Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Invisible machine applique(not raw edge)

As most of you may remember I've an aunt that is new to quilting.  Unfortunately she doesn't live close, so we can only talk about quilting via the phone or email.  So far she's only pieced quilts but has expressed an interest in machine applique.  Today's post is a short tutorial with some helpful links about machine applique.  
The first thing is making the pieces.  I learned to make applique from Erin Russek's blog One Piece at a Time.  Here's a link to her applique lessons, and in my humble opinion they're the best applique tutorials on the internet.  
Erin is known for her amazing free BOM's, this years freebie is so cute!  You can find it here.  Of course I didn't come up with this method of machine applique all on my own.  Here's a link to where I learned some helpful tips on making the best invisible machine applique.
Okay after you get all your pieces made you need to stitch them down as quickly as possible before you loose your quilty mojo.  Here's what you'll need.


Let's go over these items. 
1.  Superior Mono Poly thread.  Great stuff!  It won't melt or discolor and it's invisible.  It comes in two different shades, smoke and clear.  I prefer clear because it blends best with my color palette.  You could use a matching thread if you wish but for me this works best because I don't need to change my thread several times for one project.  And should I make a mistake in stitching it's less likely to show because it's invisible.
2.  A thread net.  This may not be needed with your machine but for mine it a must because my thread holder lays on it side(picture below)  Without it the thread  tangles coming off the spool.  You can purchase them at Joann's or online shops.  But mine were free from the local florist. Yep FREE!  A lot of  flowers are shipped with thread nets around them.  Just ask your local florist if she'll save a few for you the next time you order fresh flowers.
3.  70/10 needle.  This is my go to needle and works best for me in almost all of my quilting.  I even piece with it.  When doing invisible applique it makes a tiny hole, that's all you need for this very fine hairlike thread.
4.  A pair of reading glasses, so you can see the tiny stitches as you make them.  Now not everyone is going to need these.  But my ole eyes need a little extra help.  My reading glasses aren't strong enough so I borrow Mr. Podunks when doing small machine stitches.

Below is my machine.  You can see the thread spool and net.  Before appliqueing your block make a test piece for testing your stitch tension and width.  Every machine is different, what you're looking for is the smallest stitch possible without making big puckers.   I'm using a tiny blanket stitch I programmed into my machine.   For some reason Brother thinks quilters don't need a stitch this tiny.  Thank goodness I had the option to design my own. Several different stitch styles will work for this type of applique. A blind hem stitch or a zigzag are good options.  


This project was started before my dad had surgery.  So I started hand appliqueing while in waiting rooms.  Well the waiting is over and I want it done.  Part of this is hand and part machine, see the difference?  It's minimal.


I'm going to bare it all today and show you my backside!  Amazing just how invisible it really is!


Okay let's take a look at the stitch in action.  First pull your bottom thread to the top. If you don't know how to do this here's a tutorial. Remember to do a tack stitch after you pull the bobbin thread to the top.  If your machine doesn't have a tack stitch do two or three back stitches to properly anchor your thread.   Don't cut your thread tails just yet, we'll need them later.    You'll want to start with your needle as close to the applique piece as possible.


Just how wide is the stitch?  About one or two threads into the applique, 3 or 4 at the most.  You can do this, I promise, just take it slow until you get the feel for the tiny stitch.  If your machine has a speed control this is a good time to try it out.  If you look a the picture of my machine above you'll see a slider button right next to the scissors button.  It's set to a fairly slow stitch.


Here's why I leave my thread tails, so I can see where I started!  They'll be clipped after I finish the circle and tack my ending stitch. 


 The completed circle.  Can you see the stitches?  Sure, but you're super close.  If any one is this close to your quilt they better be carrying a basket of ribbons and a big ole grand prize check.


Let's back up a little.


And a little more.... there's really no more distortion to the fabric than there is with hand applique.


It's so much quicker and the results are pretty darn close to handwork.  


Linking up with these fabulous bloggers, you can too!  Or hop on over and be inspired!

