Applique,  Machine Embroidery,  Sewing Tips

Machine Applique Tips


This series is written by guest blogger, Pamela Cox. Pamela is an expert embroiderer, designer, digitizer and all around wonderful girl! We are so happy to have her contributing to the Sulky Blog!

Applique Part 1 - Traditional
Design: Sulky Embroidery Club’s #684 Owl with Heart

Machine Applique Tips

Applique designs are one of the quickest, most fun methods of machine embroidery.  Quick, because fabric takes the place of fill stitches (check out the difference in thread count!).

And fun because fabric color, print, and even texture combinations are endless!

Owl with Heart: Sulky Embroidery Club #684American Sweetie Pie: Sulky Embroidery Club #762 (free download) – Heart and Megaphone: Original design

Basic steps are involved with every applique. Although, the sequence may differ to accommodate additional applique pieces or to add decorative accents.

Therefore, it is very important to read the instructional PDF file that is included with your design to understand when to add or trim fabric pieces.

It is also very important not to change the stitching order of the design nor to combine colors.  The various color stops within an applique design pause the machine to allow placement and trimming of applied fabric pieces.

It is a bit difficult to state exactly what sewing supplies are needed because of all the possible combinations of fabrics plus the variety of available Sulky® Threads.  However, a new Schmetz® Topstitch Needle will penetrate multiple fabric layers quite nicely and handle all thread types – including any Sulky Metallic Threads.  Gauge will depend on fabric weight:


Sulky Stabilizers offer several options that will all work equally well underneath the foundation fabric.

Sulky Soft ’n Sheer™ (a cut-away stabilizer) or Sulky Tear-Easy™ (as its name implies) are the two I reach for most often.  However, Sulky Sticky+™ is perfect for holding the foundation fabric securely, yet easily tears away from the embroidered stitches.

Sulky Fabri-Solvy™ is another option for applique projects that are completely washable since this stabilizer is removed by rinsing.

Napped fabrics require a top stabilizer and Sulky offers Solvy™ (a wash-away stabilizer) or Sulky Heat-Away Clear Film™ (an iron-away stabilizer).

These stabilizers keep the outline stitches of the applique sitting on top of the napped fabric and also prevent the nap from accidentally being cut while trimming applique pieces.

There are also two more Sulky products that should be on hand when appliqueing:

  • Sulky Soft ’n Sheer Extra™, an iron-on fusible stabilizer. This can be applied to the wrong side of applique fabric pieces to prevent fraying and add extra body.

  • Sulky KK 2000™ Temporary Spray Adhesive.  Lightly spray the wrong side of applique pieces and finger-press in place.  The fabric will now remain securely in place for the stitching process, while keeping fingers safely away from the stitching area.


Supplies for above:

Now that we understand the basics of appliqué designs, stay tuned for Applique Part 2, as we explore some fun ways to expand our applique skills.

Original heart design


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Sulky Embroidery Club designs available at

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