This original blog post was featured on Bernina's We All Sew Blog. I hope it makes machine applique easy and quick and makes you want to do more!
Hello, I’m Jill From Jillily Studio. I love to applique! And I love my BERNINA machines! When I choose to applique by machine, my BERNINA makes it a breeze. Here’s how I do it:
1. I prepared all of my applique pieces by turning the seam allowance - and the raw edges - to the wrong side of the shape. (To see how I prep pieces, you can visit www.jillilystudio.com)
2. Put a dot of Appli-Glue every ½” to 1” to hold your appliqué down while you sew. This is important so that your pieces don’t shift as you are moving them under your needle.
2b. Notice how flags of extra fabric stick out at the points of the applique pieces? When I am hand stitching, I tuck those under as I stitch, but to machine stitch, those need to be tucked under before going to your machine.
3. Use a tailor’s awl to turn the flags under.
4. Place a dot of Appli-Glue under the corner to keep the flag in place.
5. Now the flower petals are all turned under and it’s ready to be sewn.
6. I'm using clear, monofilament thread on top. Since this thread is straight wound on the spool, I have it sitting on my upright spool pin. NOTE: If the thread spool was cross-wound, I would want it to be on my horizontal spool pin.
7. I'm using Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread in my bobbin.
8. I use the 20C Bernina foot—because it is open enough for me to see where the needle is going. Any open toed foot will work.
9. I choose the zig-zag stitch on my machine.
10. Change width to .7 and length to 1.10.
11. I click in the top right corner to change my machine's tension because I'm using two different kinds of thread, and nylon thread tends to stretch a lot.
12. Change the tension to 2.25. This varies from machine to machine. On my older model Bernina, I would change the tension to almost 0.
13. Position your block so the needle zigs into the appliqué piece, then zags into the background right next to the edge of the applique shape.
14. When I get to the corner, I make sure to keep my needle down (I use the ‘needle-down’ setting) in the corner of the applique shape and turn the block to go down the other side. I have set my machine to “hover”, so that I do not have to lift my presser foot every time I want to turn or adjust a little. This feature is great! I just sew along, and when I pause, my presser foot lifts a tiny bit, (hovers) –just enough to take the pressure off the material under the foot so that I can move it. Then I just start sewing again—I don’t have to lower the presser foot.
15. Repeat around all of the individual appliqué pieces.
16. The finished product—doesn’t it look great?
17. When it’s all stitched down, you can really only see the stitching from the back. This is a quick way to get look of hand-stitched applique with no raw edges in a fraction of the time!