Machine applique isn’t an EXACT science. If you’ve been doing it for more than say one minute, you know this already. From stitching sleeve to the back of tees to those ever annoying “check upper and bobbin thread” type errors… it’s never dull!
However, there are some quick tips to make your experience a little more enjoyable and easy. Yes, most of us do this as a business, but there’s no harm in loving what you do!
Here is our Top 10 list for Applique:
- Heat N Bond Lite – I cannot stress the importance of this handy dandy item enough. Not only does it make the applique experience easier, it also increases the life span of the applique itself by securing the fabric to the garment. It also makes the fabric easier to trim with little to no fraying. **Make sure you get the LITE. The other could gum up your machine. ** You can find it on amazon or at your local Walmart and JoAnn stores.
- Quality Blanks – I almost made this one number one, but that’s how obsessed I am with HNBL. Quality blanks are designed to improve your embroidery success. Many blanks sites now have baby blanks that snap all the way down the back so you won’t have to stretch them over your hooping system. This allows for larger appliques and fewer “oopsies”. I HATED stitching baby items before I found these. Some of our favorite blank sites include but are not limited to: Blanks Boutique, ARB Blanks, Giggle Box Blanks, Monkey Tail Blanks, Blossom Blanks, Bright Blanks, Sassy Kid Blanks, and EllieO Blanks.
- Medium Cutaway Stabilizer – I do use tear away as well, but I use medium cutaway for 90% of my projects. I get the Exquisite 20″ Wide Roll from The Embroidery Store online. A good friend told me the 20″ wide rolls allow for more than one hooping for the 9×9 durkee hoop if you leave the piece in tact. Then once you cut, enough was left to hoop again. LESS WASTE!
- Magna Glide pre-wound bobbins – I also get these from The Embroidery Store. They are an old favorite… so a must have. I prefer them to the cardboard bobbins.
- Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer – I use this mainly when I am stitching on towels, stockings, or any thick or textured material. It prevents the embroidery from “sinking” and allows a much cleaner stitch. You can also get this on Amazon or a number of other online retailers.
- Double Curved Applique Scissors – Now, many people love their expensive Gingher scissors and I can’t debate that because I haven’t tried them. I have used this inexpensive double curved scissors from the beginning. I got mine from The Embroidery Store on sale.
- 505 Spray – This is my favorite sticky spray so far. It holds what I need to be held and doesn’t leave a residue. Be sure to read the warnings. It may not be safe for more delicate fabrics. You can get it at your local JoAnn store or online at All Brands.
- Cotton Quilting Fabrics – I have never prewashed any of my fabrics, but I will only use quality cotton fabrics. I have not had any problems with shrinking, fading, or bleeding. My go to favorites are Michael Miller Ta Dot, Michael Miller Dumb Dot, Riley Blake HoneyComb Dot, Riley Blake Chevron, and Fabric Finder 1/16″ gingham. You can get most of these at Fabric.com, Whimsical Fabrics, or All Stitched Up By Angela. There are also a number of Etsy shops that run fabric specials so check them out and tell us your favorites!
- Polyester Embroidery Thread – My favorite is Madeira Polyneon. I get mine at AllStitch online. I highly suggest getting a thread chart. It really helps in getting the best colors that you need.
- Glitter Vinyl HTV – I prefer this to glitter fabrics or the glitter sheets from Hobby Lobby. They adhere to the material and aren’t nearly as stiff as the HL sheets. I bought mine at Sew Down South but I am pretty sure you can also get it at Fabric.com.
And there you have it! Of course, this is not a comprehensive list. There are other items that I love and probably couldn’t do without! I have plans for other Top 10 lists in addition to this one… but, if you have an idea, I would love to hear it!