Whether you applique by hand or machine, having the right applique tools helps you achieve the look you want during the process and in the completed project.
Applique techniques play a critical part in the final results, but the equipment you use is just as important.
With the right applique tools, your sewing enjoyment goes up and frustrations go down.
Ways to Applique
Hand applique with freezer paper is my favorite method to embellish, customize, and personalize sewing projects.
Machine applique tends to be a little faster than hand applique and there are more options for visible stitches.
Many machines have a variety of stitch options. This allows for some creative opportunities with applique projects.
You can even use a combination of hand and machine applique in order to get different finished looks.
Machine applique was used on the dark blue letters. Hand applique was used on the colorful letters on top. Using both techniques and different fabrics created a shadow effect.
Regardless of the applique method or technique you use, having the right equipment makes the applique sewing more fun and less frustrating.
There are several applique tools I use consistently whether I’m hand or machine appliqueing.
In my opinion, having access to these tools makes applique sewing more enjoyable.
For your convenience, I’ve created a list of applique tools and supplies I use for both hand and machine applique.
Freezer paper is similar to butcher paper but it has a plastic coating on one side.
You can easily draw/trace on the paper side of freezer paper with a pencil, then apply warm heat from your iron. The plastic coating adheres to the fabric.
The best part is the freezer paper can be removed easily without leaving any residue behind.
There are different kinds of needles you can use to hand applique. Look for hand needles that have
applique in the name. Size 10-12 works well.
Another type of hand needle that works well for hand applique is milliner needles. Size 10-12.
If you find the fabric fraying as you're hand appliqueing, you can use a toothpick and fabric glue to stiffen up and smooth the edges making it easier to turn the fabric.
Put a drop of glue on the end of the toothpick, then swipe it gently along the fabric edge. Let it sit for a minute before using the needle to turn the fabric.
This is one of the double-sided fusible web products I use to adhere applique shapes on the background fabric before sewing along the edges.
It is good for lightweight fabrics. It comes in 8.5 x 11-inch sheets and can be used with inkjet printers.
This is another double-sided fusible web product I use to adhere applique shapes on the background fabric before sewing along the edges.
It is applied with an iron.
The sheets are 9 x 8 inches, lightweight, and can fuse with light and medium weight fabrics.
This is another double-sided fusible web I use to adhere applique shapes on the background fabric before sewing along the edges.
It is applied with an iron and comes in a roll.
A roll that is 15" x 2 yards is enough for many projects.
Stabilizers give you more control when sewing and helps keep the background fabric from moving around.
I like this one because it is lightweight and easier to remove than some other stabilizers I've tried.
This tool is great for both hand and machine applique.
You can use either end when you need to remove freezer paper.
The curved end is helpful when removing basting stitches.
Easily measure/confirm 1/4" with the flat end.
You really want to have at least 2 of the Purple Thangs....one to keep by your sewing machine and the other to have on the table when you're watching tv and doing some hand applique.
A window is a great source of light to trace templates during the day, but if you want to applique at night, this light pad comes in handy.
The lights are adjustable for 3 levels of brightness, and the pad is 10" x 14", so it's big enough for most applique tracing.
Plus, the light pad is very thin so it takes up little storage space.
This small iron has a long cord which makes it easy to use at a table when I am working on making the applique templates.
The Quilter's Cut'n Press II is the table top board I use with the mini-iron.
The pressing side gets used the most, but the cutting side has come in handy for some smaller projects.
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