Cutting Applique Shapes for Machine Embroidery

It really is easy to cut applique shapes with a die cutter or to cut applique shapes with the newer electronic cutters. And some like to trim the fabric around the tackdown stitch. But, what if you don’t have either of those and you want an easy way to cut the shapes? I had a “bright” idea the other day and wrote about it on the Craftsy blog post for this week. I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this, but feel that I need to share it with the world. So, here are the instructions. I have made them into a pdf and added them to a link in my list of how-to’s so that you can always find them here.

Instructions for cutting appliqué shapes with scissors

All machine embroidery appliqué designs come with a file that has the outline of the shapes / templates that can be stitched on the embroidery machine. Rather than making a paper pattern from this file, the most efficient way to cut the appliqué fabric using those stitching lines is as follows:

  1. Prepare fabric by fusing a fusible web onto the wrong side of the appliqué fabric. This should be slightly larger than your appliqué shape. Do NOT remove the paper.
  2. Work with an unthreaded needle in your embroidery machine.
  3. Hoop stabilizer.
  4. Mount hoop onto machine and stitch the shape outline onto the stabilizer with the unthreaded needle.
  5. Lay the prepared fabric (with fusible and paper attached), right side up, over the stitch holes made in the stabilizer. Use tape if needed to hold the prepared fabric in place.
  6. Stitch the shape again onto this prepared fabric.
  7. Remove the fabric from the hoop and turn it over. On the paper side, you will see the stitch holes showing through the paper.

 IMG_36868. Use this line for cutting your shape.

9. Trim just outside the stitching line so that the finished appliqué will be held securely without fabric threads showing on the outside of the decorative appliqué stitch. Before starting a project, try a sample first, to be sure your cutting line fits perfectly with your stitching line.

10. To remove the paper, use a straight pin to score the paper and it will peel off easily.


Using Evernote

Someone asked me to write about how I use Evernote. Evernote is a web application that allows you to clip URLs, text, articles, images, and anything you can imagine from the web as you browse. It will also save pdf files. There are many more features, but the clipping tool and pdf saver are the primary tools that I use. I have been using Evernote since October of 2009 and upgraded to the Premium version in December of 2011, so you can imagine that I have a lot of information stored.

When you clip something from the web, you then have the option to assign the clipping to a notebook and/or a tag. For example, I have a machine embroidery notebook, an AccuQuilt notebook, a neuroscience notebook, and a general notebook. The general notebook is where I put a lot of quilting information. Here are some things that I clip:

1. Evernote is a wonderful place to save all those tips, links, and notes from posts in Yahoo groups/discussion forums. You just highlight the text you want to save and “clip” it to a note. Give it a tag and you’ll always be able to find it. This is one of the most useful tools for me.

2. You can save social media posts and images as well as sending a note you’ve clipped from Evernote to Facebook, Twitter, or even email it to yourself or someone else. And if you’re more sophisticated than I am, you can use Evernote to archive your entire social media life

3. Links to quilting resources such as free patterns, tutorials, and techniques and clipping entire pdf files to be saved in Evernote is a great way to use it. And you can tag these resources in categories such as piecing, applique, quilting, embroidery, etc.

4. Do you have trouble tracking events such as blog hops and quilt alongs? This is a great place to put them, and you’ll always be able to find those links.

5. One of my favorite things to do when I want to try something new or fix something on my computer is that I google computer technical information. Evernote is where I keep the instructions for things like how to create a blog badge, and other important technical information.

6. This is a great place for saving instruction manuals as complete pdfs for equipment and gadgets. Just think how much file space you will save with this. You can also keep track of purchase dates and serial numbers here.

7. And what about all those dates and projects for the Quilt Guild? This is the place.

8. I use Evernote as a temporary holding place for recipes, addresses that come to me as I browse the web or come to me in email. You can just select text and it will save only the highlighted text in your note.

9. A feature I haven’t used, but really should is tracking projects and project management. There’s a to-do checkbox that can be added to notes in Evernote.

10. Ideas and inspiration. I love to save photos of quilts, landscapes, and song lyrics and anything else that inspires me. So, I have an ideas tag that I use a lot.

