Monday, January 14, 2013

Applique, Embroidery, Etc. Questions

I'm new to this applique and embroidery thing, so....

How do you prevent or minimize frayed edges 
(especially on little pieces) on fabric when you applique?

What machine stitch is the best for keeping those applique 
pieces on a quilt that will be washed frequently?

Are wider/narrower stitches better than smaller/larger ones?

Do you use embroidery thread in your machine when you
go around the edges of applique?

What's the best way to remove the ironed-on adhesive paper
without totally destroying the piece?

When stitching around the edges, is there a clear-colored
thread that is strong enough to last on a quilt?

When you embroidery, what size/type needle works best for you?

What embroidery thread do you find tangles the least amount?
(Mine gets tangled/knotted sometimes...okay, A LOT!)

Embroidery thread comes in so many strands...what's
the easiest or best amount to use when doing 
simple embroidery stitches like words or outlines?

Is it good to use a waxy substance to make the
thread slide through the fabric easier?

Is there an easy way to store all those threads without
ending up with a tangled mess?

For either applique or embroidery, do
you have a favorite website with tutorials?

Am I the only one who doesn't know 
the answers to the above? 
(Do my questions even make sense?)

Update: I'll post the answers I've received 
with the questions in the next day or two.

P.S. Please make sure there is a way for me to contact you.
Google+ and Open ID don't allow me to see your
email address. If you don't hear from me, it's because
you don't have a way to get a response from me.


  1. For embroidery, I was always taught to use three strands. I just use the standard DMC floss. As for appliqué, I have heated the appliqué back up and sometimes it comes off with ease and other times no so much.

  2. I don't do much machine applique so I won't try to answer your questions.
    If you go to the store/Joanns you will be able to find needles that say embroidery on the package.

    I use DMC mostly, cut a length about 15-18" long and then pull one thread out at a time. Then I put 2 strands back together to do my embroidery. I might use more depending on what I working on.

    If you thread starts to tangle up while embroidering hold up your piece in one hand and while the needle is threaded let it hang freely and it will untwist. Just make sure you have your hand under the needle so you don't lose it if it should come off the thread.

    I don't use the wax when embroidering.

    If you go to Joanns/craft store where they keep the floss you will find ways to store the thread. I wrap mine around little card board pieces made for storing thread. You could make your own. Just don't forget to write the number on the cardboard that is on the floss.
    here is a great blog for embroidery. At the top of her blog you will see a tab for tutorials and tips. It is the best.

    I hope that all makes sense.

  3. I used to use DMC floss (single strand) for embroidery until a pattern I had suggested 12 weight thread. I tried it and was sold.It is so much easier to work with. No problem with twisting. And I love many of the variegated colors. Easier to store spools than floss too. Only downside is initial cost but if you are planning on doing more embroidery it is well worth the investment.

  4. Greatquestions, and most of us just learn by doing! I sent you an email with a few of my replies...easier that way. Have fun with your embroidery and applique projects!

  5. Great questions, Carol. I think I'll answer in an email after I've had time to gather my thoughts to share what I've learned. I love machine applique and have a bit of a tutorial on my blog which may help....

  6. don't use wax when embroidering. I prefer to use a size 24 or a size 26 when embroidering or cross-stitching (use size 26 on linen type fabrics). As far as the number of strands to honestly depends. If the design is pretty basic, then you can probably go with a higher number of strands. It's pretty standard to do around 3 strands (out of the 6) for MOST projects. As far as organizing those remaining strands, you can get project cards, which have lines (for writing down embroidery thread colors/numbers/symbols) and hole punches which you can thread those strands through! I use them for every counted cross-stitch project I ever do. In order to minimize tangles...keep your thread lengths shorter (like carrie p. said 15-18 inches in length) and frequently let your needle and thread hang down to unwind/detangle before knots form. Should they form, don't pull them through, just take your time with the knot and use that embroidery needle; totally helps!


  7. Oh, PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE will you post your list of questions again along with the answers? I can imagine a lot of us would REALLYREALLYREALLY appreciate it!

  8. Carol you sound like you are asking about hand embroidery as well as machine embroidery stitches, right?
    For hand embroidery stitches going around a fused applique motif, I use 2 strands of the 6 strand embroidery floss. Cut about an 18" piece and let it dangle as you separate the strands. You can also purchase size 12 perle cotton which is the same thickness as 2 strands of floss, but it doesn't need to be separated. Use an embroidery needle and I use a blanket (also called a buttonhole) stitch. You never use wax on embroidery thread.

    For machine embroidery around an applique motif that is fused, use a rayon or polyester thread made for machine embroidery and a machine embroidery needle too. I prefer the blanket stitch or a zigzag stitch for my machine work. Always test on a scrap first and test different widths an lengths to see which you like best.

    I have never had a problem laundering an applique piece that has been stitched by hand or machine.

    Of course this is just for fusible applique I am referring to. There are several methods of applique which include needle turn, using a fusible interfacing and sewing around your motif and then slitting the interfacing and turning it right side out and pressing in place, reversible applique, raw edge applique that you sew with invisible thread using a straight stitch sewing very close to the raw edge or you can also sew straight using a black thread, you can use glue to glue your raw edges under first and then sew them down, etc....

    I think you should practice a variety of applique styles both by hand and machine to see which you like best. It's good to practice with something that has both a concave and convex curve as well as a point. So try to applique around a heart and a crescent shape for practice.

    Hope this and your other answers help you. Practice is the key to get good and to find the applique method you prefer doing too. Good luck.

  9. This time I used the quilting basting spray to adhere my letters to my pillow, that way you can move it if it looks like crap.

  10. 1st great ? 'S. I only use presencia, it never tangles, and you don't have to separate the threads . I cut18 approx..I never knot...finca perle 12 is the best for embroidery...Jane carries it.. I only use a size 9 needle for embroidery.
    I like to back my kona cottons with hides the stitches and puffs your completed project...
    Appliqué I only use wonder under, trace , iron, score and iron...on finished background.. Does that help?

  11. The article of this quality is really hard to find. I am really glad that I found your article

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Comments are always appreciated!

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