Monday 1 February 2010

Raw edge, freemotion machine applique tutorial

Hello, While I'm mulling over sofa coverings I've created the tutorial on free motion machine applique that some of you asked for. This is the way I made the Milkchurn Cottage picture.

This is my old wheat bag cover. Rather yukky. I'm going to make a new one from this vintage embroidered tray cloth...

and scraps of cotton fabrics left over from other projects.
I never throw anything away.
I'm going to applique the words 'feeling better' onto the linen. I've arranged the fabric letters where I want them on the linen. If you want to you can stick them down first using bondaweb or spray fabric glue, I didn't bother. (the fabric pinned on the right hand side of the picture is just holding the other letters in place.)

When you put your fabric in the embroidery hoop, put it in upside down or the opposite way to hand embroidery. This will ensure the fabric lays flat on the sewing machine. Pull the fabric as tight as you can using your sewing machine screwdriver to tighten the screw. The fabric should be as tight as a drum.

Thread.- Use what ever thread you want, you can buy special bobbin (to use on the bottom) thread for machine embroidery, usually in black or white, you get about twice as much on the reel as normal thread so it is more economical. You'll be surprised how much thread you'll use.

Next alter your machine. Drop the feed dog teeth in the base plate. My machine has a little wheel under the free arm.

Here you can see the teeth dropped and I have attached an enclosed darning foot. You can have a go with an ordinary foot but you will have difficulty seeing where you are going. You can also remove the foot altogether just leaving the needle, but I wouldn't recommend this as you may easily include your fingers in your applique. (not good)

This is another darning/embroidery foot, this one is open toed. The reason I have two is because sometimes when embroidering over something hairy or wispy (ie wool tops, used in felting) the toe of this foot can catch in the wispy bits.

Next I loosen the upper thread tension a little.
Normal on mine is #4, I have reduced the tension down to #2.

The top dial is the presser foot pressure. I find as long as your fabric can be moved around freely when the your presser foot is lowered you don't need to alter this.

Next I turn my stitch length down to 0 as I will be controlling my stitch length by how far I move my fabric and how fast or slow I make the machine go.
It won't matter if you forget to alter this.

Now to start.

Slip your embroidery hoop under the machines foot, which should be raised as in normal sewing. Note which way up the embroidery hoop is in the photo. Your fabric should be flat against the base plate of your machine.


Position your needle where you want to start and lower your presser foot.
Now without moving the fabric start sewing, get your needle going up and down quite quickly.
Now you can use both hands to move your embroidery hoop around.

(If you've never done this before, have a practice on some scrap fabric without any applique on it. Better still, practice on something stiff like pelmet vilene, you won't need the hoop. Practice making circles by moving your hoop around and around. (by now your tongue should be out and you should be circling your upper torso in time to your embroidery hoop! lol)


You can see in the photo I often use my stitch ripper to hold down tiny bits of fabric, saving my fat fingers!

As you can see here it doesn't have to neat and tidy, in fact it looks better if it's not.
Stitch around each shape a couple of times to make sure everything is stitched down.
A little tip here- smaller stitches help prevent too much fraying.
(Move your hoop slowly and stitch quickly = short stitches.)
(Move your hoop quickly and stitch slowly = longer stitches.)
Each time I finished a letter I just lift my presser foot and move over to the next letter without cutting the thread. Don't forget to lower your presser foot again. This saves time, thread and fiddling about trying to get the hoop out and back under again.

When you've finished, you can trim all of these cross over threads. Don't forget the ones on the back of your work too as they can pull and pucker your work.

Ta-Daa !

Go on have a go. It really is easier than it looks. Have a play around.
The back.

The front.
Just need to pop it in the wash to remove the pencil guide lines.
I tried to make it as simple as possible, any questions, feel free to email me.
Go on embroider a heart on to something for your valentine.



Carol said...

That is an amazing tutorial, very clear - I think even I could follow it. Will bookmark it for when I am feeling brave enough to attempt it. Thank you
I have been spending time crocheting recently but decided I shouldn't get stuck on one craft, so today I got out a partly completed (by my late Mum)embroidered tablecloth and was happily "lazy daisying" for an hour or so this afternoon.

KC'sCourt! said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I am going to have a go! I just wish I had more hours in the day - have you any to spare.......?

Marigold Jam said...

Looks straightforward - want to try it out but am sure it isn't going to be as easy as it looks! Watch this space!


Ester Kiely said...

Although I have free-machine embroidered lots of bits and pieces, I still learned a few new tips here. I like the tip to use the ripper for holding down those fiddly bits. Thanks!

a-m said...

I love the bag - it's beautiful!

Anonymous said...

That looks great.

My sewing machine is ancient and just goes forwards and backwards.

you could do this by hand for the sewing machine challenged of us.

Shabby Chick said...

I can't use a sewing machine but I found that really interesting to read and very clear!

Mel xxx

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. Will definitely give it a go tomorrow.

GerryART said...

Fiona, my machine is a Viking Lily 555 and looks very similar to yours.

Yes, I love your dainty project.

Claire said...

Great tutorial Fi, you Milk Churn Cottage picture was lovely. I am sure the recipient of the gift would've been quite chuffed to receive it. No doubt there will be alot of people in Blogland inspired to give F.M. embroidery a go now.

Jennifer said...

