiment with different fabrics, patterns, and colors without worrying about precision stitching. This technique allows you to showcase the texture and pattern of each fabric piece more organically, creating an artful composition that breaks free from traditional norms.

Reverse Applique

Reverse applique is a technique that takes embroidery to the next level. Instead of simply stitching on top of the fabric, reverse applique involves attaching two pieces with intricate stitching. This method allows for endless creativity and customization in your embroidery projects.

The main advantage of reverse applique is its versatility. You can use this technique on various fabrics, from cotton to denim to leather. It’s also a great way to breathe new life into old clothes or repurpose fabric scraps. You create unique designs that catch the eye by layering different colors and patterns.

Another exciting aspect of reverse applique is its opportunity for experimentation with textures. Mixing different materials, such as silk and lace, is a great way to add depth and visual interest to embroidery work. Playing with varying thicknesses of fabric adds an element of three-dimensionality that gives your designs a tactile quality.

The art of reverse applique opens up possibilities for innovative embroidery projects. Whether embellishing an item of clothing or creating stunning wall art, this technique lets your imagination run wild while honing your sewing skills.

Decorative Applique

Decorative applique is more than just a form of embroidery; it is an art form that allows for endless creativity and stunning designs. The process involves stitching a design onto one piece of fabric and then attaching it to another piece of fabric, creating a layered and dimensional effect. This technique can embellish clothing, accessories, or even home decor items.

What sets decorative applique apart from other forms of embroidery is its versatility. Unlike traditional embroidery, where the design is stitched directly onto the fabric, applique allows for intricate details and complex patterns by layering different fabrics together. This opens up possibilities regarding color combinations, textures, and designs. From floral motifs in vibrant hues to whimsical shapes in pastel tones, there are no limits to what can be achieved with decorative applique.

Multi-Needle Hoop Applique

Regarding embroidery and applique, the multi-needle hooping technique is a game-changer. This method involves using a specially designed machine with multiple needles that can securely hold the fabric while stitching. Unlike traditional hooping, which requires frequent repositioning of the fabric, this technique allows for continuous and efficient work.

A benefit of multi-needle hooping is its accuracy and precision. You can create intricate designs with clean lines and sharp edges with multiple needles. The stability provided by the hoop ensures that your stitches are consistent throughout the project, resulting in professional-looking finishes.

Furthermore, multi-needle hooping opens up endless possibilities for creative expression. You can experiment with various textures and effects on your fabric by utilizing different needle sizes and thread color combinations. Whether embellishing a garment or creating a piece of home décor, this technique allows you to achieve remarkable results that captivate everyone’s attention.

How to get the perfect size of an Applique Fabric?

Applique With An Embroidery Machine

If you want the best results, please follow these steps before going into the main process.

  1. Stitch And Cut

When creating applique fabric designs, getting the perfect size is crucial. Too small, and the details of your design may not be visible; too large, and it may overpower the overall look of your project. One important factor to consider is the stitch count. The smaller the stitches, the more detailed and intricate your design can be. This means you will need a finer fabric with a higher thread count for smaller appliques.

Another key consideration is cutting precision. It’s important to have a sharp pair of scissors or rotary cutter to ensure clean cuts on your fabric pieces. This will help maintain the accuracy of your design size and prevent fraying at the edges. Be careful not to cut too close to any stitching lines, as this can compromise their stability.

To determine the perfect size for your applique fabric, consider where it will be placed on your project and what effect you want it to have. For example, if you’re adding an applique detail to a quilt block in a corner, you might choose a smaller size to not overwhelm the rest of the block. On the other hand, if you’re creating a focal point on a garment or bag, you might opt for a larger applique size to make it stand out.

Finding the right size requires attention to detail in stitch count and cutting precision when working with applique fabric designs.

  1. Double Stitching

A double stitch technique can make finding the right size for your applique fabric easier. This isn’t needed for every project, but it can add extra strength to the embroidery and make the fabric hold its shape better.

Start with a placement stitch on your base fabric, then take it out of the hoop. Hoop your applique fabric with an embroidery stabilizer and add another placement stitch. Once you’ve stitched the applique fabric, cut it out. You can then sew it onto the base fabric. This way, you’ll achieve a neat and precise applique design.

