Yesterday our banner found its voice as we added a sentiment using computer fonts or stencils and fusible web applique.
Today we add detail and dimension by stitching the applique pieces with rayon thread and decorative applique stitches.
Preparing the machine for decorative stitching
Put a new SCHMETZ 75/11 embroidery needle on the sewing machine.
Insert a bobbin wound with Gütermann Dekor bobbin thread.
Thread the machine with Gütermann Dekor rayon thread in a color to accent the applique fabric.
I stitched my leaves and stems first so I started with a nice leaf green thread. Attach an applique foot, also known as a decorative stitching foot. These are available in a variety of styles including metal, clear plastic and open toe.
What makes these feet special is the channel at the bottom of the foot that allows the extra height of the decorative stitch to feed through the machine.
Preparing the banner fabric for stitching
I used UNIQUE Tear Away stabilizer to add body and stability to the banner while stitching the appliques in place.
The stabilizer will support the stitches and prevent the fabric from stretching or puckering.
Though it looks like paper UNIQUE Tear Away is made from 75% rayon and 25% polyester.
It’s safe for the machine and removes easily without damaging the stitching.
Pin or spray baste the full sheet of Tear Away to the wrong side of the banner in preparation for stitching.
Selecting an applique stitch
There are a wide variety of stitches that are appropriate for use with machine applique.
Computerized sewing machines have the most choices of decorative stitches, though even a simple zigzag stitch can be used with great success.
An open zigzag is a nice way to finish the edges of the applique pieces. Experiment with a few different stitch settings to find the one you like best.
A satin stitch is one of the most traditional stitches for machine applique.
This stitch is created by shortening the length of a zigzag stitch to .4 or .5 on a computerized machine or within the buttonhole range on a mechanical machine.
Most computerized sewing machines will have a built in satin stitch in several pattern and width variations.
My other favorite machine applique stitch is a blanket stitch.
Computerized sewing machines will do a true adjustable blanket stitch.
Stitching the applique
The positioning of the stitches is most important when using decorative stitches to secure the applique pieces to the background fabric.
The needle should just miss the outside edge of the fabric while stitching. This way the edge of the applique will be protected so that it doesn’t fray.
The body of the stitch will be on top of the applique pieces giving them a finished dimensional appearance. Gütermann rayon thread has a soft sheen for added detail.
I used a blanket stitch to stitch the stem and leaves in place.
If pieces overlap one another stitch the bottom piece first whenever possible.
The flower center was stitched with a long and short satin stitch variation while the flower petals were stitched with a blanket stitch variation.
I stitched the lettering with an open zigzag.
This stitch will be almost invisible when using matching thread. Use a contrasting thread to accent your applique.
Have fun stitching your applique and experimenting with all of the decorative stitches on your sewing machine.
Our fabulous welcome spring banner is almost complete. Join me tomorrow as we add the finishing touches. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: Enlarge, print, cut, fuse: successfully appliqueing letters to a quilt
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