Applique Tips from Darlene Cahill
Need some Holiday Cheer in the kitchen or a quick and easy Hostess gift? Last month we started basic applique and attached small decorative pieces to a larger base piece using decorative stitches around the outside edge. This month, let’s dive a little deeper into another technique known as blind hem applique. This technique shifts the focus from the decorative edge stitching to the actual color block by using a blind hem stitch and invisible thread. The edges are not raw – they’re turned under – which can be challenging around curves and corners so following is what I have found to be the easiest and cleanest way to ensure “no peeking” edges and perfect placement ready for the blind hem stitch.
Fusible lightweight non-woven interfacing
Fabric to make appliques – can be cotton, denim, satin, felt, lace, organza – practically anything can be cut and applied!
Blind hem foot and stitch
Invisible (monofiliment ) thread
2. Stitch around outline of design, trim seam and clip curves and corners
3. Make a slash in the interfacing at the widest area and turn to the right side
4. Press in place on base fabric
5. Thread your machine’s needle with monofiliment thread
7. Attach the blind hem foot
8. Stitch along the outside of the design with the stitches snuggling in just next to the edge. The side sweep of the blind hem stitch should barely grab the top edge of the applique.
Understanding Differential Feed
Unlike a conventional machine, a serger has TWO sets of feed dogs. One set in front that pulls the fabric into the area under the presser foot and one set behind that pulls the fabric out from under the presser foot. So how do we control these feeds and why does it make a difference? The stitch length adjustment controls the back feed dogs as in how much they will pull the fabric out from under the presser foot. The differential feed setting (a lever or knob on the front or side) controls the front feed dogs as in how much fabric is being pulled into the presser foot. Now you can see that changing either one will in turn alter the ratio in which they work together…this is what affects the functionality :).
The “N” or 1 setting is neutral meaning that the front and back move at the same ratio. Fabric is pushed under and pulled out of the back in the same increments.
When the differential feed is set at a minus setting, under 1 or .5, the front feed dogs are moving the fabric into the machine at a slower rate than the back feed dogs are pulling it out so you get a tightly pulled fabric. This setting prevents puckering of slippery or delicate fabrics and can be useful for attaching elastic.
When the differential feed is set at a plus setting, above 1 or at 2, the front feed dogs are moving the fabric into the presser foot faster than the back feed dogs are removing it. This setting will do the opposite of stretching, it will gather or ease lightweight materials and prevent wavy seams on knits.
• On the plus setting, the longer the stitch, the more the fabric will gather.
• When gathering with the gathering foot, increase the differential to 2 and lengthen the stitch. Hold the top layer taut as both layers separated by the foot feed through. You will gather and finish all in one easy step!
• For a “lettuce leaf” edge, lower the Differential feed all the way and stretch the fabric as it feeds through. When the seam comes out of the back of the foot and relaxes, the “Lettuce Leaf ” edge will reveal itself.
• For outside curves or sleeve caps, increase the differential feed to avoid stretching. The increase will cause a slight ease or gather –useful for sleeve insertion.
• Now go boldly where you haven’t gone before and use the Differential feed setting on your serger to your advantage!
When you first open your Futura Program, there’s a window that has dozens of friendly user tips. In an effort to ‘hurry up and start embroidering’ it’s tempting to close that screen without going through the list but every now and then it’s a good idea to review these bits of info. You may see something that you didn’t notice before.
Here’s a quick review of 12 tips in random order:
1. The circle frame can become an oval by moving the points
2. It’s easy to get creative with lettering. Slant/Rotate/Stretch/Condense/Step and resize letters in the plain rectangular frame.
3. You can open 14 different file formats–MOST–commercial embroidery design discs.
4. Experiment with every point on a lettering frame. they’re there for a reason.
5. Use “Zoom in” when digitizing to avoid eye strain.
6. “Floating” boxes can be moved–just click and drag on the colored bar above each box.
7. Use “Redraw Stitches” to watch stock designs stitch on screen.
8. You can clear the screen by using “select all” and hitting DELETE on your keyboard.
9. Each time you click “Zoom Out” the zoom percentage will decrease by 1/2.
10. Each time you click “Zoom In” the zoom % will double
11. Try to never stitch a column less than 1mm to prevent thread breaks.
12. The globe frame works nicely with three lines
When to Watch
For more tips and tricks for sewing tune into our show schedule watch November 27 at 6 pm & 11 pm ET.
See you on-air!
More Sewing and Crafts from HSN.com: