“Thank You!”

My weekly entries to this blog have now come to an end. For almost five years, you and I have shared a weekly sewing journey together.  The point of the blog has always been to keep in touch with all our wonderful customers and, hopefully, give you some further insight into the features and capabilities of your machine.  Along the way, we have talked about sewing and machine techniques for everything from embroidery to quilting, from home décor and garments to upholstery.  There have been a core of customers who have read this blog each and every week and for that, I am honored and I sincerely thank you.

I wanted to make sure, if you wanted, you knew how you might be able to save some of the blog entries that you found especially helpful so you would have them after the website is gone.  I used a PC for this, but a Mac should work the same way.  Simply highlight what you would like to save on the blog page and choose Copy (for me, that is CTRL + C).  Open a Word document or something else where you can save the information and paste onto that page (for me, CTRL + V).  Voila!  It is at your fingertips, words and pictures!  I would imagine the website’s blog will not be in operation for long after the store closes, so if saving entries is something that appeals to you, you may want to do this sooner than later!  The only other thing you may not be able to access once the website is gone are the links I put into many of the blog entries.  If you are not able to access them from your saved document, then these would need to be copied by following the link in the blog and then copying the URL in the bar across the top of the page to save into your document.  When I did my test save, the links showed up as active, though, and I was able to follow them successfully.  I don’t know how much of that is due to the blog pages still being live on the website.  I do hope this helps.

Again, thank you so much for your time reading the blog and for your patronage of the store.  I’ve enjoyed teaching so many of you in person through our machine classes, creative classes and private lessons as well as visiting with you through your computer each week with the blog!  I hope you enjoy the upcoming holidays with family and friends and, of course, Happy Sewing!

Cindy

“More Nuts and Bolts”

Today I’ve been working on two table runners; one pieced and one embroidered.  They are in the “design as you go” style; not following any commercial pattern.  I thought I would share with you some of the things I do to make my sewing easier and more predictable when sewing in such a fluid style!  I hope you find some tips that you might be able to use for your own projects. 

