I love hand applique, especially if I can do it by machine. I am a thru and thru machine girl. I want my machine to help me if at all possible. With a few setting and tension changes, the right needle and Invisafil thread, I can get the look of hand applique while accomplishing it on my machine. Use Invisafil thread in the top and in the bobbin. Set your top tension down a number. My machine’s normal setting is “4” so I lower it to 3. The thread is so fine and you don’t want the bobbin pulling to the top.
You need to prepare the applique as if it was going to be done by hand. All the raw edges will need to be turned under using whatever method suits you. Once that is done, either pin it to the fabric or use a glue stick to hold it in place. Keep the glue on the back in the middle of the applique. You don’t want to stitch thru it. You will experience skipped stitches and a gummy needle if you do. I always spray starch my background fabric to give me more support for my stitching.
First select the correct stitch. Since I can’t give everyone a number to find on their machine, I’ll give you a picture. You will find it in your Utility Stitches. There is nothing fancy about this one. It takes about two stitches straight and then swings to the left. The trick is to have it swing to the left just enough to catch the fold of your fabric. You will adjust the width of the stitch to be sure it catches just a bit of the fold. The machine will always take two stitches, but you can determine how long those stitches will be. Use a bit longer length if your applique has large straight areas. Use a smaller stitch length if your applique is small or has lots of curves.
Second, select the correct sewing foot and needle. I suggest you use a 70 Microtex needle so that you don’t poke a big hole in your work. You don’t need a large needle to take the Invisafil thread through the fabric. The foot I suggest is an open-toe foot. This way you will be able to see that your straight stitching will fall just to the right of the fold and the swing to the left will just catch the fold of the fabric. This is where you will want to do a practice and take a few stitches and try a smaller swing to see if it catches. Remember, you want just enough to catch the fold of the fabric.
In the picture on the left, I have pulled back the fold so you can see what the stitching looks like. You can see that the thread is running along the edge of my fabric and the needle swings out to the left to just catch the fold.
In the picture on the left, I have pushed the fold back over the stitches. That’s all it takes to hide them. I get the look of hand applique, but I was able to accomplish it with my sewing machine and Invisafil Thread.
We have a great selection of colors on our website. All you have to do is pick a color that is “in the ballpark” as the thread is so thin with a matte finish. It will just blend in.
Schmetz Needles Microtex$5.99
Don’t forget to get a 70 Microtex needle.
To purchase a package of 70 Microtex needles here, click the “Select Options” button below the Microtex image, then on the Microtex needles page, use the “Choose an option” pull-down to select 70 Microtex.
Hope you will learn how your machine can help you accomplish the look of hand applique.