I am always getting asked the question of what thread do I use, or what stitch do I use. When sewing invisible machine applique. So here is a little video that shows me stitching around a leaf, in the video I explain what I am thinking as I sew around the leaf and where I need to place my needle to make sure the leaf is stitched down securely.
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I also get so many question regarding the threads and stitch that is used. So here are my thoughts on threads and needles, and stitches I like to use.
Thread: I mostly use Superior monopoly thread, this thread runs smoothly through my machine. I use clear for light fabrics and smoke for the darker murkier fabrics. Lay the thread over your fabric and if you can't see it, then its perfect. Although the clear thread as with most mono-filament threads can have slight shine that I find a little annoying. I find the YLI nylon clear thread does not have as much shine.
The other threads that are good to use for invisible stitching are very fine 100 weight polyester threads. Such as Wonderfil Invisifil and Superior Monopoly thread. Be aware that you must match the colour of the thread exactly with the colour of the applique piece. If the applique piece is a multi coloured fabric the thread will show in places. This thread does a lovely job and is a great alternative, but you do need to have a good variety of colours on hand.
Tension: I find loosening the top tension helps the thread to glide through the machine better. The monofilament threads are springy and stretchy, so a tension that is too tight can make the thread stretch and you don't want that to happen.
Bobbin Thread: I use a plain thread that matches the colour of my background fabric. I like to use what I have on hand, nothing heavier than a 50 weight cotton. I also use 60 weight polyester 'The bottom line' by Superior with great results.
The Stitch: My favourite stitch is a very small zig-zag stitch. This to me gives the look of hand stitching more than any other stitch. All sewing machines vary, even the same models. Set your zig-zag stitch so that you just catch the side of the applique piece and then the next stitch goes into the background fabric right beside the applique piece. I set the length longer than a normal zig-zag stitch about 1 /16 of an inch long. Test this on a sample first. Test your tension too, making sure none of the bobbin thread is popping up to the top. If this happens loosen your top tension until you are happy. If your sewing machine has a bobbin with a finger thread the bobbin thread through the hole in the finger this will tighten the bobbin tension little and help stop this happening.
Needles: The needle size is important as you don't want there to be large holes from the large needle showing in your fabric. I use a 60/10 sharp or universal needle. These are very small and you need to be extra careful not to put any pressure on them when pulling your threads. They make a lovely stitch, leaving only a very tiny hole.
You can find my post on sewing around circles here.
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