What a great tutorial. I recently ordered Poppy Treffry's book and just got it in the mail this past week. I am really excited about trying some machine embroidery, as I love the look. Yours looks beautiful.

Booklinks said...

Thank you very much for this tutorial,its beautiful!I love the idea of 20 min. a day.I read on other blogs about it.Is it to late to join?
Thanks for sharing great ideas.

Sal said...

That's excellent and yet another brilliant way to revamp some lovely old embroidery! ;-)

Twiglet said...

Great tutorial - like you say - get plenty of "free" practice before trying anything too tricky. Its just like drawing with thread and very satisfying. Yes, I think I am the tongue out, whole body moving with the hoop variety!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Fiona,
Thank you so much for sharing, I am so going to give this a try.
I just love ur little milk churn cottage.

crafty cat corner said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to put this tutorial in your blog, I am definitely going to have a go at this.
Really appreciated

Sarah said...

Cor, thanks for sharing. I can't wait now to give it a go!

Martha in Kansas said...

Fun! I learned to do this a few years ago and it is every bit as easy as it looks. Kind of freeing because now you feel you can do anything! The lady who taught me makes bowls by piling on the thread. Mine turned out more like bra cups. LOL! Now I want to try working over embroidery, as this is so pretty! Thanks for the tutorial and reminder.

karen said...

hiya hunni
that's a great tutorial, thankyou

Anonymous said...

...and I thought I'd need a super special sewing machine for this craft! It really looks Very Simple Indeed but I suppose I'll have to be careful not to stitch my tongue, too ;o) Thanks!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Nice clear instructions Fiona. I do a lot of free machining and can I just make a special point - it is all too easy to sew through a finger when you are doing this if you do not use the hoop method. I have an embroidery foot which is a complete enclosed circle - but I am sure yours is just as good when used with a hoop. But it is tempting to forego the hoop and just move the material - I do urge your readers not to try it unless they want to go to casualty with the material sewn to their hand.
Love the finished piece.
Have you got snow again today - we have.

Sue said...

Thanks for the tutorial,it still sounds pretty scary but I will pluck up the courage soon.


Joshy and belle said...

its beautiful! fliss xx

Annie said...

Love your tutorial. I dont do free machining often enough to find it easy and have to relearn the process every time I do it so it's tonge out and head down for me :-)
I have given you a special award. Please check out my blog for more info.
A x

Serenata said...

Oh thanks so much for this Fi. If I can get my act into gear tomorrow morning I'm going to try and get me one of those embroidery feet and have a go.

Lynne said...

I can't believe I didn't leave a comment when I visited the other day. I must have been distracted by my 20 minutes a day, which has turned into 2 hours a day. I'm really pleased, because the hexagon hand pieced quilt which has been on the go forever, is now in one piece! And I'm sure it's due to the 20 minutes a day which has got me started with it again. So a big thank you to you for inspiring me.
I have recently been trying out machine quilting and enjoying it. I'm about to embark on some more, now that my hexagons are in one piece.
Love your machine applique.
Happy stitching.

Jodie said...

Great tutorial! It looks beautiful!

I can't wait to try it...although it might be a tad ambitious for me! :-)

harmony and rosie said...

Oh wow, that looks great fun. I might just have to have a go - will you come and hold my hand?


Lynne said...

I'm putting a link to your blog on a group blog I'm a member of. Hope that is okay. The blog if you're interested is;
I just thought the '20 minutes' has helped me get my quilt on the go again. Always good to share a good thing.

Vintage to Victorian said...

You make it sound so simple. Needless to say I sat here with my tongue out and moving in a circular motion on my chair when I read the appropriate part of the tutorial!!!!!

I used to appliqué letters onto bags etc but always used a zigzag stitch. This is much nicer. Must try it!

Sue x

Tallis said...

Catching up... and loving your makes and tut's - hasn't 20 minuters grown!

pussman and co said...

I would love to try this! I hope my machine has the right tools!
Thanksfor sharing!

neet said...

Hello Fiona

Could you add my name to your ever-growing list of 20 minuters please? I do way more than 20 mins crafting a day, but this might give me the kick I need to talk about it more often than I do on my blog. Plus it will be interesting to meet other like-minded crafters.

Ka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ka said...

Hi Fiona,
I "found" your blog yesterday while still recovering from the flu, and found your "20 minutes" proposal quite inspiring! I'm not quite sure I can join yet, but this has given me a lift to get back to "doing" and not "thinking".
I love your yuuummmy non-fattening cakes, also!
Your tutorials are great also! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I was pointed to your tutorial by Alison (b2), having had a second awful white knuckle ride type experience at the helm of my machine trying free motion embroidery, which I blogged about yesterday. Your tutorial is superb!! and much needed by the likes of me!
One question I have is what type of thread you use, cotton/polyester/any particular brands??

The Patchwork Heart said...

great tutorial thnx ... I am hoping for a drop feed machine for xmas :)
Heather x

Annaboo's House said...

Oh my goodness, this is soooooo helpful.
I have recently got out my nan's old machine and have tried a little bit of appliqué and want to do more- now I know how too! Luckily, I found some embroidery hoops in the charity shop- I just need to check out what feet my machine has...!

Lovely blog. I am newest follower so I don't miss out.
Off to get a cuppa and read through for more inspiration!
If you get the time, do pop over and visit my little blog- I love all things crafty, crochet and thrifty and would love to know what you think!