How to Applique on an Embroidery Machine

Applique is one of the great ways to use up bits and pieces of fabric to give new look to old clothing.It is basically a technique that involves stitching small pieces of fabric together into a larger piece to create a particular design. For instance, it may be used to spruce up towels to make amazing handmade gifts.

​There are various types of embroidery machines and each of them operates differently. This article is going to take you through a step by step guide on how to applique on an embroidery machine. This is a general outline that may apply to all the embroider machines.


Step 1


First and foremost, if this is your first time, it is highly recommended that you choose a simple applique design. If you find this difficult, you can even find free designs on the internet. Once you select your preferred design, you can then load it together with the thread on the embroidery machine.

Step 2


The next step is preparing the fabric that you are going to sew on. It is also advised to use thick muslin until you have mastered the technique. Apart from being cheap, thick muslin is easy to sew on and one can easily spot mistakes. For the best results, make sure the interface you are using is of good quality.

During this step also prepare the fabric that is to be appliqued. Most machines sew on 4 inch by 4 inch square, so you cut the fabric to be appliqued into a square. It is not a must to cut it into a square, you can cut it into any size to be appliqued.

Step 3

You should then hoop the bottom of your fabric and place it in the embroidery machine. After this, load the thread into the embroidery machine. It is also advised to line up the colors to be used in order in which they are going to be used next to the embroidery machine. It is always easier to pick them and there is no time wasted looking for thread.

Step 4


The next step is starting your pattern. The first color you sew will be your outline, sew it in a single stitch. It will show you where to place the fabric that is to be appliqued. Your preferred pattern will have you sew several different colors. Here is a secret; the various color changes are so that the machine will do the stops for each step of the applique process.

While you are learning this process, It is advised to change the thread colors until you master the process. The final thread color is the one that will "show" on your finished work. When this color stops, the machine will stop and you will need to do a color change.

Before changing the color, put the fabric to be appliqued over the sewn outline.Do not attempt to remove the fabric from the hoop. The hoop can be removed from the machine but do not remove the fabric from the hoop.

Step 5

If you have not switched the color you should do it now and start the machine again. The machine will now sew another outline on the applique fabric, it will be directly above the the other previous outline. Once the outline is complete, the machine will stop and you will need to do another color switch. During this step you will need to change the thread color and remove the hoop from the machine. Do not attempt to remove the fabric from the hoop.

Step 6

Once you remove the hoop from the machine, you should cut around the applique fabric, the one close to the outline stitching. You should leave a little bit of the fabric so that the satin stitching would be able to catch it. If you cut the fabric too close to the outline, it is going to fray overtime and start wearing out. If you are in the learning process, it is best to leave too much fabric than to cut away a lot.

Step 7

You should then put the hoop back in the machine and start the pattern again. This is now the final stitching. Many machines usually do the outline stitching before they finish up with the satin stitch. Once the satin stitching is complete and done, you can now remove the hoop from the embroider machine.

Step 8

You can now safely remove the fabric from the hoop and trim up any threads and fabric that are sticking out.

And you are done. If you have followed the above steps carefully then your first applique creation would be perfectly completed and successful. If it does not turn out well, do not be discouraged or lose hope. Just keep practicing, you may have missed a step.

In no time you are going to master this technique and be proud of your own creation. Remember, creativity is key in applique embroidery, try to always be different from the rest.


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