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A Variety Of Appliqué Stitches On The Quilt Expression 4.2

A Variety Of Appliqué Stitches On The Quilt Expression 4.2

by Jennifer Houlden

Today is the final test drive for the Quilt Expression 4.2 to get familiar with the machine before I set out making an actual project. Yesterday during the second test drive we took a look at the different modes of quilting this machine has to offer. There is a variety of appliqué stitches on the Quilt Expression 4.2 which is great because I do a lot of appliqué in my work and am always looking for interesting stitches to outline the pieces with. Of course, I do have my favorites as well and I’ll be checking them out below.

So far the week has been a lot of fun and I’ve had a lot of fun learning a new machine. It’s funny how we get so used to our own machines and a certain brand that we don’t even want to look at anything else. It’s always good to keep an open mind about new products and machines.

Let’s get ready for the final lap around the test driving track.

Machine Appliqué

Most of my appliqué is done with fusible web as I find it the easiest and fastest way to create my appliqué pieces.

Once fused to the fabric these pieces then need to be stitched in place. There are a number of different stitches that I use for outlining the appliqué pieces.

The test drive today is to check out my favorite stitches and see how they look.

Blanket Stitch

Wow, there are several different blanket stitches on the Quilt Expression 4.2 to choose from. I decided on stitch #90 as it looks close to what I’m used to using. I prefer the stitch to be a single stitch in the length and width. If I had wanted the stitch to stand out more then I would have chosen #59 which appears to be a double stitch.

Let’s see what each of these look like.

Stitch #90

Stitch #90

Well, I thought the #90 stitch looked like a single blanket stitch on the stitch guide panel and it turns out to be a triple stitch blanket stitch. This means that the machine puts 3 stitches in each vertical and horizontal sections. This makes the stitch very thick and it stands out very well on the fabric.

On to the next one.

Stitch #59

Stitch #59

When looking at the stitch map on the machine I was pretty sure that #59 was going to be a double blanket stitch where there are 2 stitches in each horizontal and vertical section and it was. I occasionally use this stitch when I want the stitching to stand out a little more.


Stitch #60

Stitch #60

Stitch #60 is the regular blanket stitch that I use most often when doing appliqué. This stitch is a single stitch in both the horizontal and vertical sections. It also uses the least amount of thread.

And then I found this cool one.

A cool blanket stitch

A cool blanket stitch

I really like this stitch and how the vertical bites gradate down in size. It would be good on the side of a very long piece or as a decorative stitch in quilting or thread play.

There are so many options with all of these stitches for size in length and width. They can all be mirrored as well.

Satin Stitch

The satin stitch is a great stitch to outline an appliqué shape with if you really want a dense outline of stitching. The draw back to satin stitch is that it does use a lot of thread.

A satin stitch is created by using a zigzag stitch and decreasing the length of the stitch to 0.5 and putting the width at the desired size to cover of the edge. This can be a wide line or a skinny line of stitching.

On the Quilt Expression 4.2 the satin stitch is stitch #7.

Satin stitch

Satin stitch

Varied Width Zigzag

I really like the look of this stitch and it’s a great alternative to the free motion zigzag stitch that I’ll be showing next. This stitch creates a very jagged looking stitch because of all the varied widths of the stitching throughout the line of stitching.

Varied width zigzag

Varied width zigzag

Free Motion Zigzag

The free motion zigzag stitch is one I use a lot on my art quilts especially my Bargello flowers. This stitch is done with the sensormatic free motion foot on as I outlined how to use in my post yesterday, Quilting With The Quilt Expression 4.2. Make sure to change the stitch to zigzag and put the feed dogs down.

Okay lets see how it does.

Free motion zigzag stitch

Free motion zigzag stitch

I like how the free motion zigzag looks – a bit like total chaos. This stitch gives a lot of texture and I use it quite frequently in my quilting.


It’s always recommended to use a stabilizer behind your fabric. The stabilizer gives the thread a little extra something to grab onto and make nice even stitches with good tension. Oh boy there’s that tension word again. Yes, you might have to play with the tension if you’re not getting the results you like with the auto tension set by the machine.

Everyone has their own personal choice of stabilizer and there are many on the market. I have my favorites and also certain wants for different jobs depending on what I’m making and creating with. Stabilizers can be fusible leave in products, tear away products or even wash away.

Here’s a sample of the stitching done with a stabilizer behind the fabric and without. The top stitching line has no stabilizer and the stitch just isn’t quite as even and uniform as the bottom stitching line which has stabilizer.

It really does pay to have stabilizer behind the fabric as it not only keeps the stitches looking nice but it keeps the fabric from bunching up and looking wrinkled.

Stabilizer on bottom and none on top

Stabilizer on bottom and none on top

Thanks for joining me this week here at QUILTsocial to play in the studio and test drive the Quilt Expression 4.2. It has been a great week getting to know this wonderful machine that has so many great features, stitches and options. For a complete list of its features and details check out the Pfaff website.

I’ve been very impressed with how the machine performs and the quality of the stitching. This machine has all of my must haves in a machine that make sewing and quilting much more pleasurable for me. What can I say – it’s a great machine to quilt with in the studio once a week or everyday. It will not disappoint.

I’m looking forward to playing some more with the machine and creating a small project in July using many of the features and stitches I highlighted this week as well as some that I haven’t.

I’ll have instructions along with some tips and tricks to make the whole creative process go smoothly.

I sure hope you’ll join me the week of July 21-27 to have some fun, be creative and end up with a fabulous little quilt.

Until then, Happy Quilting


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