  1. Cut to Size before Placement

Cutting the applique fabric to the exact size before placement is crucial in achieving a seamless and professional-looking design. By measuring and trimming the fabric accurately, you can ensure it fits precisely into your chosen piece of mat. This attention to detail not only enhances the overall aesthetic of your design but also prevents any unsightly overlapping or uneven edges.

One key benefit of cutting the applique fabric to size before placement is that it allows for easier manipulation and positioning. Instead of struggling to arrange excess material or tuck in folds, you can work with a neat fabric piece that effortlessly adheres to your mat. This saves you time and reduces frustration during the placement process.

Cutting the applique fabric before placement also enables greater precision and accuracy. With a precise template, it becomes easier to visualize how your design will appear on the finished product. You can adjust before finalizing its position, ensuring that every angle and curve aligns harmoniously with your intended concept. Ultimately, by investing this extra effort upfront, you are setting yourself up for success in creating a flawless and professionally crafted applique design.

Supplies for Machine Embroidery Applique

An embroidery machine is required to make appliques, and the list below shows everything you need.

  1. Base Fabric
  2. Applique Backing (HeatnBond preferred)
  3. Embroidery Machine (I would suggest Brother SE1900)
  4. Embroidery Stabilizer
  5. Temporary Adhesives
  6. Embroidery Needles
  7. Scissors
  8. Iron
  9. Embroidery Thread
  10. Needle
  11. Marking Pen
  12. Applique Designs

How to applique With An embroidery machine?

Before applying your design to the garment, wash it thoroughly and let it dry completely. To get your design, follow these steps after washing it:

Setting Up the Fabric and Machine for Applique

To begin your applique project, you must ready your fabric and machine.

Start by arranging your embroidery hoop and base fabric. Use a marking pen or chalk to highlight the area you want to apply. For darker fabrics, chalk works best. Now, adjust your hoop. Always use a clean hoop to save time and effort during sewing. Hooping your fabric and stabilizer properly will assist you while stitching. I used a tear-away stabilizer, but you can choose what suits you. Ensure your stabilizer is 1 inch larger than the hoop size to fit well.

Place a layer of water-soluble topping on top for heavy fabrics like velvet or fur after hooping. Ensure the fabric has no thread, which could cause issues later in the process. To prevent mess, set up a space where you’re okay with some lint or fuzz from the embroidery machine, which might occur as you work on your project. This way, you can avoid any unexpected hiccups.

Stitching the Placement or Outline Stitch

Once you’re all set up, it’s time to begin sewing your design. This part might feel a bit tricky for beginners. Since different projects require different stitching methods, I recommend following these steps to make things easier.

Start by practicing with simple designs to understand how your machine works. Next, apply temporary adhesive on top of your design to keep it in place while sewing. Be careful about air bubbles; they could cause issues later. Press your press foot onto the fabric and get ready to sew.

For a smoother experience, I suggest sewing at a speed of 1. It’s okay if you prefer; you can go faster. Once you’re confident with your first stitching line, sew other pieces on top. You don’t have to worry about aligning every single piece perfectly.

Taking your time and practicing will help you get comfortable with sewing. Remember, it’s okay to start with basic designs before moving on to more complicated projects. As you gain experience, you’ll find what works best for you and your machine.

Getting the Applique fabric ready

One crucial step in creating beautiful applique designs is getting the fabric ready. Before starting any stitching, cutting a piece of fabric that is two to three times as large as the desired design is important. This allows for enough space to work with and ensures that there will be ample fabric for attaching.

Once the appropriate size of fabric has been cut, it can be attached to the desired project. This can be done using various methods such as sewing, gluing, or fusible webbing. Each method has advantages and may vary depending on personal preference or the specific project.

Taking the time to properly prepare and attach your applique fabric will give you a solid foundation for your design and ensure that your finished product looks professional and well-crafted. Paying attention to detail during this step will allow you greater flexibility when adding intricate details or adjusting later.

Take your time and make sure that your applique fabric is ready before diving into any stitching – it’s a small investment of time with big returns in terms of overall quality and satisfaction with your final piece!

