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How 2 Stitch a Multiple Fabric Applique Design

Posted by Janay on 9/20/2014
Are you new to machine embroidery? Have you been nervous to try an applique design? Well have no fear! The following is a step-by-step tutorial for stitching a three-fabric applique design from start to finish. Read it carefully and find a surprise gift at the end!

First, gather your supplies. In addition to the design file and color chart, you will need embroidery thread, fabric, scissors, and stabilizer hooped with your base item.

We recommend preparing your fabrics ahead of time with a fusible product. This step makes trimming easier, prevents fraying along the edge of the fabric, and adheres fabric to the item to prevent wrinkles. We use Heat'n Bond Lite. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for fusing to the backside of fabric.

Once it has cooled down, be sure to remove the backing paper!

Refer to the included color chart for your design:

In general our applique designs start with all the placement and tack down stitches for the fabric portions of the design:
  • The pink steps are single running placement stitches showing where the fabric should go
  • The green steps are double running tack down stitches that attach the fabric to the hooped item
It is important that these steps alternate colors in the design file so that your machine stops between steps, BUT you do not need to use pink and green thread! Pick a neutral color and use it for all placement/tack down stitches. (Once all fabric is tacked down and trimmed, then use different thread colors for the remaining color stops to coordinate with your fabric choices.)

Run Design Step 1: single running stitch to show fabric placement for the outer wings.

Lay your first fabric down, making sure the entire placement stitch is covered. (You may wish use a spritz of spray adhesive to help hold it in place.)

Run Design Step 2: double running stitch to attach the first fabric to the item.

Remove the hoop from the machine but do NOT unhoop your item. Trim around the tack down stitches as close as you can without snipping them.

Return the hoop to the machine and run Design Step 3: placement stitches for the inner wings.

Lay your second fabric down, making sure the entire placement stitch is covered.

Run Design Step 4: tack down stitches for the second fabric. Then carefully trim.

Return hoop to machine and run Design Step 5: placement stitches for the body of butterfly.

Lay your third fabric down, making sure the entire placement stitch is covered.

Run Design Step 6: tack down stitches for third fabric, then trim.

At this point with all fabric trimmed out, it is good to fuse the fabric in place before moving forward. Depending on the size of your hoop, you may need to use a small travel or craft iron.

NOW thread color matters! Pick threads that coordinate with the fabrics you have chosen and what you want for the remaining details. You may follow our color chart for inspiration or do your own thing.

Please note that our satin stitch steps start with a double pass zig zag underlay to provide a nice foundation for the satin stitches which follow.

Design Step 7: satin stitches for the antenna

Design Step 8: satin stitches for the outside wings

Design Step 9: satin stitches for the inside wings

Design Step 10: satin stitches for the body

Design Step 11: face details

Depending on what model embroidery machine you have, you may have to trim the jump stitches between elements yourself when the design is completed.

Sit back and admire your work!

Now it is your turn! Here is a FREE DESIGN for you to try! This Baby Butterfly applique comes in three size, one for each of the following hoops: 4x4, 5x7, 6x10. Also included is the color chart for the design as well as a printable PDF of this How2Guide. Click the butterfly design image below to download the zip file. We would LOVE to see pictures of your completed butterfly applique! You can email them to [email protected], post them on our Facebook Page or share them in our Facebook Fan Group

Hoop                          Size                             Stitches
4x4                       3.91" x 3.70"                          7022
5x7                       4.99" x 5.26"                          9322
6x10                     5.98" x 6.32"                        12297

The zip file contains the three sizes of the design in nine machine formats (ART, DST, EXP, HUS, JEF, PES, VIP, VP3, XXX). You will need to extract the files first before transferring to your embroidery machine. If you need directions, you can find them here:

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