Machine Applique

Machine Appliqué

Machine Appliqué

I am so excited to be on the last appliqué block for my Oak Reel Block quilt! I sucked it up and will make myself finish piecing and appliquéing it… hopefully this week! I might be a little short on time today, as I am making fresh egg pasta, and invited my mom over for dinner… our basil is going nuts this year so we’ve been eating plenty of pesto.

Tomorrow is my day at The Quilt House over in Clarksville… such a fabulous little shop where quilters are welcome to pull up a chair, brew a mug of tea or coffee, and join in the fun. I usually take my hand sewn hexie project for that. With enough Wednesdays, I will eventually finish it!

My sewing room gets messy when I’m in the middle of a project. Machine appliqué is hard on my eyes and my body as I twist into odd contortions while I’m sewing, so I have my Bernina 740 set up for piecing, and my Bernina 430 setup for appliqué.

Sewing Room
Sewing Room

I will do a little appliqué work, then switch machines and do some piecing.

I like Superior Threads Bottom Line thread for machine appliqué in a coordinating color for my fabrics. On my Bernina 430, I set up my machine as follows.

Bernina 430 Machine Appliqué Settings
Bernina 430 Machine Appliqué Settings

Bobbin case threaded for embroidery, upper tension set to 2. I don’t want to see any bobbin thread pulled to the top. Presser foot #20 (open toe embroidery foot). I use straight stitch #1, needle position 5 clicks to the right, stitch length set to 0.40mm for beginning and ending, and single blanket stitch #50, needle position 5 clicks to the right, stitch width 1.40mm, stitch length 1.80mm.

I set my Bernina 740 up with the same settings when using it for appliqué work.

Bernina Open Toe Foot #20
Bernina Open Toe Foot #20

A mere foot away from the quilt, and you can’t see the appliqué stitches at all. They’re very tiny, which is how I like them. I work slowly and carefully while appliquéing, often stopping with every stitch to turn the fabric so that the stitches closely follow the appliqué.

Machine Appliqué

Each Oak Reel block takes me a little over two hours to sew. I can’t imagine doing this without a knee lift on my sewing machine, or at least a machine with the hover feature.

My Bernina 740 has the hover feature, but I don’t use it and much prefer the knee lift, which I feel offers more control and responds instantly. I’m not sure I would do appliqué without a knee lift… lifting the presser foot with the lever at the back of a machine for every stitch would drive me crazy!

I am going to finish that last appliqué block today!

CJ Tinkle

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Dee Jones

    When your doing the machine appliqué, your needle always stops on the outside of the appliqué. Is that in your machine settings? Or your just that good? Beautiful work.

    1. tinksquared

      That’s when I stop it, controlling it with my sewing machine pedal. The Bernina foot pedals are “smart”, and allow you to take one stitch at a time.

  2. mo pinwil

    Lovely post. Brilliant work and explanations as usual.

  3. Julia

    Beautiful! That is pretty much how I do most of my machine appliqué. It is time consuming but, I love the results!!
    It is “sew” much fun to get together with friends and stitch!! Would love to see your hexie project!

    1. tinksquared

      Thank you! Yes I treasure those days spent sewing with the girls. The older I get, the more I love it. My hexie project is just hexies at the moment, I don’t have an immediate plan for it, but I’ll drag it out and post some photos.

  4. Diane S.

    Great video. Thank you!

  5. Mary Ann

    Looks great CJ This is going to be another of your beautiful quilts. Know your Momis going to be pleased.

  6. Beth

    thinking of upgrading my old 820 to 770 (I think that is the one they have offered)–it sounds like downgrading, though. Do you recommend the 7 series? I do not appliqué.

    1. tinksquared

      Hi Beth, I personally think the 7 series machines are much better than the 8 series. I had an 830, which I really liked, but the 7 series are solid machines, not finicky to work with. The 8 series have a drama queen personality, yes? :). Have you considered the 740 instead, if you don’t do embroidery? What features does the 820 have that are important to you? I think the 740 offers just about everything most people would want, without paying for the built in embroidery features of the 770 and 790 machines.

  7. Beth

    I meant embroidery……I occasionally appliqué.

Your feedback is always welcome! If you have a question, I will respond to it here.