Create the Tacking Stitch

The next thing to do is create what’s called a tacking stitch. Don’t worry; it’s easier than it might sound. I’ve seen many people unsure about this step when sewing their appliques. The tacking stitch is a simple way to hold the embroidery fabric in place while you sew on it, and there’s another method you can use too.

First, sew a few machine stitches (about 3-5) using the lightest thread color on your applique fabric. This will make them visible once you start sewing.

Now that your stitches are done press your machine foot onto the base fabric. Then, lift your presser foot again (this will make a little catch piece pop). This step helps secure your fabrics in place for the sewing process. It takes practice to get it right, so don’t get discouraged if it takes a few tries to get it right. You’ll get the hang of it!

Putting the Border Stitch Together

Once your tacking stitch is finished, it’s time to move on to the border stitching. Begin from the edge of your base fabric and sew along the outermost edge of your applique fabric.

Once you’ve done that, make a few small stitches (about 2-4) using a lighter thread. Secure them by adding a few more small stitches with a darker thread.

To tidy up, gently remove the tacking stitch by removing your hoop from the machine. You can use sharp embroidery scissors or even double-curved ones. If the stitching’s edge is too thin, you can use a rotary cutter to make it more even. This will give your work a polished finish.

Finishing Touches 

Now that your stitching is done, it’s time to take off the hoop and give your project a gentle press. You can use an iron to smooth out any wrinkles to make it look even better. But be careful not to use too much heat on the fabric to avoid fading its color.

Clean up your fabric by removing extra backing and trimming jump stitches. This will give your project a neat and polished appearance. Once you’ve pressed your piece nicely, flip it over. Sometimes, there could be glue residue on top of the appliqué fabric. If you spot any, just use a damp cloth to gently remove it.

With these steps, your project will look great and be ready to show off. Taking your time and being gentle will ensure the best results.

How to Applique on a Quilt?

Applique With An Embroidery Machine

I love using applique on quilts because it adds that extra special touch. It’s like magic – turning a plain quilt into something truly stunning. You can get creative with it for accents in patchwork or adorable baby quilts. The possibilities are endless, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

The process of applique on a quilt is pretty simple, similar to regular quilting. You can even design your patterns using resources like my Pattern Shop and Quilt Sampler Patterns.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Choose your pattern and print it onto fabric. Let’s say we’re using a heart for this example.
  • Trace the design onto the fabric using a fabric pen or pencil. To keep the design steady, place paper underneath it. Be gentle while tracing to maintain the shape.
  • Pin your pattern (with paper underneath) onto your quilt top and start stitching.
  • Sew along the outline of the design with a straight stitch on your sewing machine.
  • Carefully trim the excess fabric between the stitching, then move on to the next part.
  • Now, you can get creative. Add details like thread puffs or stitches around your design. It’s like adding your flair!
  • For a neat finish, fold under about 1/4″ of your quilt binding and stitch it onto your quilt. This will give your quilt a polished edge when you sew everything together.

Sometimes, simple is perfect. If you want to add color or texture, you can easily use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine. It’s a matter of setting your stitch length to 0 and width to 2 or 4, depending on your fabric weight. Stitch it up, and you’re done!

Remember, you can always get creative – adding texture with white thread or using decorative stitches for a unique look. Applique might sound fancy, but trust me; it’s quite easy and incredibly rewarding. Have fun experimenting and making your quilts even more beautiful.

Sewing Machine Applique or Embroidery Machine Applique

Embroidery is a fantastic way to elevate the look of your clothes and add that perfect design. While hand embroidery has a charm, using an embroidery machine for applique work takes it to another level. With the ability to create intricate patterns and designs effortlessly, embroidery machines open up endless possibilities for creativity.

The striking advantage of using an embroidery machine for applique is its accuracy and precision. The machine ensures that your stitches are consistent and even, resulting in flawless designs every time. Additionally, with various built-in patterns and fonts, you can easily personalize your garments with monograms or unique designs that reflect your style.

