Please: These tips are original and exclusive to OPW Mall.
Feel free to use them for your personal embroidering and quilting
needs, however, it is strictly prohibited to publish them without
Watch for new tips
as they are added to the top of this list.
- Before choosing a design, consider the type of fabric you will
be working with. Lighter designs with open spaces are better for
lighter-weight fabrics because they will allow the fabric to drape
properly. Fabrics with nap need more dense designs in order to
cover the fabric. Choosing the best suitable designs for the type
of fabric you will be using for a project will make the difference
in obtaining the best appearance on your embroidery.
- If you are having trouble blending fabric for a quilt, look
along the edging of the fabric. Most have dots of solid
color of the colors used in the fabric. This can make it
much easier to blend and match.
Don't forget textured fabrics when considering your appliqué
projects. Could a little furry fleece or even a velour print add
3D life to your project? Keep a stash of ⅛- to ¼-yard pieces of
that spendy, but oh so soft, furry fleece on hand for projects
that call for sheep or even for fuzzy little appliqué aliens!
- When you buy specialty fabric from the fabric store, make sure
to make a note to yourself with the laundering instructions for
the fabric. As we all know, sometimes that piece of
fabric needs to wait for just the right project. Pin the
instructions to the fabric on include it in a clear bag with the
- Did you know that you can print
directly on fabric using your printer (laser or ink-jet) without
pre-treating the fabric? I use a temporary spray baste to
stabilize the fabric with a plain sheet of paper and then feed it
through just as I would paper. After printing, cover with a
pressing cloth to protect your iron, and press to heat-set the
ink. With this, you can use our scanner and wrapping paper (or
any other pretty paper) to print your own fabric for use with
designs or other projects. (Editor's Note: NEVER run adhesive
spray baste through your printer. Instead, press your fabric to a
sheet of freezer paper, cut to size - 8½"x11" for regular paper
size - and run through. If any wax from the freezer paper happens
to get inside the printer, it will act as a lubricant. Adhesive
will gum up the inside of the printer. My printer tech friend
gives you this advice with love!)
- A healthy stock of fabric scraps
is a great resource for appliqué on your embroidery machine. Keep
an eye out at thrift stores and yard sales for packaged scraps.
You only need a couple of inches to make all the difference in
getting just the look you want to fill in that appliqué space.
Organize your scraps by color groupings as you get them to help
make a quick choice - mine even get arranged within the color
groups into prints and solids. (Editor's Note: small, clear
boxes and Ziploc bags are perfect for sorting scrap fabrics.)
- When quilting, make sure that you treat the fabric the way
that you will be treating it after you have completed your
project. If you are making a quilt and plan on washing the
fabric, make sure that you have washed all the fabric prior to
cutting and stitching. You would not want one fabric
shrinking and another stretching!
- Appliqué doesn't always mean you
have to use cotton quilting fabrics. There are plenty of fun
fabrics available that can add texture and dimension to your
design. Take a stroll through the fake furs and plush fabrics at
your local fabric store and start to imagine sheep and monster
designs that touch you back. The price of these fabrics can be
high, but if you only need ⅛- to ¼-yard pieces for appliqué, then
it becomes quite affordable to play with. Take a friend, or group
of friends, shopping to split and share those ⅛- to ¼-yard pieces
into workable appliqué squares. You'll end up with a nice stash
assortment for everyone for very little money.
- Denim is a fabric that stretches in more than one direction.
When stitching on Denim, use a solvy on top.
- The next time you’re dreaming
about what to do with all those quilt fabrics and you just can't
choose from a whole wall, try purchasing several ⅛- to ¼-yard
pieces of your favorites to add to your appliqué stash. Also, be
sure to think of appliqué when sewing friends are de-cluttering
their sewing rooms. It only takes a couple of inches to cover an
appliqué area. Great appliqué projects start with a variety of
fabrics to choose from so that you are sure to get just the color
and texture you desire.
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