Machine embroidery applique is the perfect way to embellish holiday projects. It adds that extra glimmer and pizzazz that we all love and perfectly enhances wall hangings, table dressings, and other projects. I am making several of these Holiday Circles projects to be used as wall hangings and table runners for gifts and for my own home. You will see in this tutorial that it is so easy to do with a little bit of fabric and thread.
The Holiday Circles Machine Embroidery Applique set that was used in this project uses several of the AccuQuilt GO! holiday dies along with the 2-3-5” circle die. Each of the designs are stitched with only one or two thread changes, so that you can be working on other projects along side the embroidery machine while your project is stitching.
Supplies and Equipment:
GO! Holiday Circles 2 Embroidery Designs by Marjorie Busby
150 x 150 mm (6" x 6") Machine Embroidery Hoop
Stabilizer – soft tearaway or cutaway in a medium weight
Background fabric or material to be stitched (t-shirt, tote bag, apron, etc.)
Fabric prepared for applique (see step 1 below)
Water soluble fabric or school glue stick OR Paper backed iron-on fusible
Mini-iron or iron that will fit inside the embroidery hoop without harming the hoop.
AccuQuilt GO! Dies: 55012 GO! Circle-2”, 3”, 5”; 55341 GO! Bow 2 ½”. 3 ½”, 4 ½”; 55334 GO! Fun Flower; 55008 GO! Feathers; 55029 GO! Heart-2”, 3”, 4”; 55043 GO! Holiday Medley; 55007 GO! Round Flower; 55322 GO! Sleigh and Snowflakes; 55028 GO! Star-2”,. 3”, 4”
In this tutorial a lighter fabric and a darker thread are used so that the steps and stitches show clearly.
Step 1: Prepare and cut the applique shapes.
Use fabric that is presssed and starched or prepared with paper backed iron-on fusible. When using fabric prepared with iron-fusible, do not remove the paper backing before cutting. Place fabric so that the lengthwise fold is parallel to the long side of the die (link to AQ cutting instructions), cover with a mat, and roll the fabric through the AccuQuilt GO!® cutter. Remove the shape from the die and lay it on a flat surface.
Step 2: Prepare the embroidery hoop and stitch the placement line.
Hoop stabilizer and background fabric and attach the hoop to the machine. Load the file into the embroidery machine. The first thing that will stitch is a “placement line” or “placement stitch” which is a single line of stitches that outlines the applique shape. This line of stitches will be shown as a different color in the embroidery file, but should be stitched using the same color as the applique shape.
Step 3: Place the applique shape onto the background fabric.
Carefully remove the embroidery hoop from the machine and place it on a flat, pressing surface such as an ironing board or other pressing board. There are two ways to secure the applique shape to the background fabric.
Glue Method: Using the glue stick, rub a thin layer of glue just inside the placement lines. (see photo)
Fusible Method: Remove paper by scoring it with a stylus or similar instrument and tear paper from the back of the applique shape.
Place shape with the edge just inside and slightly on top of the placement stitches. You may need to manipulate the shape slightly to adjust for the natural amount of give in the fabric that occurs when cutting and placing the shape. Use a mini iron to secure the shape in place beginning with the edge and working toward the middle, easing in any fullness as needed.
Step 4: Stitch the first layer of applique.
Take the hoop to the machine, attach it to the machine, and stitch the first layer of applique as shown above.
Step 5: Stitch the second placement line and the second layer of applique.
While the hoop is still on the machine, stitch the second placement line using the desired thread color. This thread color may be the same as the first stitches or may be a different color as you choose. Follow Steps 3 and 4 to place and stitch the second layer of applique.
Step 6: Finishing the embroidery.
When all stitching is complete, remove the fabric and stabilizer from the embroidery hoop. Using a towel or other soft smooth surface, turn the embroidery facing down and press from the back side to remove any impressions made by the embroidery hoop. Remove the stabilizer by cutting or tearing away based on the type of stabilizer that you used.
To make quilt blocks when the embroidery is complete, the background fabric may be cut into a 6-1/2 inch square or on point for your project. The nice thing about cutting these into 6-1/2 inch squares is that you can use your 6-1/2 inch square die (Die 55000 6-1/2” Square—6” finished) to make setting squares for this on point project. If you have stitched this onto an apron, pillow top, tote bag, or other object, your project is finished.
There are so many fun and easy things you can make with these circles. For more ideas and tutorials, visit my blog at bluefeatherquiltstudio. And if you'd like to make the table runner quilt shown above, you will find instructions here.