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5 essential tools for easy machine applique

Wasn’t that an awesome experiment yesterday? I had so much fun playing with the various settings for the length and width of the satin and zigzag stitches. Experimenting with the sewing machine is a great way to learn and when the sewing machine you’re using is the Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q, well, you know you’ll be satisfied every time with whatever stitch you choose.

The more you know, the more comfortable you are, and the better your work will be. You’ll find yourself thinking outside the box a wee bit more as well. Don’t be afraid!

Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q

Today, I’ll show you a few things on the Brilliance 75Q that I didn’t have time for yesterday. There was already so much information and I wanted you to appreciate the difference the variables I alluded to yesterday make in the stitches.

Starting and stopping a line of stitching

I’ve said it before, but it’s so important that it bears saying again. When you start and end a row of applique stitches, it’s a challenge to secure the end. However, the Brilliance 75Q has a FIX function that essentially ties a knot at the beginning and the end of each row of stitching. You can turn it on and off as you like. This is a priceless feature for applique.

The FIX function is ready to go

The Presser Feet

It’s crucial that you use the correct presser foot when working with the zigzag and satin stitch. If you’re stitching applique, then you want the Open Toe Applique foot which comes in a metal or a plastic version.

While you can’t appreciate the bottom of the plastic foot as it didn’t photograph well, you can see the groove on the bottom of the metal foot. That groove allows for the thickness of the stitch to smoothly flow under the presser foot without jamming.

If you’re using the Zigzag Stitch for regular seaming, then there’s a groove on the underside of the B foot to allow the stitches to pass smoothly beneath the foot.

You don’t want to mess with this one – use a foot with that groove on the bottom!

Not only does the stitch move smoothly under the presser foot, but the open toe area allows you to see right into all the corners and curves for a better stitch.

The metal and plastic versions of the Open Toe Applique Foot

You can see in the photo below that there’s nothing in front of the needle to hinder the view of where you want to stitch. I wouldn’t even consider stitching applique without one of these feet.

Open Toe Applique Foot makes it easy to see in all the corners and curves for easier stitching

The Stabilizer

I mentioned yesterday how important the stabilizer is to the success of the satin stitch. Again, I wouldn’t stitch a satin stitch without it. I like to use the Inspira Fast & Easy Tear A Way stabilizer for the satin stitch. It comes in different widths on the roll and it tears away effortlessly after the stitching is complete.

Inspira Fast & Easy Tear a Way stabilizer

Now here’s something else that you might enjoy. I know – it’s hard for us to absorb all this information. You arrive at the shop and you can’t remember which stabilizer that I suggested for you to buy. You can download an app to your smartphone (Android or iPhone) which has a stabilizer guide in the app.

The app is called JoyOS Advisor. It’s free. It has some sewing and quilting techniques included in the free app, but there’s also a Stabilizer Guide which will walk you through the various types of available stabilizers and where they are used. All that’s required is that you sign up for a mySewnet account – also free.

Isn’t this just the best? I love having all that information at my fingertips even when I’m not at the sewing machine.

The JoyOS Advisor menu on the smartphone app

Within each menu are sub-menus. Below is the sub-menu for the Stabilizer Guide. I can dig deeper and get specific information on each of the different types of stabilizers listed. This is extremely handy to have access to.

Stabilizer Guide sub-menu on the JoyOS Advisor smartphone app

Interactive Touch Screen

There’s so much information on the Interactive Touch Screen that you might think it would be overwhelming. It’s not. The information is very intuitively laid out so you’re only dealing with the information that you need at that moment.

The functions along the outer right and the bottom of the screen do not change. The inner, colored section will change depending on what stitch or technique you’re working with.

Along the right-hand side are functions for mirroring the stitches side to side and/or end to end. Functions to save and delete stitches are also lined up on the right-hand side. Along the bottom is the Exclusive Sewing Advisor that’ll help me with the settings of the fabric weights and types of fabrics that I’m working with.

What I want to show you is how easy it is to make changes to the stitches. In the photo below, I have the satin stitch on the screen. It’s B:10. The recommended foot is the B foot (it has the groove in the bottom). I see the needle size is 70 and next to the needle size, I can see a note that I should add stabilizer.

Notice that I get a diagram of the stitch on the screen as well. This will change as I increase or decrease the length and width of the stitch. See that red dot at the beginning of the line of stitching? That tells me that the satin stitch is sitting at the beginning of the stitch sequence. Something that’s very important depending on what I’m about to stitch.

To get it back to the start of the stitch sequence, I can hit the Stitch Restart button (the one with the half moon and the curved arrow shape below).

