All Articles
All Patterns
All Quilts
Free Quilt Patterns
Quilting Tips
Block of the Month
On the Road
In the Studio
In the News
Quilt Exhibits
Fun Extras
Machine Satin Stitch Applique posted: 4/20/2003
by Dori Hawks Printable Page
Category: Applique Method: All
<-- Go to Article Listing

This method produces a fine zig-zag on the raw edges of your appliqué.

Set your machine on zig-zag.

Shorten the stitch width so it just covers the edge of the fabric piece, but goes over into the fabric background about 1/16th of an inch. My machine has numbers 1-5 and I set mine at just a little under 2.

Shorten the stitch length to something a little longer than the normal satin stitch setting. My machine has numbers 1-5 and I set it on ½.

Needle Down: If your machine has the option of needle down, set this option. In other words, every time your machine stops the needle stops down in the fabric. It helps hold the piece you are sewing on in position, while you move your hands or slightly move the block as you are turning the corner or going around a curve. If your machine does not have this option, then always hand wheel the needle to go into the fabric when you stop.

Use a foot that has an open section in the front, or is a see-thru plastic, so you can see your stitching. This is not always an option with some brands, but if your machine has that option, it is a little easier to see where you are going and what your stitch is doing if you can see the space right in front of your foot. Your line is straighter, and you have less opportunity to miss the fabric edge and then not have good stitch coverage.

Start in a corner rather than the middle of a row. The starting and ending will have smoother transition. This is not possible with a circle. You have to start and end somewhere in the circle. Begin with a very short straight stitch to anchor the stitches. Then start to zig-zag. Don't go real fast, but then don't go real slow. It is hard to keep an even stitch and line going too fast or too slow. You somehow have to find a happy medium.

Try to make your corners and curves smooth. Being able to see in front of the foot helps. When you get to the end, zig-zag right up to the starting zig-zag stitches, then change to a very short straight stitch length and stitch just a few stitches. Cut your threads even with the fabric and press. I like to press with a little bit of steam and from the wrong side of the fabric on a soft ironing board. It keeps from mashing (mash is a technical term!) the appliqué.

Now, place the next piece on your block and do the same thing, continuing for all of your pieces. Do a final press of your block, then square it up and trim the block to the size specified for your pattern. If you have cut your backing piece just slightly larger, you will be able to do this. When you hand or machine appliqué, the stitching draws up the background piece and makes it a little smaller. That is the reason it is a good idea to cut the background piece slightly larger and then trim it to size.

One other note: If you machine stitch on a section of a piece that will be covered by another piece, don't satin stitch in the part that will be hidden by the top pieces. You may be able to see the stitching or the ridge it makes underneath the top piece, especially after ironing.

©2003 Dori Hawks

<-- Go to Article Listing
Similar Articles
Category: Applique
Hawaiian Quilt Show 2005
Quilt Hawaii 2004
Using Tulle or Similar Fabrics to Back Appliqué

Author: Dori Hawks
"A Few of My Favorite Antique Quilts" Book Review
Quilters of South Carolina Exhibit 2004
"A Few of My Favorite Miniature Quilts" Book Review
Method: All
"A Few of My Favorite Antique Quilts" Book Review
"Days of the Week" Fabric Designs
You Can Make a Reproduction Family Tree Quilt!

 Contact Us