As you can see, there are several projects on the cutting table (i.e. the dinning room table) at one time today. Let’s start with the pieced table runner designed with the blue and grey blocks. Before you get after me about my really crocked seams, I want to let you know the blocks are not sewn, just laid out 🙂 I wanted to make sure no unexpected secondary pattern was coming through.
Since there was a lot going on pattern wise in the fabrics, I decided to keep the cutting simple. I cut all my pieces the same measurement: 3″ tall by 6″ long. This runner’s top ended up needing 48 blocks to complete.
The top of the runner is made up of only two blocks. This is my first block…
…and this is my second block. After creating the blocks, I simply put them together by alternating them, block #1, block #2, etc. I tried very hard not to have two of the same fabrics next to one another. (The material I used came from two small fat quarter packs: one in a blue colorway and one in a grey. Each fat quarter pack contained 5 different fabrics.)
Here I have sewn together three blocks, #1 – #2 – #1
Here I have sewn together two sets of three blocks each. Blocks #1 and #2 alternate top to bottom and side to side. When piecing like this, I press my seams to one side, nest them when possible, and worry more about reducing bulk in the piece rather than following any rules about the direction in which I press the seams.
My finished runner top is 15.5″ tall by 42″ long. I will not be adding any borders; just the batting, backing and binding. I will be quilting with an all over embroidery quilting design edge to edge.
Next steps will be to add the quilt sandwich and head to the embroidery machine for some all over quilting before I put on the binding. On to the next table runner!
My next table runner top has three embroidered blocks in the center flanked by a red flange on each vertical edge of the blocks. The flange was cut 1″ wide and folded in half. Since the color is a high contrast to the blocks, I wanted to make sure the flange was straight on each block, so I basted each flange first before final sewing.
Since I was using the adjustable 1/4″ piecing foot, I was able to move my needle to the right, creating a scant 1/4″ seam and lengthened my stitch for my basting. When I do the final sewing of the blocks together, I will move the needle back to center needle position and return the length to 3.0 (I always use a stitch length of 3.0 when piecing blocks that have been embroidered on batting.) The final seam will run alongside the basting, allowing me to remove the basting quite easily.
Here are two of the blocks joined together with the flange in between. The seam is quite bulky. In this case, there would be a big bump in my table runner if I pressed this seam to one side. When pressing the seams of embroidered blocks that use batting, I always use my wooden point presser and lots of steam. This is the “before” picture….
…and this is the “after” picture. Pressing on the wooden point presser does not allow any give in the fabric, thus producing a very sharp press.
The flange’s seam is pressed open on the back while the flange itself is pressed towards the embroidered blocks on the front. (Due to the padding of the batting, you will never get a perfectly flat embroidery on a block like this. You will also not be able to add quilting to blocks like this so you will have to attach it to the backing using stitch-in-the-ditch).
This runner will have borders. I like my borders to equal 1/2 the size of my embroidered block. In this case, my blocks finish at 8″ so I want my two borders combined to equal 4″. I cut my inner border at 1.5″ and my outer border at 2.5″. I cut long width of fabric strips and attach them where needed. I never cut my border pieces to the exact length needed until they are attached.
Once sewn, I use my ruler and rotary cutter to trim the border to the exact amount needed. This allows the borders to lay very flat since there is no stretching of fabric necessary to make the pieces fit.
My three embroidered center blocks were squared up at 8.5″ by 8.5″ each with a finished size of 8″ per block after sewing. The flange in between each block added nothing. Adding the borders gives me a finished top of 14″ tall by 30″ long.
Here is the finished top. Next thing to do is to add batting, backing, some extra quilting on the batting/backing only (under the center embroidered blocks to hold the batting and backing together there) and then quilting through all layers all around the borders. Add some binding and I’m golden!

I hope this gives you some ideas that may jump start your own projects or make them a little easier to complete. My only hard and fast rule is “don’t sew your finger!”, so as long as I follow that rule, I’m successful. Have a great week and Happy Sewing!

“A Beginner Again?”

I’ve shared with you in previous blogs that I have been sewing and embroidering for quite a while.  I am an eclectic sewer, sewing whatever comes up that week.  I don’t generally have a lot of planned projects, so no two weeks ever seem to be the same in my sewing room.  Last week it was clothing for me, onesies for my youngest niece’s little baby (who has outgrown the onesies I made for her earlier in the summer) and a cardigan for my oldest niece’s birthday.  This week I will be sewing baby gifts for my neighbor and helping to choose fabrics to decorate a nursery with my eldest niece (did you notice the baby theme going on right now?).  So it may surprise you to hear that this week I have been watching tutorials on beginning embroidery and beginning sewing.  Why would I do that?  Doesn’t that seem like a waste of time?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, because I must admit I do fast forward through parts of some of the videos because I do know the material all too well, but no because I have always appreciated learning new ways of doing things; maybe in ways I have never thought of myself, so the beginning videos allow me to see techniques through the eyes of others.  I am reminded of presser feet I have not used in a long time, adjustments to the machine I have not used recently and sometimes, a whole new approach or a new tip that makes me really glad I took the time to be a beginner again.  Here are a couple of the videos from YouTube I have been watching this week.  They are in no particular order and may or may not be of interest to you, but I thought I would share them nonetheless.  You may want to think about what you are most interested in with your sewing and then find a beginner video made by someone who knows their stuff.  Happy Sewing!

Karen Charles Facebook Live recording “Sew with Thick and Heavy Fabrics” 

Karen’s explanation of the Non-stick Glide Foot  H is worth taking note of.  If your machine did not come with this foot, I highly recommend you consider that optional purchase.  I have used this foot in some of the most unexpected circumstances and it has never failed to save the day when my clear feet and metal feet simply were too “sticky” on my fabric to produce an acceptable stitch.

