by justonlyme 25 Feb 2014

Has anyone ever tried to do machine embroidery applique using a loftier fabric, such as repurposed sweaters, sherpa, fleece, etc? I'm wondering if I dare try these without a planned visit to the repair place. And if you did get it to work, please share any secrets that helped along the way.

My mother in law passed away last year. I've been going through her clothes, and found lots of buttery soft sweaters. Unfortunately, they have moth holes, so they are not good for much except in pieces. I'm working on a batch of quilts that will be going to the local children's hospital, and would like to applique sweaters and mittens, hats and such on the non-pieced blocks of my quilts. I thought a tactile applique would be a nice addition for these children.
Thank you!


by ssampsel 28 Feb 2014

i use tulle for some of my top cover. it tears away clean & i always have scraps!!

by jobaby 27 Feb 2014

When I used the sweaters for quilt applique, I washed and dried the sweaters first so they would be ready for the washing a child's quilt is sure to get. Children really like the tactile quilts -- I have used satin, lace, and corduroy as well as wool - just wash and dry first.

by almag 26 Feb 2014

What a brilliant idea for re-using old sweaters. Children love to feel the different fabrics and soft appliques would be wonderful for children in hospital. I guess the soft sweaters would make great little animal appliques, too.

by grandma6 26 Feb 2014

have done a whole quilt for grand..using mixture of squares with machine embroidery and applique designs..use a washable topping and you'll be fine!! washes like a dream

by pcteddyb 26 Feb 2014

I have used lots of different things for applique - never sweaters but similar things. Definitely use the wash-away topper - and jrob states - make it plenty big - not worth it catching the foot on the way across.

1 comment
vickiannette by vickiannette 26 Feb 2014

Yes, do make it plenty big....I have got the foot caught and it makes a terrible terrible noise, and would damage machine if you didn't stop it immediatly.

by jrob Moderator 26 Feb 2014

Everyone has shared my response. WSS, don't cheat it, make it at least and 1 1/2 bigger than the design to keep your embroidery foot from dragging. Also, be sure your applique has a good satin finish (as opposed to a raggy edge) so that the sweater doesn't unravel.

by mops Moderator 26 Feb 2014

I have used fleece, towelling, velvet, corduroy and suede for appliqué. I use a wss on top when sewing them. Does not harm my machine, but sometimes it spoils my mood a bit, especially when cutting the material back to the stitching line.

1 comment
jrob by jrob 26 Feb 2014

agreed 100%.

by sewilso 26 Feb 2014

I wonder if they also use a lightweight heat n bond? I use that for cottons to keep the fraying down. It should keep it in place but would also add a little extra stiffness and bulk, so I don't know. I love the idea of repurposing things, that's why I like to go the thrift stores, you never know what you will find.

by rescuer Moderator 26 Feb 2014

I have used minky and fleece as well as a fur (but that was a disaster because it was my first try with it)
The key is stabilzer -- especially a topper. You may want to use an iron-on fusible backing for the sweaters just to keep their shape and to keep them from being too loose.

1 comment
justonlyme by justonlyme 26 Feb 2014

Thank you. I bought some topper stabilizer. I look forward to trying this as soon as my machine is functional again. Thank you for the hints!

by twee 25 Feb 2014

I have a friend who does minky all the time in baby quilt animal appliques. She puts a topping (WS) over them that helps contain them, and lets them keep their lofty pile.

1 comment
justonlyme by justonlyme 26 Feb 2014

Thank you. This is very helpful! My first try was a disaster, and I would prefer to not repeat that!