Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Machine Applique with an Embroidery Machine

Sweet Readers,
I am so excited about this post! If you have an embroidery machine and you are wondering about how to machine applique, let me tell you this is EASY! Way easier than I originally thought! I was frustrated trying to teach myself, because I could not come up with any clear cut tutorials anywhere on this subject, so here I go with trying to teach YOU!

For this tutorial, you will need these basics:
  • a sewing/embroidery machine
  • embroidery lettering software (I have Pacesetter Embroidery Letter Software)
  • an applique pattern 
  • your fabric, stabilizer, thread, scissors, and the other stuff you need while sewing
I am making this 18 month size t-shirt with a birthday dog pattern that I ordered from for $4.  This is Cai's first birthday shirt that he will wear for his party!
Ready, set, go! Place your stabilizer on your hoop.
Put your shirt or whatever item you are embroidering on onto your hoop and you can use the little measuring thing to make sure it is straight. Your stabilizer is underneath your shirt.

(The above picture is blue, the below picture is white...I had an utter failure the first time around...always practice first!)

So here is my {white/2nd} shirt laid out.
And now on my hoop positioned how I want it with stabilizer underneath.

Load your applique pattern onto your machine. Depending on your pattern, you will have varying steps to follow. Mine had 9 steps. The VERY FIRST STITCH the machine will do when embroidering an applique is just a basic outline of your pattern. Then it will stop.

Here it is in the middle of the FIRST basic stitch. It doesn't really matter what color thread you use here, because it won't be seen, but I just use the same color I am going to use anyways. Make sure you change your threads when your machine says to change them.

Lay your fabric that you want to be the applique on top of your t-shirt. I used a jersey knit fabric for this part, but you can use cotton knit, too.

Press your machine button to go again and it will stitch another outline of your pattern. Then it will stop.

Below is the finished outline stitch of my birthday dog body.

Take your hoop off of the embroidery carriage, but DO NOT TAKE THE FABRIC OFF THE HOOP! Trim off the excess fabric. Get it as close to the outline thread as possible without cutting into it. About 1/8th of an inch. *Sharp {little} scissors here are really nice!*

It should look like this.

Place your hoop back on the embroidery carriage.
Now depending on how advanced or how many steps your pattern has, you may or may not have a secondary applique. Some applique patterns have lots of different fabric areas on them. Mine has not only the birthday dog body, but also a birthday hat, so below is a 2nd applique on the same applique pattern. It repeats the above process, but I am using another coordinating fabric for the birthday hat.

The machine will do an outline step of the next section of your pattern. In this case, my hat. Then it will stop.
Place your next fabric down over your guide outline stitch. And press the button to make your machine sew.

Take the hoop off the embroidery carriage, but NOT the fabric off the hoop, and trim off excess fabric as close as you can to the thread line.

Put your hoop back on the carriage and start the machine again. It will begin sewing the outline of your appliques. Change thread color where prompted.

It will sew your outline thread wider to cover up the fabric edges. Below is a photo of my practice birthday dog & hat pattern. See how it will sew the thick outline... AND how fun it can be to use fun patterned fabric!

Below the finished {practice} dog!

Here is the finished shirt again in my little collage:
When I first loaded this into my Pacesetter, I added the word "One" to the pattern and saved it altogether as one pattern, so after my machine finished the applique pattern, it went over and did the word One. I chose Whistle as my font. It's a standard Pacesetter font.

I think it turned out SO cute and I am going to go ahead and tell you that I'm hooked on doing appliques now with my machine!
Learning appliques makes you able to accomplish that boutique look for WAY less! Here's some other cute applique patterns you could try!

All of the above photos courtesy of

Yeah, I'm pretty much in love with my embroidery machine all over again! How about you!?