I hope this helps you understand a little more about Evernote. My tags could be simplified, and I could use a lot more features than I do, but for now, this is a great tool for me.


Superheroes and Other Things

Life has been pretty busy around here. My Mom always wants to stitch and needs someone to help her with pressing and trimming. She only has enough energy to stitch about an hour and a half, so while she’s resting, I am doing other things. We have made enough blocks for a couple of quilt tops, but haven’t put them together yet.

I have also been doing a little blogging about machine embroidery for the Craftsy website. That has really kept me busy, but is expanding my horizons. I’m learning new things just from writing about machine embroidery. This is a project that I posted on the Craftsy blog this week.

And —ta da– I’ve been experimenting with a number of new cutting tools. Do any of you have a Silhouette Cameo, Slice, eClips, or other blade type cutting machine? Most people use them for scrapbooking, but I have had a lot of fun cutting fabric with them. At first I had a hard time with fabric, but have learned a few things along the way. So far, this is what I know.

Use iron-on fusible (I used Wonder Under), peel the paper off the back of the fabric before you stick it to the mat. The mat itself is sticky, so you just have to lay the fabric in the right place on the mat and adhere is by rubbing with your fingers and you’re ready to cut. If you have cut with one of these machines, how did you prepare the fabric? Is one kind of fabric better than another? So far, it seems to me that batiks work really well and lower thread count fabrics, not as well.

I’ll talk more about this kind of cutter as I experiment and will write some instructions for things I have learned. Here’s one of my first test projects. My grandsons are really into superheroes. I couldn’t find t-shirts anywhere with superhero logos, so I made my own using a Silhouette Cameo cutter, Embird digitizing software, and MaketheCut cutting machine software. The stitching around the parts of the logo are a simple zigzag which I digitized with Embird. But, one could stitch this down with a regular sewing machine zigzag stitch too. This was very simple to do. Now, I have to find time to do a second one since they’re twins.



This is really neat that there are new tools (or at least new to me) that will cut applique. However, I will never, ever, give up my AccuQuilt die cutter for piecing quilts. Isn’t it wonderful that we have all these wonderful tools? 

Zoom Zoom

Besides the princess quilt, I have been working on a set of cars for the AccuQuilt Cute Car die. Thought you’d like to see how they turned out. My grandsons are the inspiration for this. They love every kind of car and occupation. Hmmmmmmmmmm – Now I need to get busy and build a quilt–or a town on a quilt.

taxi 600 firemarshall 600 flowercar 600 hotrod 600 police 600 racecar 600 sedan 600 

Princess Quilt

My granddaughter, Kes, is the middle child. She talks about being a princess and playing princess all the time. So, she’s going to get a princess quilt. Every quilt has a story, and this one is no exception.

I recently bought a Twister template. When it came, I was surprised at how large it was. I decided that the pieces would be large enough for some novelty prints and proceeded to cut squares of “princess” fabric that I thought would work for this quilt. After I got it together, I really was not pleased. The colors blend together too much and to me, it just isn’t pretty to my eye. But, that was a lot of work, so I am finding a way to make it a special quilt anyway.

I decided to add “princess” machine embroidery to the quilt so Kes will find special little places throughout the quilt with castles and magic wands and unicorns and princess crowns. This quilt is to be enjoyed for the special little motifs rather than as a whole quilt.

What is really amusing to me is that as I stood in front of the design wall with Kes (4-1/2 years old), she informed me in the most matter of fact way that the little girls on one of the fabrics were fairies and not princesses. Of course, my reply was that princesses have to have good fairies to help them. I think we all need some good fairies along the way.

Corner of Quilt
Corner of Quilt
Corner of Quilt
Frog Prince

I digitized this frog and used my Silhouette Cameo to cut the applique pieces. That was a lot of fun.

Princess Crown from Applique Corner

This princess crown was done as traditional machine embroidery applique.

Dragon from EmbLibrary
Magic Wand
Crown by EmbLibrary

She really is a sweet little girl, we love this picture. It’s obvious she is only going to do what she wants and not what the photographer suggests.

Kes--School Picture--Pre-K
Kes–School Picture–Pre-K