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.
Basic Supplies:
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
Basic Instructions: Fusible blind hem applique
1. Place the fusible side of the interfacing to the right  side of the fabric and pin in place
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
6. Set the blind hem stitch
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!

Embroidery Review…continued
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!

Darlene Logo Pic Combo 300x119 Darlenes Thread: How to Sashiko and Rolled HemmingMore Sewing with Darlene Cahill:
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» Choosing the Right Scissors to Make the Cut
» More sewing projects and ideas

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