Machine Applique Stitches

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Last Updated February 13, 2018

Applique means “to apply” and applique in quilting means to apply one or more fabrics on top of the other. Apply the applique by machine or by hand. This article looks at two machine applique techniques: raw edge applique and turn under applique. The two most popular machine applique stitches are the zig zag stitch (also known as the satin stitch) and the buttonhole stitch (also known as the blanket stitch).

Close up of button hole stitch in machine applique stitches

Close-up of buttonhole/blanket stitch. This is a decorative stitch that you want to see. Instead of matching the thread color to the background applique, the darker color was used to make the stitches stand out.

Make A Sampler of Machine Applique Stitches

Adjust the width and length of these stitches to get the look you want. Adjusting these two variables gives a different look in the stitches and on the applique.  The video below shows how to make a stitch sampler. Later, refer to the stitches and use the settings that best fit your project.

VideoWhy Does the Fabric Get Caught in the Machine When I Start Stitching?

Here is an excellent video on invisible machine applique from Connecting Threads. It shows how to choose the stitch you like best. It is also a great demonstration of how to stitch the applique.

Raw Edge Applique

Just as the name implies, raw edge applique has unfinished edges. Fuse the applique onto the background fabric. After fusing, the applique is stitched down using the stitch of your choice.

Another video from Connecting Threads shows in detail how to stitch the buttonhole/blanket stitch on raw edge applique. The video is 8:48 minutes long but it shows how to stitch the inside and outside points. The method shown here can be used for any decorative stitch.

Article Raw Edge Machine Applique

Turn Under Applique

Finish the edges by turning them under in this technique. Use a lightweight paper to cut the shape of the applique and adhere the paper to the applique fabric. Turn the edges tuned under so no stray threads show. Use turn under applique when you want a more elegant look to your piece.

ArticleTurn Under Machine Applique

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