Home Quilting 101Quilting TechniquesApplique Is Machine Applique Hard to Do?

Is Machine Applique Hard to Do?

(Pssst. The Answer is No!)

by Beth Cooper
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What is Machine Applique? Is it hard to do? Is it easy? The answer to that one is yes! It’s very easy and you can do it!

The quilt pictured above features an appliqued cat. It appears to be a difficult quilt but is actually very easy! In fact, a 12 year old girl made it. (Pattern is Meow or Never by Moda. Quilter, Maleah Cooper)

Machine applique is great for beginners and not-really-beginners.  It is easier than it sounds and opens up a new world of possibilities in the quilting world.  Applique is the process of attaching fabric (usually in the shape of something cute) to the top of your quilt block or quilt top.  There are several different methods for attaching the applique but let’s focus on machine applique.

Raw-edge machine applique is the process of using a fusible interfacing, such as Wonder Under or Heat n’ Bond, along with your fabric.  The instructions for using these products are right there on the packaging. It tells you exactly how to iron it on to your fabric. It works like double-sided tape. After fusing the interfacing to your fabric, you are then able to cut your fabric into the desired shape.  This is easily accomplished by drawing or tracing the design directly onto the paper side of the interfacing. 

Once your design is cut out, you can then iron it directly onto your block or quilt top.  After successfully pressing it onto the fabric, you can then sew around the edges of the shape to secure it.  Not all quilters use the same stitch to accomplish this.  There are several stitches to choose from: satin stitch, blanket stitch, zig-zag stitch, or even a simple straight stitch. 

Because this applique is raw-edge, meaning that you are not folding or tucking under the cut edge, a stitch that goes back and forth over edge will secure it better than a straight stitch that just runs alongside the cut edge.  If you are not planning on washing the project often, a straight stitch will probably be fine. 

By using a shorter stitch-length, you will navigate curved pieces with ease, as well as smaller and oddly-shaped pieces. By using an open-toe, clear, or applique foot on your sewing machine, you will be able to see exactly where you are stitching.  This will simplify the process and improve your results. 

What do you think?  Are you ready to jump into applique and start stitching?

How to Applique by Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company

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