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Gallery Guides – April 2010

As most of you know, the last several months I’ve been working on MonogramWorks. And you’ve clearly been paying attention, as it’s been very popular. So we would like to say, “Thank You!” to all of our Designer’s Gallery enthusiasts.

                One of the things I promised with MonogramWorks is some additional fonts. And I’ve been busy digitizing. Although I cannot tell you any details yet, I think a picture might be in order (just for you!):


Recently I went to an event in Colorado, and it was actually something I could drive instead of my usual day-long adventure in the flying cigar tube. It was nice to get some time just driving through southern Colorado, enjoying the scenery, so I’ll send a special hello to my friends at Sprinkles in Pueblo!

Next month I’ll be able to write about some adventures I’m about to embark upon; The Love of Sewing Retreat with Nancy Zieman is coming up in Arkansas and I’ll be teaching there for three days, and I’m headlining a Baby Lock cruise our of Florida, heading to St. Martin and points beyond. I never thought an embroidery software guy would be teaching on a cruise, but there you have it – life is strange!

As I travel, there are some questions that always come up. From questions about stabilizers to hooping, to techniques of all types. This month the editors of the e-news though we might take a turn discussing appliqué techniques. This is a big topic. So let’s start with the steps for a traditional appliqué stitch-out:

1.)                         The design will stitch a ‘Placement’ stitch. This is a running stitch that goes on the base fabric / project and simply shows you where the appliqué material will need to be placed.

2.)                         You need to place the appliqué so that it covers over the placement.

3.)                         The design will sew a similar run to the placement, although the shape may be slightly smaller.

4.)                         You take out your trusty appliqué scissors and cut the appliqué close to the edge of the stitching.

5.)                         You finish up stitching out the design.

There are, of course, different ways to do things. One thing that can be useful is to pre-cut the appliqué. This might be necessary on something fuzzy or hard to cut. So how do you do that? There are a couple options:

1.)    Stitch out the placement stitch on paper or something similar. Then take that paper, lay it over your appliqué fabric, and cut both the paper and the fabric exactly on the stitches which are in the paper.

2.)    Print out a real-size template of the design in a program like Studio. Then cut out the appliqué and the paper, but remember to cut it 1/8” larger than the colored-shape of the appliqué as printed.

Now, with these approaches, the appliqué is already cut to shape, so it is important that the appliqué not slip around as the next step in the stitching goes to anchor it in place. This is where your trusty spray adhesive, or something similar, comes into play. Stick the appliqué down and let the design sew, continuing through the color-stop for the tie-down stitching.

Oh, that reminds me of another thing. Although the ‘colors’ for appliqué will show up as different from the top-stitching color, they are just there to let you and the machine know that the design needs to stop at those points. It is usually suggested not to change the thread; just start off using the thread color that will sew the appliqué down.

Now, for those of you who digitize, let’s talk about the hard part of appliqué: digitizing it. Naturally the complexity of the shape will affect how you do it, and if your software has built-in appliqué types, it can be easy (MasterWorks and QuiltWorks have automatic appliqué objects!) But just in case you need to know, let me describe the steps to creating an appliqué object manually:

1.)    Draw the shape of the appliqué.

2.)    When digitizing, start with the placement stitch. This should be placed so that later sewing will cover it.

3.)    Shrink the shape so that it is 1-2mm smaller than the placement stitch. This can be tricky on shapes that are complex because simply sizing the shape does not mean every edge of the shape is inset the same amount. You probably will have to manually edit this shape so that the inset is uniform. Leave a little extra inset for areas that will be hard for the user to cut.

4.)    Digitize the cover stitching. This may be a simple satin outline, or part of the overall design. This is the benefit of digitizing your appliqué manually; different parts of the design, and even adjacent colors, can be used to cover the edge of the appliqué. When covering the appliqué, you will want to go inside the shape at least  1mm past your anchor stitching, and 2mm+ past the outside of the shape. You make the cover fairly ‘fat’ so that, if a user cuts the appliqué in the hoop, there is some extra coverage for the extra material that they cannot get cut away cleanly.

One of the great things about appliqué designs is that they provide coverage without stitching a heavy fill. It is faster, it is easy, and you can use a contrasting fabric, a specialty fabric, or even a print!

Until next time, Happy Appliqué!



Posted in Brian's Articles and News 10 years, 1 month ago at 10:10 am.

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