Becky from Power Tools with Thread, “Easy Free Standing Lace Ornaments from Designs by JuJu – Beginner Machine Embroidery” 

Becky’s tip for using T-pins is exactly why I appreciate the hoop clips used by Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff machines.

“Tiffany’s Quilting Life”, “How is it I get Quilts done so Fast?? This is how!” 

Tiffany makes great use of the packaging that comes with her layer cakes.  I always appreciate a new and simple way to keep things all together!

“Craft Room Habits You Need to Break”   The Crafty Organizer

This video has suggestions for all over my house, not just my sewing room.  Now, I just need to find some follow through on my part!

To All Our Valued Customers:

To All Our Valued Customers,

After much consideration, we feel it’s time for us to close our business. It has been a pleasure serving our community and we sincerely thank you for the loyalty you have shown us over the past 30 years.

The last day we can accept machines for service and repair will be November 24th.  We will be closing the door to the Stafford retail location on December 13th, 2021.

We are having a Sale beginning November 14th in an effort to clear out our entire inventory and fixtures.  Our ETSY Shop will continue to operate offering many of the same items we have in our Stafford location.

We’ll be offering large discounts on all items and hope you will come take advantage of these savings.

If you have any questions about the sale or anything else, we can be reached at 540-288– 2022 or at info@bonnysews.com

“When Would I Do That?”

In this blog, we’ve talked about the technique of gathering fabric in a number of ways, but what if gathering the fabric is just too much for what you want as an end result in your project?  What if you want a hint of gathering without the tucks that go along with that technique?  What if you just want to make sure the fabric in your quilt, garment or home décor item fits in and lies flat with the surrounding fabric in the project?  This is where the “art” in the art of sewing comes in.  The art is not only the creative possibilities that are open to the sewer; it’s knowing how to achieve the desired results using the correct technique.  Let me give you an example.

I am making an open-front cardigan made from knit fabric for my oldest niece’s birthday next week and the sleeves fit into openings that have no side seam underneath them.  This is a very simple pattern that has only one seam; in the center back, so the sleeves must be put into the garment as a circle of fabric that fits into a circular opening.  I don’t want any tucks in the sleeves from traditional gathering and the pattern does not call for gathering, but the sleeve is larger than the opening.  What to do?  Use the machine’s feed teeth to ease the sleeve fabric into the sleeve opening.  This is done by sewing with the sleeve against the feed teeth without any IDT System or walking foot system engaged.   It usually doesn’t take anything but this change in which fabric is against the feed teeth to achieve this type of easing of fabric.  The rule for easing is:  the fabric that is the largest, that is meant to fit into the smaller space, must be against the feed teeth with no other fabric moving technology employed while sewing.  Let me show you what I mean.

This is the cardigan I’m making. Notice in the pictures that the sleeves have no gathers at all.
The instructions do not mention gathering, or easing for that matter, and the illustration shows no gathers in the stitched sleeve.
This is the sleeve, folded at the seam, that needs to fit into….
…this much smaller opening.
This is how the sleeve looks pinned into the opening, matching all notches. Doesn’t look as if it’s going to fit, does it?
First thing at the machine is to disengage the IDT System, which is the built in walking feature so the sleeve and the opening do not move through the feed teeth evenly.
Next is to expose the free arm so the sleeve opening will move freely without bunching up. You cannot stretch any of the fabric as you baste the sleeve. You will want to stretch the opening to help everything fit, but if you do, the finished product will be unattractively wavy. (Wonder how I know that!)
I used my 5/8″ seam guide foot but moved my needle position to the right so I could baste the sleeve with a 1/2″ seam. When I move this basted sleeve to finish the seam with my serger, I will simply cut off the basting stitch and not have to use my seam ripper to remove it. Remember, the sleeve opening is on the top against my presser foot and the sleeve is on the bottom, against the feed teeth.
This is the basted sleeve in the opening. I know you can still see where the sleeve is larger than the opening, but there are no tucks or gathers on the right side. On to the serger!
Since I already have the sleeve basted, it doesn’t matter what runs along the feed teeth. I’m simply cutting off the fabric here and finishing the seam. No easing is taking place in this step.
Here’s how the finished sleeve looks on the inside of the garment. Very different that it was, isn’t it? No tucks, no gathers, just a smooth seam. It’s just like magic!
This is how the sleeve looks on the right side of the garment. No tucks or gathers on this side either. Once it is on an actual body instead of on a dress form, it will fill out beautifully.
The finished product, ready to keep my niece warm on a brisk day!

