Saturday, April 27, 2013

Machine Applique and Free Motion Embroidery Tutorial Part 1 of 2

I learned how to do machine applique through reading and viewing a tutorial by my mentor, Helen (of Bustle & Sew), on YouTube.

I found a pillow cover with 'Tea cups' design and, of course, because it was just an image I found on the Internet it didn't have a pattern. So I decided to make a print out and traced the outlines to make a pattern. Here's the image:

Important: If you know who has the copyright to this pillow cover design please let me know so I can give due credit.

You will need:

-scrap fabrics of your choice

-sewing machine 

- a darning foot (if your machine doesn't come with it, hand embroidery is perfect!)

-fusible web with paper backing (which I highly recommend, but in this tutorial I used what I have available)

-a fine point black Sharpie 

-black sewing thread

Let's begin!

Step 1:
Have your template ready.
Usually when you find a design you like it doesn't come with a FREE downloadable pattern so you may need to create your own template like this one I just created.
Excuse the smeary mess created by my marker. I should have used a Sharpie brand :)
Use "mirror image" of your template/pattern, in this case it is not recommended. But if you have OCD you will know if it's the wrong way :)

 Step 2:
 IMPORTANT: Make sure the adhesive side of the fusible web is facing down. See how you can see the template pattern through the fusible web? This one has no paper backing so I traced exactly on the fusible material.
Use your fusible material wisely! I try to save the fusible material by placing it towards the corner/edge.

  Step 3:
 Begin tracing. Trace along the outline of the book first.
TIP: You should determine which parts of your pattern need to be traced first. It is normally the background images that are traced first. In this case the book since it is where the saucer and the tea cups are going to be placed.
Again, I should have used Sharpie but I didn't have a fine point.

 Step 4:
 I traced the saucer next.

Trace the first cup on the bottom.

Trace the middle tea cup.

Step 5:
Finish tracing the very top tea cup. NOTE: See how I have traced each image by each other at the same time making allowance for cutting.

 Step 6:
Time to cut the pieces

Step 7:
 I make two slits for easy peeling of backing.

Step 8:
Pieces already cut. If you notice I saved cutting the ear of each cup. I will be cutting them after fusing the fabric.

Step 9:
 Now the fun part, grab your fabric swatches you think will best suit your theme in mind. I have "floral" in mind ♥

Step 10:
 Always fuse on the WRONG side of the fabric. Even though I use fabric swatches I make sure I use them wisely. Could you tell I hold onto them dearly?

Step 11:

Grab a large piece of your scrap fabric to use on top of the fusible web material you will be pressing (NOT ironing--do not glide your iron). Make sure you protect your iron and ironing board from getting the adhesive on with a fabric you don't hold dear.
Press the area where the fabrics to be fused for about 10 to 12 seconds. I use steam for this type of fusible web. Some don't. So make sure you read the manufacturer's instructions before use.

After ironing, peel the fabric slowly.

I get excited when I get to see them fused onto the fabric :)

If you notice how I placed the cut outs and the fabric close together, by this time you already know why? :)

Voila! Fabric's fused.

Step 12:
Time to cut again. This time cut the inside ears. I have yet to cut #3 :)

Viewing the right side of the fused fabric, stack the book and tea cups the way it should be. Work your way from bottom to top.

Step 13:
Get a plain fabric (or any contrasting background if your tea cups are plain) to permanently place your cut pieces together. This will be the same fabric where you will machine, or hand, embroider.
If you are doing your applique directly on a pillow cover, center your design on a pre-cut fabric you'll be sewing. I am using mine as a quilt block.

Coming soon! I will be doing machine applique on the fabric cut outs.
More photos to upload! See you next posting :)


  1. Your work is gorgeous! And we want to thank you for buying your custom fabric logo labels from us <3

    1. Thank you! I really like the labels :)

  2. Hello! I love your patterns, I did a test run of this Rarity (to put on a fleece hat) but I ran into some trouble. It seemed as if the pattern shifted (the body outline) and the mane/tail had issues. I think it was something that was wrong with my fabric/stabilizer. Do you have any tips for embroidering on fleece?

    1. Hi Emma, I have not used fleece for machine embroidery, but I do use Pellon® 805 Wonder-Under which has paper backing and is porous with any material. Let me know if it works!

      Happy sewing!!

  3. I'm not familiar with the Butterfly brand and a quick google search didn't help me much either. No matter what it really depends on the local service. Check with your local sewing machine repairman and be sure that it's something he is familiar with and something he can get parts for before you make your decision. Best of luck!

    1. Hi Leslie, are you referring to an instruction in my tutorial, please shed some light here, thanks!