How to Do Applique on a Sewing Machine

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Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine with a zigzag or satin stitch setting
  • Fusible web
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Pattern
  • Applique material
  • Background material
  • Stabilizer or piece of paper

Applique is the decorative process of layering one fabric over another and stitching it to secure it in place. Applique can be used in quilting, to decorate household towels and linens, and to add designs to clothing. There are several techniques for applique that will give you a similar end result. Affixing your applique design to your material with fusible web and securing the edges with a sewing machine is the fastest method of applique.

Lay the design pattern pieces upside down. Place the fusible web over the patterns so the paper-covered side of the web is facing up. Trace the pattern images onto the paper side of the web with a pencil. This gives you a reverse image which will correct itself when sewn onto the background material.

Cut the traced patterns out of the fusible web, leaving about half an inch of web around each piece.

Iron the material from which you will be cutting your applique. Turn it right-side down. Position the paperless side of the fusible web on the wrong side of the applique material. Using a hot, dry iron, press the web to adhere it to the fabric. You may want to use a pressing cloth to protect your iron from the adhesive on the web.

Cut the pattern pieces out carefully on the traced lines.

Peel the paper web backing off the pattern pieces.

Flip the pattern pieces over so the fusible web is facing down. Position them on the right side of the background material. Reposition if necessary until you are pleased with the result.

Place a pressing cloth over the pattern pieces and press them with a dry iron to permanently adhere them to the background material.

Thread the top of the sewing machine with a color that will complement the applique. Thread the bobbin with a color that will look nice with the background material.

Place a piece of stabilizer or a simple piece of paper under the area to be sewn.

Set your sewing machine stitch selector to zigzag or satin. Sew around each piece, catching the edge of the applique pieces as you sew. This stitching further secures the pieces in place and prevents unraveling.

Tear off the stabilizer paper or let the remnants wash out in the machine.


  • There are different manufacturers of fusible web. Check the directions of your brand for its specific usage recommendations.


About the Author

Christy Bagasao has been writing since 1991. She is an English and communication graduate of Wisconsin Lutheran College with a year spent at Nottingham University in England. Her work has appeared in such publications as "Forward in Christ."

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