By guest blogger, Mary Mulari—designer and author of Applique—Large & Small
There’s no need to cut applique designs from ordinary fabric when you can make it extraordinary by first adding embroidery machine stippling. Using the designs from my book Applique—Large & Small, I prepared appliques with stitched texture.
Choose a stippling pattern for an extra large embroidery hoop (30 cm x 20 cm) and stitch a design approximately 10″ x 6″ to use in creating appliqués. The design chosen for these projects is from Stipple Geometrics. If you don’t have an embroidery machine, no worries, simply machine stipple or stitch randomly on the layers below. Depending on the size of each applique you cut from the stippled fabric, you may be able to use one stippled panel for several designs.
Select a stabilizer keeping in mind whether you want to be able to remove it or keep it in place. Removing a tear-away or cut-away stabilizer after stippling is a tedious job. I preferred to use a water-soluble stabilizer for easy and fast removal. To add body to the stippled fabric after the stabilizer is removed, you can fuse lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side.
The second fabric shows the same white thread stitch pattern, with a second stitched in black thread—added by flipping the design with the horizontal mirror image key.
I’ll show you ways to use these stitching options, plus one more option too.
For the two travel bags above, I chose applique designs from Applique—Large & Small book and reduced the sizes to make them fit easily on the bags. The pink “at” sign was placed on the stippling fabric to show both the plain and the stippled areas. The peace sign on the lavender bag was cut from red/orange fabric with two stippling patterns. When sewing these two designs to completed bags, I find it easier to fuse the designs in place and then turn the bags wrong side out to sew the applique edges. That way it’s easier to avoid sewing on the back of the bag.
I used clear monofilament thread and a narrow zigzag stitch to sew the pink “@” design and orange thread to sew on the peace sign.
It’s always fun to experiment with changing the sizes of applique designs. So for the tote above, I enlarged the design from the book and cut it from the double stippled orange fabric. It makes a striking statement on the small tote. Clear thread and zigzag stitching around the edges give strength with an invisible stitching line.
I enlarged one version of the flower and stem design (from the book) to make it fit on the Handle Loop Tote from my Totes To Go pattern. As I’m planning to use the tote frequently, I chose the edge stitches for the design to wear well. The stem and leaves are attached with a zigzag variation and the flower with a satin-type stitch and Madeira Cotona 30-weight thread for coverage around the edges. In addition, I cut the flower and bud slightly larger than the pattern pieces so I could form a pleat in the centers. This adds a little more dimension to the design.
One of my favorite hostess or bridal shower gifts is a towel with an applique. (Often the towel trim matches an apron I’ve also made.) Here I’ve used one design from the book. And in the process of cutting it from fabric, I created a second shape of a maple leaf to stitch to the checked towel. All I had to cut extra was another leaf stem. That’s what I call a bonus! For the first stitching of the design on the ecru towel, I used clear monofilament thread and a zigzag stitch. That didn’t seem like enough, so I chose Madeira Lana wool thread and installed a topstitching needle in my machine to create the wide stitched edging for the design and the stem stitch center line to each of the leaf stems.
This apron was a find at a thrift shop. I loved the color, but it featured a large product advertisement on the bib. It was easy to cover up by creating a stippled fabric pocket enhanced with both a pen pocket and a monogram cut from texturized, shrunken stippling. The apron pocket is large enough to hold equipment like a cell phone, notebook, and an iPod. Plus, the pocket becomes a decorative element of the apron. The button and elastic loop made from a hairband will help to hold the pocket contents in place if I move around too energetically while doing household chores!
The green stippled pocket base fabric (above) is subtly stitched with matching green thread and the monogram (enlarged in size from the alphabet in the book) shows a contrast color stippling thread.
Just when you thought stippling was only for making quilt blocks, this collection of applique ideas will expand the options for your embroidery machine design collection. Give this new form of applique a try.
Here’s another technique to try with stippling: Replace the stabilizer in the hoop with a piece of Texture Magic™ or Fabric Magic™. After stitching out one stippling pattern, follow the instructions on the product packaging to steam and shrink the “magic” fabric. Above you’ll see a comparison of the size of the original stitch pattern on the red/orange fabric with the same size stitch pattern on the blue fabric. Talk about cool texture and dimension all created with a steam iron or steamer!
Watch Sewing With Nancy Online!
Thanks, Mary, for joining us this month as a guest blogger! In Applique—Large & Small Mary shows you her easy methods for appliqué, plus she’s included a pull-out insert with alphabets and twenty-five applique designs. You can watch Mary and me online or on PBS. There are 52 programs to watch online, or on your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone. Have you downloaded the app?
Explanation: This past summer I was recovering from a rather serious illness and was unable to record at the studio during the month of August. Mary stepped in to the rescue as host and guest of the 2-part series. What a friend!
For a chance to win a copy of Applique—Large & Small, leave a comment below sharing what you’d applique with stippled fabric.
The random winner of the Sew Speedy Lone Star book and templates is Enid who says, I like the traditional Lone Star.
Bye for now,
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