Remember, this easing technique can be used for any type of sewing, not just for making garments. It is a go-to technique anytime one fabric is larger than another and they both need to fit together as if they were the same size. Happy Sewing!

“Conquering the Casing”

For years, whenever I needed to create a casing into which I needed to insert elastic, I dreaded the task.  Making the casing was not the source of the dread:  it was inserting the elastic.  I’ve used safety pins, bodkins, fishing line type products, but none seemed to make the job that much easier for me.  Since elastic has so much stretch, the casing needs to be much longer than the needed measurement over which the cased elastic must fit.  This often created so much bulk in the material through which I was weaving the elastic that my hands would cramp, especially when working with heavy materials such as coating wool.  Let’s not even talk about the frustration in trying to weave the elastic past each seam!  Not to mention that when I had finished threading the elastic through the casing and had sewn the ends of the elastic together to form a circle, my elastic would invariably be twisted.  UGH!  After getting up to walk around and calm myself, I would need to cut the elastic and start again.  Finally, I got smart and changed the way I thought about the process.  Let me share my now go-to method for encasing elastic into any material, thick or thin, without all the drama!

My example is a pair of elastic waist pants I’m making today. Once the pieces are cut out, I press the leg hems and the waist casing before any assembly begins. It’s much easier to press small flat pieces of material before they are sewn together. I press my waist casings a 1/2″ wider than my elastic so nothing binds while I’m wearing it.
I like my creases to be sharp, so I always use a wooden clapper after steaming my fabric.
After my pants have been fully assembled it is time for the elastic to be inserted into the casing at the waist. I cut the elastic and overlap it by 1″.
I like to use a zig-zag stitch to sew a square with two diagonal lines to hold my elastic together. It’s not pretty, but it holds beautifully!
Next step is to mark the quarter points on the elastic. Notice my center back is not at the elastic joint. I like to put that a little to one side of the center back seam. It’s more comfortable to wear and less bulky to sew.
I turn the elastic circle so all the quarter marks are on the inside of the circle, facing one another. (The blue at the top of the picture is just a folded piece of bias tape to mark the center back when I’m putting on the pants.) I put the top of the elastic at the folded edge of the casing, matching my quarter mark to the center back seam…
…fold the fabric over the elastic and stitch directly down the middle of the center back seam, using a simple straight stitch while sewing over the elastic. I back stitch to make sure this is secure.
I repeat this at each of the other three seams, making sure the elastic is tucked in right along the fold of the casing and sewing directly down the middle of the side seams and center front seam. Remember, I turned the marked elastic inward on itself so all the quarter markings were facing one another. I know that when I place the mark at the seam, I need to see the green mark on the elastic to make sure nothing got twisted.
It’s not very pretty yet, but my elastic is very secure at each of the seams and when I finish, I will have perfectly gathered material! Time to sew the casing closed!
I like to change from a straight stitch to a simple zig-zag stitch for this step. I like to change the length to 6.0 mm.
I put my left hand on the seam quarter behind the presser foot and I put my right hand on the upcoming seam quarter in front of the presser foot and pull firmly until my material becomes flat on the machine with my elastic touching the inside of the fold of the casing. I cannot sew over material if the needle is flexing or it will break, so, I pull the material from the front and back evenly so the needle is sewing on a flat piece of material. You must stretch your material equally between your hands and move with the machine’s feed teeth. Once you get the hang of this, you can insert elastic into a casing in about 2 to 3 minutes with no twisting or escaping from the casing.
This is how the piece looks if I take my hands away. Just remember to keep the needle sewing on flat fabric and you’ll be golden! I do not catch my elastic in this sewing. The elastic is sewn in place only at the quarter seams.
My elastic is now encased in the fabric, evenly distributed between the four seams of the waist. It will never twist and it will remain perfectly gathered for the life of the garment.
I don’t have a pants form, but I thought you might like to see how the pants look when pinned to my dress form. Perfectly even gathers!

