How To Applique Letters With Sewing Machine: 2 Steps

Last Updated on 7 months by Susan Mayrich

You can learn how to applique letters with sewing machine in two steps. This article will also talk about how to use appliques and what stitches to use. 

how to applique letters with sewing machine

Since appliques are often used for decorative purposes, why not browse our blog for other sewing techniques that can enhance the look of your projects? For example, we wrote a tutorial on how to monogram a shirt with a sewing machine

There are many techniques to do with the sewing machine, and you just need the proper tutorials to do them without failure. 


How To Applique Letters With Sewing Machine Easily


Step 1. Prepare the applique

  • Learn how to prewash a fabric for sewing, so your material can shrink beforehand 
  • Iron the applique fabric to remove all the wrinkles
  • Iron a fusible interfacing at the back of the applique fabric to add structure 
  • Trace the letter outline on the applique fabric or have the cutout pattern tacked to stabilize it when sewing


Step 2. Apply the applique

  • Replace the sewing machine presser foot with the zigzag foot or, much better, embroidery foot
  • Set the sewing machine to zigzag stitching 
  • Test your thread tension, sewing width, and sewing length on a scrap fabric piece to know the necessary adjustments
  • Sew along the outline to attach the applique letter to your project


Can Applique Be Done With A Sewing Machine?

It’s very easy to make sewing machine appliques. If you often make sewing projects, you can save the excess fabrics such as facing for making appliques later on. 

  1. Draw your design on the paper side of the interfacing and lay it on top of the applique fabric right side up 
  2. Sew along with the pattern you drew with straight stitches and cut the applique off with ⅛ inch of seam allowance
  3. Cut a small slit on the interfacing and use it to turn the applique inside out
  4. Flatten the applique, and you’re done
  5. To attach this applique to projects, use a straight stitch with your sewing machine and sew along the edge


What Stitch Do I Use For Applique?


Straight stitch

The most common and easiest stitch to use for applique with a sewing machine is the straight stitch. Set your sewing machine to the standard straight stitch with the length at 2.5mm. 

Then, work around the applique edge about ⅛ inch away. If you want the stitches to be visible or if your appliques are thick, simply increase the stitch length. 


Zigzag stitch

Another relatively easy stitch to use for sewing machine appliques is the zigzag stitch. It’s also a fantastic stitch if your applique material is prone to fraying.  

You can set its width and length accordingly, but a length of 1mm and a width of 3mm should work for most appliques. You don’t need to backstitch, and you only need to pull the threads through the backside of the fabric. 


Satin stitch

Another proper stitch for preventing the fraying of appliques is the satin stitch. This is also preferred if you want a more professionally-looking attached applique. 

Since satin stitches are sewn close together, the length will be around 0.25mm and width at 2mm. And similar to other stitches used for appliques, you don’t need to backstitch when sewing around the applique. 

Read how to use sewing machine attachments because some stitches require a specific presser foot. 


How Do You Use Applique When Sewing?

  • As embellishments or accents when sewing clothing
  • For personalizing simple projects such as quilts, table cloths, curtains, and blankets
  • As a focal point for sewn artworks 


Tips for using appliques when sewing

  • Use an applique that will complement the sewing project’s existing design, material, and color
  • Use an applique only when the project calls for additional designs so the finished look won’t be messy
  • Attach the applique neatly with the correct length and width of straight, zigzag, or satin stitches
  • Check if the current material can hold the applique with its structure
  • Consider layering appliques and combining appliques with other common sewing embellishments

Here is how to sew sequins with a sewing machine if you want to combine them with your appliques.


How Do You Finish The Edges Of An Applique?

Appliques can have raw edges, but you can quickly turn them to finish and prevent fraying in the long run. Appliques with finished edges also look neater. 

  1. Trace the design onto the interfacing’s side without the fusible part
  2. Lay the interfacing’s fusible side onto the right side of the fabric and pin it in place
  3. Sew the pattern you made with short length stitches, putting the needle down and raising the foot when turning corners 
  4. Cut the design with ⅛ inch allowance and clip the curves and intersections
  5. Cut a slit near the center of the interfacing 
  6. Use the slit to turn the applique and turn the edges of the applique flat
  7. Position the applique onto your project and press it in place 
  8. Sew around the applique with your preferred stitch, or for turned edges appliques, use a blanket stitch



And that’s it! We just learned how to applique letters with sewing machine in two steps. 

It’s as easy as tracing the letter and then sewing the outline with a zigzag stitch. We also discovered that you could use straight, satin, and blanket stitches when sewing appliques.

We hope this was a helpful read; leave us a comment if you have any questions.  


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