Machine Embroidery Appliqué Ideas: Cookies and Patches

This season, use machine embroidery appliqué to turn ready-made items into handmade holiday gifts and decor with these fun embroidery appliqué ideas. Here are some fun machine embroidery appliqué ideas for holiday gifts and decor!

Machine Embroidery Appliqué Ideas: Christmas Cookies

1. Make free-standing cookies or gift tags

I used the Christmas Cookies machine embroidery designs from Sew Inspired by Bonnie to make “gingerbread cookies.” They are adorable holiday decor, or, simply add a ribbon to the top and turn them into gift tags or tree ornaments.

This technique is easily accomplished with a standard machine embroidery appliqué design. You will need to rearrange the stitching order, so it’s important to understand how the appliqué will stitch out.

Want to try this technique? Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Stitch the placement lines, secure the appliqué fabric, and then stitch all interior embellishments.

Step 2: Add the back by placing fabric on the back side of the hoop and select and stitch the tack down stitches again. This is where you will add the ribbon if this is to be a gift tag or ornament. Trim the fabric from the back (be careful with that ribbon).

Step 3: Using a matching bobbin thread, select and stitch the satin or other edge stitch around the outside of the appliqué.

Holiday Embroidery on Towel and Potholder

2. Use free-standing machine embroidery appliqué patches to embellish ready-made items

These patches are wonderful on ready-made items like towels, kitchen and table linens and pillowcases, or use them on tote bags, jackets, vests and other clothing. The options are endless! One of my favorite things to do is buy pre-quilted fabric (a homespun texture is very popular now), cut it to size for place mats or a table runner, stitch appliqués in place as desired and bind. Such a quick and easy way to add Christmas cheer to your table!

How to do it:

All you have to do is make the machine embroidery appliqué patch on water-soluble stabilizer rather than onto a fabric. One of the advantages of adding patches to ready-made items is that there are no embroidery stitches or stabilizer on the back side. This makes this method particularly nice for children’s clothes. Another advantage is that you don’t have to use a topping on napped fabrics.

Step 1: Make your patch by stitching the complete machine embroidery appliqué design onto water-soluble stabilizer. You will need to add a cutaway stabilizer underneath the fabric. This stabilizer acts as a base for the embroidery stitches. When you trim the excess fabric from around the tack down stitches, you will also trim away the cutaway stabilizer.

Step 2: When the embroidery is completed, trim or tear away the water-soluble stabilizer. Place the appliqué patch on the item of your choice and stitch over the satin stitches with a zigzag or a blanket stitch using polyester monofilament thread. Sulky monofilament is a polyester thread that has proven to be very durable over time for me.

Embroidered Holiday Towel

3. Use machine embroidery appliqué to personalize towels

A very classic and sophisticated look for towels is to stitch a decorative band of fabric across the towel or attach a band of fabric to the bottom of the towel. Holiday designs can be stitched on the band or machine embroidery appliqué patches can be centered over the band. These appliqué patches can be made as detailed above, or can be a monogrammed fabric patch.

Some machine embroidery appliqué tips:

1. Choose designs with smooth, simple shapes.

If your design has an embellishment like the bow on the gingerbread girl’s head, you can omit those stitches and add a button or tie a real ribbon and hand stitch it into place. The appliqué and embellishment stitches must be on the appliqué fabric or they will unravel when the water-soluble stabilizer dissolves.

2. There are two kinds of water-soluble stabilizers you can use.

One is a mesh and the other is a translucent stabilizer. Both of them work equally well for making machine embroidery appliqué patches. It’s a good idea to leave the water-soluble stabilizer in the appliqué patch until after it has been stitched onto the ready-made object.

3. Use die-cut shapes.

Using machine embroidery designs for die-cut shapes is an even quicker and easier way to make the machine embroidery appliqué projects seen here.

4. Take advantage of your stitch stimulator.

When making cookies, gift tags or ornaments, use the stitch simulator in your embroidery software to plan the order of stitching that you will need. Make notes or print out the color sequence so that you will know which color/stitch sequence to select for the repeat tack down and then the satin stitch.

5. Use matching thread.

Don’t forget to use a matching top and bobbin thread for satin stitches on cookies, gift tags and ornaments.

6. Use polyester monofilament thread.

When stitching the machine embroidery appliqué patch to the ready-made item, use polyester monofilament thread as the top thread and a matching thread in the bobbin. Set your machine tension to 3-4 so that the top tension is looser and the bobbin thread does not show on the top.

7. Experiment with your embroidery software.

I took the Bluprint class Digitizing Machine Embroidery Designs with Cookie Gaynor, and it was a wonderful way to help understand digitizing, how embroidery files are designed, and ways they can be changed by the user.

Are you stitching up any machine embroidered holiday gifts and decor this year?

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3 Responses to “Machine Embroidery Appliqué Ideas: Cookies and Patches”
  1. Sara

    I have done appliques, they’re lovely & convenient, but I was wandering if it could be done by attaching for example wonder-under, on my software make an outline to place it & then finalize, what do you think? Thanks.

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