But what I’m really wanting to show you are the two numbers below that. The 0.8 is the stitch length and I can increase or decrease that by touching the arrows to the right of the number on the outer part of the interactive touch screen. The same flexibility exists for the stitch width which is currently set at 4.0. The width can be changed by touching the arrows beneath that number.

The Stitch Information Screen with default settings for the satin stitch

When the numbers are in black, that tells me that the stitch width and length are in the default settings of those stitches as you can see above.

In the photo below, one of the numbers is in red. I’ve changed the stitch width from the default and now it shows up in red. A great way to get back to the default if you can’t remember. Just cycle through the arrows until you get back to the black.

The stitch width is no longer set to the default setting as shown in red

One other great feature about that touch screen. Can you see the question mark in the top right? What’s that for? It’s the Quick Help. If I see something on the screen and I don’t know what it does or even what the name of the function is, I can touch the Question Mark and then whatever function that I need to know about. And I’ll get a pop-up screen providing me with the information.

Pop-up message from the Quick Help

Stitch Positioning

Here’s something else that I love about the Brilliance 75Q. Let’s say that I’m working on the satin stitch, but I need some help to guide my work. By touching the ALT function that’s circled below, the stitch width function becomes the Stitch Positioning function and I’ll be able to move the stitch within the parameters allowed by the stitch width.

In total there are 29 needle positions. The wider my stitch, the more limited I am in moving the stitch. I want to try and move the stitch until I can use the Open Toe foot as a guide. Watch the video below to get a better appreciation of it. Please note that in the video, the needle is in the leftmost position of the stitch. It’s using the width of the stitch to identify how far right or left the stitch can be moved.

Use the ALT function to switch between Stitch Width and Stitch Positioning

In the video, you can see how I move the stitch within the parameters of the presser foot to position the edge the stitch where I want it to be.

Stitch Positioning on the Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q

Check out how easy it is to move the needle position even if you’re using a non-straight stitch. The amount of repositioning is dependant on the width of your stitch.

Invisible Machine Applique

We’ve seen how amazing the Brilliance 75Q is at satin stitching and using decorative stitching to finish the edges of applique. Now let’s take a very quick peek at what you can do with the zigzag stitch and applique.

In the first sample below, I’ve used a very thin (80 weight thread) in the bobbin and a smoke invisible thread on top. I used a size 60/8 needle – a very tiny one. The applique shapes and the background are both flannels which are extremely forgiving when it comes to applique.

I used an Elongated Zigzag Stitch. The stitch width is 1.0 and the length is 1.5. That’s a very narrow stitch and you may find that a width of 1.5 works better for you.

Invisible machine applique is done with invisible thread and a zigzag stitch

The nice thing about this project was how the stitches became totally invisible. I needed to get it done in a hurry (so much for mindful sewing!) and instead of using a blanket stitch with a dark thread (which may have been preferable, but would have taken considerably longer to do), I used the invisible thread and a zigzag stitch. There’s nothing wrong with it and it’s holding up just fine!

Close-up of the invisible machine applique using invisible thread
Using invisible thread and a tiny zigzag, it was easy and fast to go around sharp points

On this next sample of invisible machine applique, I also used the smoke colored invisible thread on the top and a thin bobbin weight thread in the bobbin. If you look closely, you can just see the stitches. Don’t forget that this photo is larger than life. In real life, you can’t really see those stitches.

Again, I used the elongated zigzag stitch to replicate hand applique.

Invisible machine applique using an elongated zigzag stitch with invisible thread

This is the back of the work, so you can see what I mean by the elongated zigzag stitch.

The back of the block showing the elongated zigzag stitch

Normally I try and match the thread color to the applique shape. In the case of the fabric above, it was very busy so that’s why I chose the invisible thread. In this next sample, the applique shape was black. It was easy to match the black thread to the black applique shape. I also used an elongated zigzag stitch, but you can’t see it.

Invisible applique using black thread and an elongated zigzag

You can see the stitch from the back of the work. Remember the width is 1.0 and the length is 1.5. But you need to change those if that isn’t working for you.

Also, remember that 99% of the elongated zig-zag stitch falls on the applique shape.

An elongated zigzag stitch from the back of the work

That wraps up another day with the Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q. It’s so easy to make your work sing! I get perfect tension, perfect stitches which is a bit of shame in the case of invisible machine applique since you don’t get to see them! But that’s the point!

Make sure you come back tomorrow as I finish up a project that I’ve been working on.

Have a great day!


This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: Getting technical: the difference between satin stitch and zigzag stitch

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This post first appeared on QUILTsocial - Eat, Sleep, QUILT, Repeat, please read the originial post: here

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5 essential tools for easy machine applique


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