Tips for Better Applique

My tippy top tricks for making fusible applique fun – TRICK #1

logo-squareApplique (fusible, that is) should not be hard or hated.  Definitely not hated.  And if you’re going to use an “F” word to describe it, let it be only 3 letters, F. U. N.   Having designed over 200 applique patterns, and machine appliqued nearly all of them, I am pretty stinkin’ good at it.  Practice does make perfect better (let’s not use the word perfect for now) and I would love to share with you one of the tricks I’ve developed/discovered


Trick #1 – Don’t start, stop, start, stop, start, stop.

When you have a shape that has other pieces that overlap it here and there, you don’t have to stop and tie off when you come to the overlapping piece.  Let me explain using my little bird on a branch below.  Here’s how I appliqued around the entire branch without stopping and moving my needle to the next point, leaving threads to clip and tie off.

Little Birdie is featured in 2 patterns: MM905 Little Birdie table runner & MM9T2 Tah-Dah Towels for Spring
Little Birdie is featured in 2 patterns: MM905 Little Birdie table runner & MM9T2 Tah-Dah Towels for Spring
  1. I started at the “start here” spot.  Using a blanket stitch, I stitched up to the pink flower (left) and stop
  2. Put my needle in the up position
  3. I switch my machine to a straight stitch (noting your blanket stitch settings so you won’t forget)
  4. Then, manually place my needle just to the left of the pink flower and straight stitched along (but not on) the pink flower until I reach where I begin blanket stitching the branch again, and stop
  5. Put my needle in the up position
  6. Switch my machine back to the blanket stitch (use same settings as before)

Continue blanket stitching on the branch. Then I came to the bird body which overlaps the branch just a bit.  Again, I follow these steps and continued this process all the way around the entire branch until I got back to the starting point.  My very rudamentary yellow drawings here, show my path.  Sorry about the chicken-scratch look, but you get the jist.

I love this trick because

  •  save time by not having to go back and clip all those pesky threads.
  • I don’t have several threads to clip, just 2 at the start/stop point (and 2 on the back side)
  • I don’t waste lots of thread that would be those long strands of loose threads if I were to stop, tie off (or backstitch), move my needle/project to the next spot, and begin stitching again.

It just looks sharper and cleaner.

??’s – One big question that will eventually pop into your brain is: “But won’t my stitches show around the flowers, especially if I’ve stitched over that same path 2 or more times?”
No.  As long as you stitch over the same path, they will not show up when you’re all finished.  In this particular case, the branch is the first thing I blanket stitched, so the blanket stitching around the flowers, leaves and bird covered it up.  But use common sense: if you stitch black thread on white fabric, then yeah the stitching will show up.  I use this trick ALL the time and I’ve NEVER once regretted it.  And, I’ve shown this trick to many guilds and then asked folks if they can see where I “did my trick”.  Nope.  No one can see it.  Tah Dah!  Success.

So, that’s one of my applique tricks.

Please share with me one of your “F”s about applique – be it “fun” or not-so.  I want to know what makes applique fun or frustrating for you.  Leave a comment below for a chance to win a “Little Birdie” pattern (table runner or towel).  We’ll draw a winner on Wednesday Feb 17th from all the “F” comments.  Ha Ha.

4 thoughts on “My tippy top tricks for making fusible applique fun – TRICK #1

    1. Hi Pat – I can’t help but reply to your comment, because I feel the “f” in your voice and it’s not for fun. I’d love to help you if you would be willing to share with me what your “f”rustrations with fusible web are. Tell me what troubles you experience and what type/brand you are trying/using.


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