By using this technique I have been able to reduce the time it takes me to make a pair of elastic waist pants down to less than an hour from cut out to wearing. My frustration level is much lower so I’m a happier sewer and my clothes look more professional. Happy Sewing!

“Feet and Ankles”

Sewers have such an advantage over non-sewers when it comes to the uniqueness of their projects.  You just can’t go out to a store and buy something as unique as something you make yourself.  Each of us, even if we are following a pattern tend to add a touch here and there to the project that makes it our own.  The presser feet for our machines give us this ability to express our creativity in ways that make our projects look professional, yet are faster and easier to make.  But what about when you need a particular foot and it is not available for your machine?  I have found a great solution for me with my Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff machines that has worked really well ever since I had the idea and gave it a try.  When I owned only my Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Royale and did not have my Pfaff machine yet, I talked with Frank and asked if I could use Pfaff feet on my Husqvarna Viking machine.  I knew the Pfaff feet attached to the machine differently so I could not use the ankle I had, so the answer was to purchase a Pfaff ankle to use on my Husqvarna Viking machine.  Viola!  I could now purchase and use some of those unique Pfaff feet on my Diamond Royale just with the addition of a new ankle.  Since both machines are made by the same manufacturer, this plan worked.  I’m not sure this would be successful going across different manufacturers due to differences in feed teeth placement and other engineering decisions, but it worked great between my Husqvarna Viking and my Pfaff.  I’m sure this will not work on every machine throughout the machine lines, but if you are interested in the possibility for your machine, give Frank a call and see what he says!  Have a great week and Happy Sewing!

The ankle and foot on the left are from my Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Royale and the ankle and foot on the right are from my Pfaff Creative Icon. Notice the differnce in the ankles in the way they accept the presser foot.
The Husqvarna Viking ankle uses an alligator type of clip to hold the foot. The foot slides back and up to attach to the ankle and moves forward and down to leave the ankle.
The Pfaff ankle needs the presser foot to snap into the grooves on either side of the ankle. The foot goes directly up to snap into the grooves and is pulled directly down to detach from the ankle.
The feet, too, are made differently for their specific ankle. The Husqvarna Viking foot has a solid bar that slides onto the ankle.
The Pfaff foot has two bars that snap onto its ankle.
This is the shank of the machine, where the ankles attach. The Husqvarna Viking and the Pfaff machines I own have exactly the same shank design. This is the reason the ankles fit both machines.
This is how I’m used to using my Pfaff: with the Pfaff ankle and foot.
This is how my Pfaff looks with the Husqvarna Viking ankle and foot attached.

It is very important to note that, when using an ankle and foot on a different machine than the one for which it was intended, you the sewer must be vigilant. My Husqvarna Viking feet are designed for a stitch width of no more than 7mm. My Pfaff machine is capable of 9mm stitch width. I, not the machine, need to keep this in mind. If I choose a stitch that is too wide for the foot I have put on the other machine, there is no warning light or beep to keep me from having a possibly catastrophic mishap. If the needle hits the foot while sewing, there will be damage, so again, be alert! As long as you the sewer can stay alert, I think you will enjoy this fun, creative possibility for your e

“Experimentation”