Another noteworthy aspect of the embroidery machine applique is speed. Gone are the days when adding embellishments to your clothes was time-consuming. With an efficient embroidery machine, you can create beautiful appliques within minutes – a boon, especially if you have multiple projects or tight deadlines.

If you want to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your clothes while saving time and achieving impeccable results, investing in an embroidery machine for applique work is undoubtedly a wise decision. From intricate patterns to personalized monograms, this versatile tool allows you to showcase your creativity like never before. So explore the world of embroidery machine applique, and elevate your wardrobe with stunning designs!

FAQ about Applique with an Embroidery Machine

Do I need any special equipment to do applique with an embroidery machine?

No, you do not need special equipment to do applique with an embroidery machine. Applique is a technique where fabric pieces are layered and stitched onto a base fabric to create a design. You will need basic supplies such as fabric, stabilizer, thread, and scissors to do applique with an embroidery machine. 

Even so, some optional tools can make the process easier and more efficient. An applique hoop or frame is one tool that helps hold the fabric in place during stitching. Additionally, having a pair of applique scissors with curved blades can make it easier to trim excess fabric around the stitched design. These tools are not essential but can help achieve clean and precise applique results.

What kinds of designs can I create with applique on an embroidery machine?

With an embroidery machine, you can create various designs using applique. Applique is a technique where fabric pieces are stitched onto a base fabric to create a design. The possibilities are endless regarding applique designs on an embroidery machine.

You can create simple and elegant designs such as monograms or initials by stitching fabric letters onto a base fabric. This is perfect for personalizing items like towels, bags, or clothing. Additionally, you can create fun and whimsical designs by layering different fabric shapes to create animals, flowers, or other objects. These designs add personality and charm to children’s clothing or home decor items.

Another popular design option with applique on an embroidery machine is creating intricate patterns and motifs using various fabrics. It is possible to experiment with different textures and colors in order to achieve stunning results. Whether it’s creating intricate lace-like patterns or bold geometric shapes, applique allows you to add depth and dimension to your embroidery projects.

Overall, the possibilities of designs you can create with applique on an embroidery machine are limited only by your imagination. It’s a versatile technique that allows you to add unique touches to any project, whether simple or complex.

Can stabilizer work well in applique?

Yes, stabilizers can work well in appliqué projects. Appliqué involves attaching fabric pieces onto a base fabric to create a design or pattern. Stabilizers are used to support and prevent fabric stretching or distortion during the appliqué process.

Different stabilizers can be used for appliqué, such as tear-away, cut-away, and fusible stabilizers. Tear-away stabilizers are temporary and can be easily removed after stitching. Cut-away stabilizers provide long-term stability and are not removed from the project. Fusible stabilizers have an adhesive side that is ironed onto the fabric for added stability.

Using a stabilizer in appliqué helps to ensure clean and precise stitching, especially when working with intricate designs or delicate fabrics. It also helps to prevent puckering or wrinkling of the fabric, resulting in a more professional-looking finished product.

Can I combine techniques like quilting or free-motion embroidery with applique on the same project?

You can combine techniques like quilting or free-motion embroidery with applique on the same project. Combining these techniques can create a unique and visually appealing result. For example, you can use applique to add intricate designs or shapes to your quilt top and enhance it further by incorporating free-motion embroidery to add texture and depth. This combination allows you to showcase your creativity and skill in multiple ways.

When combining these techniques, planning your design beforehand and considering how each technique will complement the other is important. You may need to adjust your stitching or quilting patterns to accommodate the added layers of applique. Additionally, experimenting with different fabrics, thread colors, and stitch styles can help you achieve the desired effect. Combining quilting or free-motion embroidery with applique opens up endless possibilities for creating beautiful and personalized projects.


In conclusion, applique with an embroidery machine is a versatile and creative technique that allows you to add stunning designs and textures to your projects. As a result of reading this article, you will be able to confidently create beautiful applique pieces using your embroidery machine. 

Remember to choose the right materials, prepare your fabric properly, and practice with different stitches and techniques to achieve the desired results. With time and practice, you will become more skilled at appliqueing with an embroidery machine and be able to create unique and personalized designs. Is there any reason to wait? Start experimenting with applique today and take your embroidery projects to the next level!

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