Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Raggedy Farmyard Quilt Part 2 - Machine Applique

Machine Appliqué is my new favourite thing. It's neat, invisible and with quilting, creates a beautiful 3D effect. This stage was a dream on my mew sewing machine (Bernina Aurora 440QE) and the first step was to stick my applique animals onto the centre of precut white background fabric with Elmer's washable school glue, iron to set and stitch around the appliqué pieces in a small zigzag.

As this is invisible machine appliqué, you don't need the super close together zigzag used in traditional appliqué as there should be no raw edges that need to be sewn in. My stitch length was about 1mm by 1mm, but this varies from machine to machine. I used 100% nylon Wonder Invisible Thread on top (CAREFUL, some nylon thread can be unreliable) and bobbinfil on the bottom. If you haven't used nylon thread before, you need to adjust your tension as the thread has a bit of stretch. Loosening the top tension a little seems to do the trick, you just need to ensure that none of the bobbin thread comes through to the top.
To do the detailing on each animal, I tried to use triple straight stitch on the machine, but found it very difficult to manoeuvre around the small features. I ended up doing most of it back stitch by hand using a thicker black buttonhole thread. I used a fabric pen to colour in the eyes.  
The thing that makes this quilt really pop is the use of bold fabrics to frame each animal. I used remnants from the nicest fabrics in the applique animals and it took much switching around until I got all the fabrics spread evenly around the quilt. Once I had everything where I wanted, I used a ¼ inch seam to sew them on. 
Lastly, I made sadwiches of my completed animal sections with the backing fabric (a lovely red fabric you'll see later) and 100% Bamboo batting. Once the sections were together I ditch-stiched around all the animal limbs, giving them real definition. 
Picture was right way up on my computer!

Next Step - Free motion quilting - best get practicing! 


  1. This is looking awesome. Jealous!! I am hoping to buy myself a sewing machine...just not sure what to get, too many to chose from. Jo

  2. Bernina Jo. They're the best. They have all different levels too.