4 tips for machine applique success every time!

Yesterday I tested the ¼” quilting foot that is provided with THE Dream Machine 2. An accurate ¼” seam is the foundation to accurate piecing a quilting project. Machine applique is one of my favorite techniques, and playing with THE Dream Machine 2 I found many, but here’s a basic stitch I can use to add pizzazz to my projects.

Ready, Set, Applique!

When stitching around my applique pieces, I have a penchant for the button hole or blanket stitch. I like to use a stitch that isn’t too wide and not too long. I’ll often adjust the width and length of the stitch based on the size of my applique piece. If my applique piece is an average size then I’ll use a larger stitch. When I have a smaller applique piece, I like to use a stitch that is a tad smaller. Adapting the size of the stitches to your applique piece makes your stitching more elegant.

Blanket or button hole stitch I started on a smaller project

Another problem that many sewers have with machine applique is keeping the stitches aligned with the raw edges of the applique pieces. Sewers often have an issue with this, but it’s easily solved by adjusting the speed of the machine.

Lower the speed on the sewing machine and take your time going around the curves and smaller pieces to keep the stitches and the raw edges of your applique pieces aligned.

On THE Dream Machine 2, the button hole stitch is part of the Utility Stitch feature on the display screen. For the sake of this example, I chose stitch 2-03.

As I mentioned earlier this week, the machine will highlight which foot you’ll need for the chosen stitch, it’s so helpful, it’s almost like I don’t need to think anymore, and just enjoy the creativity. As in the photo below, you can see that I need to install the J Foot for Utility Stitch 2-03.

AND on the left-hand side of the display screen, I’m shown what the stitch is going to look like on my project in a continuous stitch. There’s that little photographer taking a picture of my work even before I stitch it! Isn’t that mind-boggling?

I find this feature on THE Dream Machine 2, very useful to visualize my piece ahead of time.

The screen display give you a preview of what the stitch will look like once stitched on your project.

Once I’ve chosen the stitch, I’ll see at the bottom of the screen that I can adjust the width and length of the stitch. This is where I can adjust the numbers based on the size of my applique pieces. The piece that I’m practicing on is actually a smaller panel and so I want to have a stitch that is smaller. I’m going to adjust the stitch to a width of 2.5 and a length of 2.2.

Choosing the width and length of my stitch

Once these couple of steps are in place, I just have to enjoy the machine applique process.

TIPS for easy and fun applique

1. Begin each applique piece with the needle in the down position in the edge of your applique.

2. Slow and easy wins the race. Take your time working your way around the piece.

3. Adjust the size of your stitch to fit the size of your applique pieces.

4. Pull to the back of your projects any long thread ends for a clean finish.


Just remember to have fun.

Although we want every piece to look its best, I’m a firm believer that perfection is overrated. There’s no quilting police. But, I do believe that as quilters we want to make pieces that we can be proud of, THE Dream Machine 2 can certainly help in doing just that.

The 4 features I played with this week are but the tip of the iceberg of what this sewing machine can do. Join me next month as I’ll share with you more features for THE Dream Machine 2 and more quilting fun.

THE Dream Machine 2

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: How to test the ¼” quilting foot for accuracy on any sewing machine!

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Betty August 10, 2019 - 1:01 pm
Is it necessary to turn under the edges on applique when doing machine applique? I'm cutting out trucks from the fabric and appliquing them onto a block. My first attempt at applique. Thank you for your help.
Judy Brown February 16, 2019 - 4:46 am
You guys really inspire me to try new things on my DM2. Thanks for the expertise.
Rachell R March 28, 2018 - 9:44 pm
Great tips! Very easy to remember! Can I add to it? In my small experience with machine-stitched appliqué, I like to have my machine on the needle-down function, so that anytime I stop sewing, the needle lands in the down position, in the fabric. That helps for stitches not slipping. Also, if you're working on curves, and you need to rotate your fabric, the needle down position is great. Stop sewing with your needle down, and also where the needle is right on the edge of the appliqué piece (in the ditch). That way, when you lift your presser foot to rotate your fabric, your needle stays were you want the stitches to be and it's a pivot point. Then put the presser foot down and continue stitching. This also works well for outside corners.
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