I enjoy the unique projects I can create with my machines.  I especially appreciate the ability to create unique trims for my projects.  With the cooler weather today, I started thinking about making a jacket to keep me warm on those early morning walks with our German Shepherd and I started my design process by turning on my Creative Icon and going through the decorative stitches on the machine.  I came across the ribbon stitches and had a thought:  “What if I substituted yarn for the ribbon with these stitches?”  The instructions for the ribbon stitches say ribbons between 2-5 mm wide can be used (which is 1/8” – ¼”).  Could I use yarn that was between 1/8” and ¼”?  I chose 3 different yarns and a sample piece of fabric and began to experiment.  Let’s see what you think!

I like to experiment on white fabric so I can clearly see any issues that may arise. This material is pocket lining, which is a medium weight cotton. I drew a line down the center of my 6″ square with my heat-erase pen and used a piece of tear away stabilizer on the back.
I disengaged the dual feed and put on foot 2A, per the manual’s instructions.
The groove on the back allowed the yarn to feed freely and evenly.
I really didn’t care which stitch I used for this experiment, so I just chose to use the first one. I was most interested to see if the yarn would work in place of the ribbon.
To help keep your ribbon stitches straight, the instructions say to put the middle red line on the foot on the drawn line on your fabric.
Remember to engage the “needle down” function on the machine for this technique!
Don’t be concerned if your foot leaves the line when it travels right.
When it comes back to the left, it will find the line again!
This yarn has a chenille-like texture. It is 1/4″ wide. This is how it looks horizontally….
…and this is how it looks vertically.
I next tried a worsted weight yarn that was 1/8″ wide.
I lastly tried a bulky yarn that measured 1/4″ in width.
The bulky weight yarn tended to pull apart a bit as it went under the presser foot.
This is the final product with all the markings erased. I know which one I like the best. What about you?

Bottom line…….you can use 1/8″ – 1/4″ yarn in place of ribbon, at least for the single ribbon stitches. I’m going to play around a bit more with the chenille yarn (the center one in the above picture) since that was my favorite. Judging how the yarn behaved as it went under the presser foot, I would only use yarn for the single ribbon stitches when using the 1/4″ yarn. The worsted weight yarn would probably work well for the double ribbon stitches. I’m not sure how the triple ribbon stitches and yarn would fair! What will you experiment with this week? Happy Sewing!

“Before the Thread Goes Through the Needle”

If you have sewn for a long time, you probably remember the novelty of thread being sold on cones for the first time.  Years ago, if you were a home sewer and were not involved a sewing business, you simply had never seen thread sold on a large cone.  Since small thread spools were the only way thread was sold back then, if you owned a sewing machine, your only option for top thread delivery was an upright post.  Now, of course, threads are sold in a large variety of spool and cone sizes and shapes so the newer machines reflect the flexibility needed to produce excellent stitches.  If you, for instance, start experiencing top thread delivery problems while using your machine, you may want to change how your thread is moving up to and through the machine.  If your thread is leaving the spool in big loops, you may have the thread positioned in the wrong way for the thread to unwind smoothly.  If your thread is breaking frequently and you have already changed the needle, the thread may be leaving the spool with too much tension causing it to leave the spool in fits and starts.  Take a look at the following pictures and, if you have experienced any of these issues lately, see how you may avoid these annoyances in the future. 

