How to Applique With Embroidery Machine

How to Applique With Embroidery Machine: Creative Stitches for Shirts and Britches

Are you looking to learn how to applique with embroidery machines? Well, then, you are in luck because this article has everything you need to learn all about it. But, first things first: do you even know what it means?

Applique is a broad term that refers to stitching two pieces of fabric together. Those interested in learning how it is done should know that there are some essentials that must be present in their kits before they can start their practice. From the right fabrics to the right kind of floss and number of strands, everything must be compatible to reach a desirable result.

The Essential Tools

Similar to any kind of hobby—or form of art—learning how to applique with embroidery machine also requires one to use various tools and equipment. Below, you will find a list of these tools and equipment.

  • Embroidery Machine

In order to make an applique, you would need to invest in an embroidering machine. This piece of technology should be able to make fine stitches, such as sating stitching and zig-zag stitches, that are commonly used in modern models.

To make things even easier, newer models can actually use designs that are uploaded in their memory. As a result, the machine will know what stitches to make on its own and in which order—provided, of course, that the user knows how to use these features.

  • Hoop

The hoop is actually considered as the core of embroidery. Next to the machine and its components, it is arguably the most important piece of gear needed for making applique using an embroidery machine. It is used to keep the working surface tight so that the fabric remains firm, and the stitches will be nice and crisp.

With that said, make sure that you use a hoop that fits the embroidery machine’s working surface to guarantee successful and quality results.

  • Applique

Pick up the fabric used for the applique. It should be similar to the one on the base, but allow a little room for experimenting. Just make sure you do not do anything extreme, and everything will be fine.

In addition, you should also take into account the fact that, most of the time, the edges will not be covered so think of using a matching threading as well.

  • Stabilizer

The stabilizer is the third essential item for making a strong and crisp applique. But what does a stabilizer do? Well, while the hoop keeps the material firm and tight, the stabilizer prevents it from stretching, ensuring that it will keep its initial weave.

The act of doing so is very important, especially when working with straight lines and precise models.

  • Thread

The threading is the material that is used in crafting the applique itself. It creates outlines and filling and comes in many different forms. Picking the right kind of threading all boils down to its compatibility to the base.

Thinner threads work with denser, lighter fibers. For instance, cotton-based materials like jeans and t-shirts will benefit from using thinner threads since they fit the weave better and keep the integrity of the fabric intact. On the other hand, quilts and towels should be used with wooly, thicker threads for the best results.

  • Needle and Bobbin

If the material is a construction site, then the needle and bobbin would be considered as the workforce. The needle pushes the threads into the fabric and creates the stitches while the bobbin creates the hoops that are required for the threads to stick.

In that case, the needle should be compatible with the types of fabric and threading that are used in every single project. Additionally, the bobbin should be spooled with a similar type of light-colored threading.

One good idea is to replace the needle after each new project to prevent skipping and other possibilities that might have a negative impact on the overall success of the project.

How to Applique with Embroidery Machine

Now that you have all the necessary tools and equipment needed to make an applique using an embroidery machine, then you can start with your project. Here are the steps you have to follow in order to do so.

Step 1 – Load the Image

The first step would be to pick the model. Does the machine in question have satisfying presets? If not, then check the web for free embroidery machine designs. Some machines can be connected to a PC, and others use USB flash drives. Depending on the method, upload the new model to the machine and prep the rest of the process.

Step 2 – Make your Mark

Pick the piece of clothing or fabric and use a water-soluble marker to mark the item. Fold the shirt in half and measure the center (or the area where the applique will be embroidered). After that, mark where the center of the hoop will be. The marker will come out with just a few drops of water.

Step 3 – Iron the Fabric

Make sure that the shirt is nice and smooth before placing it on the hoop. Additionally, feel free to apply some fusible stabilizer with the iron when working with cotton. It’s a great type of stabilizer for this type of fabric, just make sure to apply it on the inside of the shirt. After fusing the shirt with the stabilizer, turn it back and prep for the next step.

Step 4 – Hoop, Applique, Action

Place the material in the hoop and use some light adhesive to set the applique in the marked area. The machine will create a thin stitch to connect the applique material to the base material. After the thin outline has been stitched, take the hoop out and, using some embroidery scissors, cut the excess. Repeat this part for every different color.

Feel free to apply an extra layer of stabilizer on the applique fabric to ensure that the outline will be sharp and crisp. The water-soluble stabilizer can be very subtle and non-invasive, so using it with thinner materials is a great choice. After placing the stabilizer, put the model back in the hoop and sew the outlines of the applique.

Step 5 – You’re Done!

While this list hasn’t been very in-depth, these are the basics of how to make an applique using an embroidery machine. Make sure to follow these basics for a good experience and don’t cut any corners.


Making a great applique all boils down to your level of patience and attention to detail. There is nothing like the satisfaction that you will get from a job well done, so make sure that you try your best with every project that you take on.

Moreover, keep everything simple and organized. All of your tools and materials must be kept within arm’s reach to allow for efficiency while working. That being said, you also should be afraid of failure. This is probably the best advice for a great applique, so make sure to be confident and cool-headed.

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