Thursday, February 28

How to Applique

You guys asked for it, so here it is! Let me just warn you - it's like picture OVERLOAD here! I tried to take a picture of every little step and there are a LOT of little steps you have to do, but totally worth it!

First things, first... You MUST have an embroidery sewing machine to be able to do this. I have the Brother SE-400 that I got a few years ago and I love it! It's a great machine, especially for the price!

You also need to know how to do some basic embroidery (like lettering), how to work your machine, and how to use a embroidery/applique file downloaded from the internet and transfer it to your machine. If you don't know how to do these things, read your manual and try them.

Ok, here we go... you need to get your supplies together and don't sit there and think, "Oh, I don't have that, but I probably don't need it." Yes, you do need it. Just get all of the junk that goes with doing all of it so you can do it correctly!

Here is my setup when I applique...

Supplies needed:
1. embroidery machine
2. embroidery file downloaded and put on your machine
3. regular iron
4. small travel size iron (got mine at Joann's)
5. pellon wonder under paper-backed interfacing
6. pellon wonder under easy-knit fusible interfacing
7. spray glue that works on fabric
8. small scissors ( I use the one's that came with my machine)
9. a empty box to spray the glue in and not get a mess everywhere
10. regular stabilizer sheets

How to Applique:

1. Get your fabric pieces ready. The applique I will be using need two different fabrics and thread colors. I always cut a small piece of fabric and iron the paper-backed wonder under on the back side of the fabric I am using...

2. Measure and mark the center of your tshirt or onesie (I like to just put a pin in the center, instead of using the markers)

3. Turn the tshirt or onesie inside out. Spray one side of the regular tear-away stabilizer with the spray glue in your empty box and press it on the backside of there your applique will go on your shirt.

4. Turn your shirt back right-side out and hoop it. You will also use your grid to make sure it is center. See, my little pin I used to mark the center is lined up. If your's doesn't line up, just re-hoop and try again.

5. Now, you're ready to start! Put your shirt that is hooped on your machine and get the applique positioned where you want it. It will do an outline stitch and then stop so you can see where to put your fabric first.

6. Take the hoop off of the machine and trim the thread. DO NOT UN-HOOP!

7. Now, you can see the outline of where you want your first piece of fabric to go. Peel the paper-backing off of the wonder under and spray the back of it with the spray glue. DO NOT IRON IT YET! The spray glue will hold it in place right now.

8. Now place it back on the machine and let it outline it again. 

9. When it is done outlining it again, take it off of the machine and cut as close as you can to the thread to take off the excess fabric. Now you can use your little iron after it is cut out to iron the fabric and activate the wonder under to hold it on better. This is the secret to really good appliques. I usually iron it on there for about 10-12 seconds.

10. Now, I noticed on the applique description that came with the file, that instead of doing the full stitch around the bunny now, they do the outline for the bow. So, I need to change my thread color out now and let it outline the bow.

11. Now that you have the outline of the bow, you will take your piece of fabric that you have ready for the bow and peel the paper-backing off of it. Remember, DO NOT IRON it yet (it's habit)! Instead, spray the back of it with the spray glue and press it on where the bow will go.

12. Now, put it back on the machine and let it outline the bow again.

13. Trim around the bow and now you get to iron it! 

14. Now, before I put it back on the machine to let it stitch, I notice it is going to stitch around the bunny first. So, I need to change back to the brown thread and then let it start stitching.

15. Once it is done stitching the bunny, then you will need to trim any thread (if needed) and change the thread color to the color you're using for the bow.

You're done! Isn't it adorable?! Before putting it on, I always add the easy-knit fusible interfacing. I iron it, too, for about 10-12 seconds. Basically, it's a piece that you iron on the back of the applique so the thread isn't so scratchy next to the skin.

Of course, when you're done you can add a name or monogram! ;)

Also, before you ask, I really like the applique's from Applique Planet and from Applique Momma. They also have freebies! I know Applique Momma is having a flash sale right now and most of the designs are only 80 cents! Holla!

I have also experimented with all the different Wonder-Under's and it can be overwhelming when you're at the fabric store to know which one is the correct one to buy. Here is a photo of the one's I get so you can write down the numbers or whatever to match them up...

Whew, that was a lot ... Let me know if you have any questions!


  1. Goodness, that must have taken all week! Very cute and a great tutorial!!

  2. Do you use a Mac? If so, how do you get your designs. I just purchased the same machine and having a hard time getting designs that I can transfer to the sewing machine.


    1. Yes, I use only Macs. You will just order/download the .PES files and then plug your USB cord that came with your machine from your computer to your machine. The machine should show up on your Finder screen (I think it is just labeled Unknown with an "eject icon" next to it) You just drag the file to that. You will then use your machine to open the file by using the pocket icons. Hope this helps!

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  5. Thank you so much! I just took my new SE400 out of the box, and I'm overwhelmed, to say the least. I really appreciate that you took the time to show all your steps. And the bunny is adorable!!

  6. Thank you so much! I was overwhelmed with the steps for appliques section. I am so glad to see break down of each step. I am a visual. Need to see it in action step by step. Now I don't have to wait until Monday to call the help line.

  7. What editing software do you use?

  8. Hi! I use Embrilliance Essentials because it works with Mac. I know I can use other programs if I take the time to figure out how to install Windows on my Mac, but "ain't nobody got time for 'dat!" ;)

  9. Thank you for this post, it has been very helpful! I am just learning how to use my Brother SE 400 and this makes it much less intimidating!

  10. hm.. I am reached here by searching for calibration details of embroidery machines... think it is right place for it and this site should be an encyclopedia for the embroidery business.

  11. Wow! It looks like after some trial and error you got great results. I want an embroidery machine. I'll have to refer back to this when I get one, so I'll know the best stabilizer to use. :)

  12. How do I get the se400 to stitch only with a PES file....I have letter it (the program) and just want the machine to do an outline so I can create a letter applique.

  13. I recently got the Brother SE 400 and starting to play with it. Is there a way to embroider fonts larger than the three sizes the comes with the machine?

  14. amazing way to customize a shirt.
    the machine is really good.

    cheap embroidery digitizing

  15. Hi! I have a Brother LB-6800. I was just practicing trying to sew an applique heart that is on the machine already. It doesn't sew the straight stitch outline 1st-it just goes straight into the satin finish stitch of the heart. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I can't find any directions step by step to do this. Any ideas??

  16. This article gives you the track to move further and achieve your goals. Cute Princess Cinderella Applique

  17. Thank you so much for this video! I have a question, I hope you can help. How will my machine know that it"s an applique not an embroidery file?