Get in the know with appliqué embroidery

In this month’s Embroidery Column, Darcie Mullins and Natalie Greetham of Madeira UK, share their knowledge on appliqué embroidery.

Appliqué has fast become a popular form of garment decoration in the fashion industry.

Appliqué is a French term which means to join or attach different pieces of fabric and was used to patch over holes or strengthen threadbare areas of fabric. Appliqué is usually associated with quilting; however, embroiderers have increasingly favored this technique as it can add contrast, texture and dimension to any garment.

Appliqué has many advantages, such as, a lower stitch count, shorter production times, increased output and reduced production costs. Like any form of speciality, embroidery appliqué can come with some difficulties, like alignment of fabric with the embroidery design and then the extra process of having to trim away the fabric. But, there are now several types of tear away fabrics available to make this process quicker and easier.

Tear away appliqué fabrics offer another dimension in mixed media garment embellishment and can add contrast between the texture of the threads and the finish of the fabrics. The fabrics are perfect for direct garment application and look great on bags and baseball caps, giving a unique and modern finish.

The key points to consider when using applique are:

  • Needles – using a size 60 or 70 sharp point needle is recommended to create a clean finish with synthetic tear away fabrics such as Vellutex, Glitterlux and Pelltex.
  • Make sure you digitise a decorative running stitch on the inside of your satin stitch border! This will lock in the appliqué in the center of your design. Keep in mind these are tear away fabrics and the boarder is designed to sufficiently perforate the fabric for easy removal. Without this anchoring running stitch inside, the appliqué may become loose with washing.
  • Once the design is complete, the excess can be easily removed by making a cut up to the satin stitched boarder and the rest will pull away smoothly.

Being able to offer your customers different techniques keeps you ahead of the competition and is a great opportunity to generate new business.

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