The vertical spool pin on my 1994 Husqvarna Viking was the only type of spool pin available on machines for many years. Since this machine was one of the first embroidery machines for the home market…
…it was the first machine I had ever owned that also had a horizontal spool pin option available. This pin was designed to handle the newest threads of the time; embroidery thread that was cross wound.
With all the newer threads on the market, how you position your needle thread on the machine makes a big difference in its smooth delivery. Did you notice that there are no two spools that are the same size, even in this small sampling?
The vertical spool pin works best for “stacked” thread spools. This means the thread is loaded onto the spool in a stack with each thread stacked on the one below it. These spools generally do not feed their thread well if the thread is laid on its side or if it is pulled off the spool from the top. In fact, pulling the thread off the spool from the top may cause the thread to come off in fits and starts, increasing the likelihood of thread breaks.
The horizontal spool pin is the best option for cross wound threads. If you have an older machine, the spool pin may be on the back, just like on my old machine. But today…
…the horizontal option looks more like this. Did you notice how you can see an X pattern in the thread? This is cross wound thread and it does not come off smaller spools, like this one, in a smooth manner unless it is exiting the spool horizontally. If you try to use this thread on a vertical spool pin, the thread will either loop off the spool in uncontrolled loops or it will catch unevenly, coming off in fits and starts. If you must use this type of spool vertically, a spool cap is almost a necessity.
Although this cone of thread is cross wound, it performs best on a vertical pin with a longer thread path; provided by the thread stand. It works well due to how the thread is loaded onto the cone (at an angle from the top) and also because the thread stand allows the thread the extra time needed for it to relax as it exits the spool before it needs to travel through the machine. Thread cones do not perform at their best when used horizontally nor when they are used vertically without a thread stand.
If your machine does not have a thread stand option, you may want to consider purchasing an after market thread stand. The one on the left is made to fit onto the vertical spool pin of a Pfaff/Husqvarna Viking machine and the thread stand on the right is designed to sit on the table next to the machine. Each gives the thread a longer path to the machine, allowing the thread to relax more. Sometimes, when using a thread stand, your thread may still be a bit unruly, in which case you should also use a thread net around the spool. This is especially helpful with cones of monofilament thread.

I hope you find these examples helpful! Happy Sewing!

“Stable Decision”

I have spoken before on the use of stabilizers for embroidery (see June 27,2021 blog): what kind to use for different materials, when to use it and why.  Lately I have seen several online quilting videos that have talked about the need to stabilize appliques as they are applied to a quilting project and they all mentioned using printer paper as the stabilizer.  For those of you who enjoy paper piecing projects, I’ll bet you can say why paper as a stabilizer might not be the best idea!  Yes, it does a great job of creating a dull needle; fast.  Stitching paper is exactly the same as using your best sewing shears to cut out paper valentines!  Your needle dulls very quickly and needs to be changed often.  The biggest problem, of course, with a dull needle is that it can create pulls in the fabric as you stitch and those pulls, like a run in a pair of pantyhose, will never be able to be fixed.  Once a thread in the weave of a piece of fabric is pulled, it will always show.  It really doesn’t take much time stitching paper to realize this needle dulling effect.  If you are planning to use appliques in your next quilting project, I would like to suggest you use, instead of paper, tear away stabilizer when sewing your applique to your project.  It doesn’t matter whether you are planning to use a straight stitch for a raw edge applique, blanket stitch, zig-zag or a decorative stitch to secure the applique.  Using a tear away stabilizer will give you excellent results, in my experience. 

Why use a stabilizer at all?  If you have ever seen an applique that is wavy around the edges, not in a good way, you are looking at an applique that was not supported properly when it was being stitched to the project.  Either the fabric stretched while it was being sewn or the stitch was too dense for the material used without using stabilizer.  Now, I’m not referring only to appliques done with an embroidery machine.  Embroiders need to use stabilizer every time they embroider.  This suggestion is for all machine attached appliques whether that applique is on a garment, an item of home décor (such as a pillow) or on a quilting project of some type.  If you are not a machine embroider, you may not have tear away stabilizer just lying around your house, but it is the least expensive of the stabilizers and is worth the investment in your project since tear away stabilizer is meant to be stitched.  It doesn’t cause any problems for your machine or your needle.  It tears away very easily (thus the name!) and creates a supported surface upon which the machine can stitch.  I hope you will give this a try for your next applique project! 

An example of a tear away stabilizer. Tear away comes in a variety of weights and widths.

Happy Sewing!