This article was written by
Elain Raahauge - business writer and home embroider.
few minor revisions were done and links added by Jackie
Holderbein of OPW Mall. Embroidery design used
is available at
Molly MIne. The article was used with permission from
Creating Applique Blocks
In The Hoop
You can make applique blocks
decorated with beautiful embroidery all in one step
within your embroidery hoop. This tutorial uses a
crazy quilt block to demonstrate how easy and fast it is
to create a fun block that can be joined with other
make a beautiful crazy quilt.
This tutorial covers some of the
basics of appliquing in the hoop, but each designer
creates their designs differently, so you cannot
religiously follow the steps detailed here for all
in the hoop applique block designs. I have written this tutorial to show you
what is possible with your embroidery machine and to
encourage you to create beautiful and fun things.
Follow these instructions to
create this fun quilt block entirely in the embroidery
This crazy quilt block
embroidery patterns is available at
The blocks can be joined
together to make a quilt or wall hanging, totes or
purse, apparel and more...
Click the images below to see
and purchase the complete Crazy Quilts shown below or go to the
Molly Mine main page to choose
Crazy Quilt 1
Crazy Quilt 2
What is applique in the
Applique in the hoop has many
variations, but the basic technique is to stitch
applique fabric onto a
background - usually a stabilizer - using the embroidery
machine. You first stitch the outline of the block (including the
placement lines for each piece of fabric), onto the
hooped stabilizer. Individual pieces of fabric
are laid over the outlines, stitched, then cut into the
right shape. The machine joins the fabric together
(usually with a satin stitch), then embellishes the block
with embroidery. The result is an applique block
that has been completed using only your embroidery
What you need for
applique in the hoop
There are five things you need
to create an applique block similar to the crazy quilt
block demonstrated here:
1. An embroidery design
specifically for this purpose: There are
not many designs available for applique blocks
but more are slowly becoming available.
The one demonstrated here is available at
2. A foundation for the block:
This can be a piece of fabric, stabilizer or
batting (wadding). I used a medium weight
cut-away stabilizer as I wanted to keep the
stabilizer in place to
support the completed block. You can use a
tear-away or a water-soluble stabilizer if you
want a softer, more flexible finish (like
traditionally appliqued blocks).
3. Fabric for the block pieces:
This crazy quilt block uses five different
fabrics and each needs to be cut bigger than the
outline of their section. Print out a full
size template of the design and cut into
sections. Place the section over the
selected fabric and cut out the fabric at least
1cm bigger than template. You don't have
to be precise - the fabric just has to
completely cover the section with some to spare.
4. Marathon Rayon Threads
Choose threads that coordinate with the fabric -
or contrast, if you prefer. The only rule is to
have fun. I put together the threads I want to
use before I start but often change a couple of
colours as I go along to get the look I want.
The most important thread is the one covering
the joints of the fabric (usually with a satin
stitch) and the thread colour can dominate the block, so choose
it carefully. Make it a feature or let it
blend quietly into the background.
5. A small pair of scissors
with a thin, sharp point: This is required
for cutting away the excess fabric close to the
sewing line and your curved embroidery scissors
will not work here.
A note about thread
colours in the design
There are a lot of thread
colours at the beginning of the block but it is not
necessary for you to change the actual thread. They
are called "thread stops" and are put there by the
designer to stop the machine at certain times so you can place, or trim,
the applique piece. Therefore, it is not necessary
to change your thread each time there is a thread stop,
as this thread will not be seen. In the steps for
embroidering the applique block (below), the
thread color is not changed until step 8.
1. Read the instructions that come with the
design and print them out, if needed.
2. Print the template, if applicable,
and cut into sections.
3. Hoop your selected foundation material,
e.g. stabilizer, flannel, fabric.
4. Download your design to your
5. Select your fabric and threads.
6. Pre-wind your bobbins or buy
7. Cut out the fabric using the
templates as a guide.
Creating the applique
1. Embroider the first colour.
This will be the outline where you place the
pieces of fabric. I used black to show the
sewn outline more clearly.
2. Lay the first piece of fabric face
up; making sure it completely covers the outline.
3. Embroider the second colour.
The fabric will be stitched to the stabilizer.
4. Remove the hoop from the machine
but DO NOT REMOVE THE STABILIZER FROM THE HOOP.
5. Trim the fabric as close to the
sewing line as you can. It is better to
accidently cut the sewing line than to have bits
of material sticking out from the satin stitch
that will cover the joint.
You don't need to trim
the excess fabric from the edges of the block.
6. Replace the hoop onto the machine and repeat
Creating the applique block-Steps 2
7. Continue until all fabric is
stitched in place and trimmed.
8. Change the thread colour and
(depending on the design) the machine will
either embroidery a design or stitch a satin
stitch to cover the joints. Notice how the
joints are covered by satin stitch. Most
joints have a decorative stitch covering the
satin stitch for more interest.
9. Complete the design.
10. Remove the hoop from the machine
and applique block from the hoop.
11. Trim the block and remove the
stabilizer, if desired.
12. Finished block. Now you can
do the next block of the series.
have viewed your tutorial on Crazy Quilting. Can
you please help me out, as I make my quilts as "quilt as
you go"... so would I be able to use the embroidered
designs for the crazy quilts, as a quilt block - ie top,
batting and backing in the all-in-one go? I am
very interested in the design in the hoop crazy quilt,
but it will not work if maybe the 'sandwich' was too
thick? The designs in the hoop are so decorative
that there would be little or no space to quilt in the
traditional way - ie do the top and then layer. (Jenny
N. from UK).
I embroidered my crazy quilt pattern directly
onto a hooped cut-away stabilizer - laying down
the fabric over the stabilizer, as required.
Once all the blocks were completed, I removed
the stabilizer from the outside edges and only
then joined the blocks together with a quarter
inch seam. I laid the quilt top over the
backing and connected the two together by
zig-zagging over the seam lines (from the
front). I did not do quilting on the quilt, as
it doesn't need it and there is nowhere to quilt
I will try and explain why I did
it this way and give you other options.
You can use anything as the base
for the block. I chose the cut-away stabilizer
because it is easy to hoop and it provides a solid
foundation to build on. You could hoop a tear-away
stabilizer and baste a layer of batting (not too thick)
over the stabilizer and lay the fabric directly onto the
batting. I would be worried about it stretching
during the embroidering, though, therefore, I recommend
you use a stabilizer base with it. You can remove
the tear-away stabilizer afterwards, if you want.
You can even use a
layer of fabric as the base and then baste the
batting onto that. You may not even want to use
batting as it is really not
required (as there is no quilting to enhance). If I
was doing this again, I would hoop a layer of flannel
and lay the applique fabric directly onto this. No
matter what base material you use, the quilt will be
stiff as there is so much decorative stitching on the
blocks. If you use batting, using the thinnest
There is no way you
would want to include the quilt backing when
layering in the hoop as you wouldn't want the
back of the embroidery to be visible in the
finished quilt. The backing has to be added
after the embroidery is finished.
really a wall hanging rather than a quilt, so it is
quite small. I have a large embroidery hoop and
my blocks are 200mmx200mm. If you don't have this
sized hoop, you can make the smaller blocks to fit your
hoop. Therefore, you won't have a large and
cumbersome quilt to fight with. Elaine Raahuage
Here are more
crazy quilt projects
Click the images to see
Vienie Van Vuuren Reis - posted on our