I love to do applique with my embroidery machine. If you have tried to use your cutting machine to cut out your fabric applique shapes and were not successful, I hope some of these tips might help. I am using my brand new Plain Applique Rabbit Embroidery Design just being released today to show the steps. Click the link to visit my store. I also have a video that you can watch below that will show this process if you would like to see it in action. Just press the play button.
I am updating an old T Shirt that is very soft and loved. I have lightweight interfacing and cotton fabric for the body of the rabbit.
I also have fusible web, my hoop with cutaway stabilizer and minky fabric for the bunny tail. The fusible web is found in the sewing section of your store. One brand name you may have heard of is Wonder Under. It is actually a glue web with a paper backing. This will help your fabric stay pressed to whatever substrate you are doing the applique on. The cutaway stabilizer is being used because my T Shirt is stretchy.
The fabric is cut to size here along with the interfacing. I am using a lightweight brand so the applique retains a softer "Hand" or feel. The interfacing is pressed to the back of the fabric according to the manufacturer instructions then I always press from the front as well. Once you have done this, your fabric will be sturdier and less prone to stretching or skewing. The adhesive web is pressed to the back side of the fabric after interfacing. This will create a bond to the T Shirt once pressed. Leave the paper on the fusible web.
When opening the embroidery design in your software, you will need to make a note of the dimensions of the placement line. This is usually the first step in the design that tells you where to lay your fabric. Write that down for later. If you don't have embroidery software, you may need to do download a free viewing software so you can open the file. There are several companies that offer trial versions or smaller free versions that will allow that. Hatch by Wilcom has a 30 day free trial.
If you don't have a cutting machine, you can still use SVG Cut files. Your internet browser is usually the default on most computers that will open them. Once opened, you can print on a plain piece of copy paper. Cut out the file with a pair of scissors and use it as a pattern for your fabric.
You will load your cut file into the software for your cutting machine. I use the Free version from Silhouette. My version does not open SVG files, but I convert them to a DXF file with Corel, then import them. CHECK those dimensions of the cut file in your cutting software and compare them to the measurements from your embroidery software. I find that mine are not always the same, so I have to adjust the size. The placement line dimensions in the embroidery design is where you want to cut. It is usually the first step in the project and is followed by additional steps. Some designs will have an option to use scissors to cut your fabric and then tack it down. The tack down is commonly a type of zig zag that will capture the edges of your fabric.
This step might seem odd, but you will flip or MIRROR your cut file in your cutting software. Notice the left picture is the embroidery file and the right picture is the cut file that has been flipped. You do this because of the next step which is placing the fabric on your cutting mat.
Remember we have interfaced and pressed our fusible web to the back of the fabric. We have also kept the paper on the fusible web. My mat has been well used and lost some of its stickiness. I like this for cutting fabric so that when I pull it away from the mat, the fabric comes off easily. I place my FABRIC RIGHT SIDE DOWN on the mat with the PAPER FACING UP. Then I use masking tape along the fabric edges on the mat. This keeps the fabric in place and helps keep the cutting blade from lifting the edges as it moves across the mat. Our cut file will be mirrored and "Backwards" and the right side of the fabric will now have the correct image for our embroidery. The stabilized fabric will stretch less. The paper from the fusible web adds a layer of protection that inhibits the blade from dragging across the fabric. These are to me the most important steps in preparing your fabric so your cutting machine can do the best job possible.
I am using a fabric blade in my cutting machine and I usually choose the recommended cut settings. So in my software I chose light cotton fabric. My force is 7 and speed is 5. I used three passes. You will want to try a test cut the first time just to make sure. There are a lot of variables that can affect your cut. Your fabric may be thicker than mine and your blade sharper or dull. So take a little extra time to check before you have problems and waste fabric, interfacing and fusible web.
After your fabric is cut, remove it from your mat. The paper can be peeled away from the fusible web. Depending on the cut file design, you may see small threads that have not been cut cleanly. Usually these show up in sharp corners or angles. Some fabrics have tighter weaves or the fabric count is denser and the blade doesn't quite slice through completely. Just carefully trim them with a small pair of scissors.
If you have prepared your fabric to be as stable as possible, you should have a successful applique ready to embroider. One extra tip that I did not use with my sample project is starch. There are several brands available that can be applied to your fabric. They will add a crispness that feels like paper once dried. If you have tried all of the other tips without desired results, try heavily starching your fabric.
After the embroidery is finished and the stabilizer has been cut away, I like to press the fusible web. This is done with the garment inside out and pressing from the back side. It will create a bond keeping the applique fabric from pulling away through wear and laundering.
This Plain Applique Rabbit Embroidery Design stitches quickly and I love how it updated one of my favorite T shirts. Here are some other inspirational projects it could be used for.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, share what you learn and are generous with what you create. Someone will appreciate your hard work!
Lagniappe Peddler believes that the process of working with our hands can be one of the best forms of healing the hurts in our lives and welcomes all who visit this safe little corner of the world.
What is a Lagniappe Peddler?
ˌlanˈyap,ˈlanˌyap - something given as a bonus or extra gift
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