FreeMotionbytheriver
and
IHavetoSay
and
QuiltStory
and
ShowandTellMonday
and
Let'sBeeSocial


~ Lea Anne ~
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24 comments:

  1. Great tutorial! Love your gorgeous photos that make everything so clear. One thing I noticed is that you use a 70 needle. I never saw that before. Do you get better results with that size? Thanks, as always, for the fabulous tutorial!

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  2. Lots of great pointers and pictures. I have never been very successful with invisible thread, but I have not tried it on the Pfaff I am using currently. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. You made this very clear..great instructions with pictures. Thanks

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  4. Thanks for the tut. I've been thinking I need to do some for hand sewing in front of the TV. I'm going/want to make an Orange Peel with different greens as background and all kinds of orange for the peels in remembrance of my citrus trees in CA. (It was like being in heaven to climb the ladder and pick fruit from the four trees... kept us and 4 neighbors supplied. A very lovely memory.
    Hugs

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  5. I use machine applique all the time ! I love it when people don't believe me that it's done by machine and think it has been done by hand. I also feel it is easier to get your applique as close to the pattern as possible. Thanks for the tutorial enjoyed your post.

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  6. Great tutorial and beautiful quilt~thanks for the great tips!

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  7. I am collecting fabrics to make this gorgeous quilt! Your tips are great. I haven't done much machine applique, but love doing hand applique.

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  8. thank you dear i will use this next time

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  9. Thanks for linking and inspiration you give us on the Show and Tell Monday !! hug Bambi

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  10. I am definitely going to have to try this one.

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  11. That's a great tutorial, Lea Anne! I do it pretty much the same way and I love machine applique, too.

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  12. thank you for this tutorial, applique is on my ti try list and I am saving a link to this for when I have a go

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  13. Hello Leanne. I have used this thread before, but with Bottom line in the bobbin. It took my a few minutes to realise the invisible thread is also in your bobbin.
    So can I ask, are your edges turned under before stitching? I only did raw edge applique before and didn't like the effect, so I switched to needle turned applqiue. I like it but, it is taking me so long, that I am in danger of falling out of love with my blocks.

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  14. Fabulous post, Lea Anne. Your applique work is gorgeous! And the tutorial is so well explained. Nice work!

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  15. I machine applique all the time. I also use superior invisible thread it is my favourite thread for machine applique.

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  16. Terrific tutorial! Love your pictures - so clear, and there's hardly a difference between hand and machine. Well done!

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  17. Thank you for sharing your tutorial and the links! I clicked on them all and saved them or signed up to receive emails, they were all fabulous also. It has been awhile since I have done any applique, but it has always been one of my favorite techniques in quilting. Your photos and tutorials really inspired me to choose a pattern and start picking out fabrics! Have a great day!

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  18. This block is so pretty. Great information and tutorial. I will have to remember this.

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  19. Thanks for your tutorial and all the other links (to be read another day). I've used this type of 'thread' before and I love it for invisible sewing :)

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  20. "Baring it all and showing your backside?!" You are going to have to put an R rating on this quilting blog! ;-) Your applique is gorgeous, both the hand and machine work. It takes SO LONG to do by hand, but for me the machine applique is stressful and every time my needle lands where I didn't want it to go I shout an expletive. My kids were starting to repeat my machine applique profanity, so I had to go back to doing it by hand... I agree, Erin Russek's applique tutorials are the best.

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  21. Great tutorial with great helpful links! Your funny too! I like that!

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  22. I didn't see this covered in your tut; maybe you've said it before...? Do you use any kind of fusible on your applique pieces? Also, what about a stabilizer underneath? I've not done much applique but hope to begin a project in a few months and really can use some help. I am reading the link you suggested we check out on Erin's site. Thanks so much.

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  23. Ok, I just read some of Erin's postings. I do see that you have on the title "(not raw edge)" so I'm assuming that you follow Erin's tut about turning under the edges but that instead of using a needle and thread you use the machine; is that right?

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  24. Thanks for the super-close-up photos. I think I've been picking up too many threads, at least four, so it's too visible. I'll try 2 next time and go slower. Thank you!

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