How do you “raggy”?

You may see the cute “raggy/shaggy” designs at Applique Cafe or other sites and wonder “how do they do that?” I get the question quite a bit and was working on a new design today, so I decided to take pics of each step. We have a few raggy designs at AC (click HERE) and there are also some cute ones at! I love her raggy flower and butterfly!

As you can see below my machine has already sewn the 1. Marking, 2. Tackdown and 3. Satin stitch for the strawberry design (not yet listed). This is step 4. Marking for the stem.

The key to a raggy design is flannel. You can use colored flannel, matching flannel (lime fabric and lime flannel) or use a contrasting flannel which I have done on some of the EB designs before (hot pink fabric and lime flannel underneath). It’s up to you and this is plain ole flannel I got at Hobby Lobby! As you can see below I’ve ironed both pieces (note to self: get a new tabletop ironing board asap).

I want my gingham to be diagonal, so I’m laying my fabric on top of my flannel and placed them both down for step 5. Tackdown.

This is step 5. Tackdown below.

Step 6 for this design is called a redwork stitch. It’s sort of a thick running stitch that goes back & forth a time or two to create the thick dense stitch often used in quilting.

Now I’m going to trim my fabric AND flannel around the redwork stitch, leaving about 1/8″ (or more or less depending on how raggy you want your fabric). I’m using 4″ curved Gingher embroidery scissors for this.

This is what it looks like after I’ve trimmed the excess fabric away. As you can see I left about 1/8″, but you could cut closer to the redwork for less shaggy or leave it longer for more. It’s up to you!

Now I’m using my straight embroidery scissors that came with my machine. They are a bit dull and I just scrape the edges until the threads come loose and look “raggy”. As you can see I went ahead and did step 7. the seeds (in yellow).

A lint brush comes in handy. Just roll it across to pick up any loose thread, and if there are any long threads you can just trim those with your scissors and pick them up with the lint brush as well.

Here is what it looks like finished! Sorry for the poor photo quality but it was a yucky rainy cloudy day today. I will get a better picture tomorrow! This is how you achieve the “raggy” look – it’s very fast and very easy! Some designs are all raggy and some (like the strawberry) just incorporate raggy in to one aspect of the design (i.e. tree swing design).

Why flannel? It frays easily and adds a thick layer to your fabric to make it more 3D and quilted looking. You could also use just 2-3 layers of fabric, and I’ve also used just flannel in a raggy design before (see raggy snowman).

Why raggy? It’s personal preference! Some people like raggy designs and some don’t. I like them because they are different, textured and fast and easy to sew!

Do I use Heat N Bond Lite? For this design, YES on the strawberry part of the design and NO on the raggy part. The redwork stitch will hold your fabric down. HNBL is not necessary and would interfere with the fabric fraying properly.


  1. I just got a machine this week! What software would you suggest? I’ve heard embird is good. Other than your blog do you have any other blogs you would suggest that have tutorials & would help me learn? I’m overwhelmed!

    • If you look under “recommendations” you’ll see the software I use – Mono Wizard Plus and Sew What Pro. We have Embird too but I don’t use it – my husband does only for digitizing.

      • Do you really need both programs or if I just get Mono Wizard Plus would that suffice? What is the difference between the 2? I have a program now that will let me merge designs but I can’t rotate or edit and I want to be able to do that.

  2. I really need some advice on how to put these designs on my Bernina 730. I download the design from you when you send it to me and put it on my Bernina 730 jump drive. When I insert the jump drive into my Bernina I feel like the machine is not actually reading the design correctly….for instance, some designs I have bought come with a choice to do the Raggy but that choice does not show up on the button of my Bernina. Then I am left to figure out why what I have just bought is not there…..wish I were more tech savvy but am trying to be a good quick learner!

    ps….Any Bernina 730 users out there that can help me?……does any jump drive work or do I have to just use the Bernina one that came with the machine?

    • Stephanie gibson says

      I use to have a deco 340 and you had create a folder on your jump drive and save the design in there for them to be able to be read! Start with new jump drive, stick it in your machine and I think the machine will create the folder for you. (Mine did) also be sure you are saving it in EXP format 🙂 hope this helps! Bernina is so different from all the others!

      • exactly. I have the same machine. It formats your new jump drive for you. BUT… I can only put 1 design at a time on it to work from.

  3. I just love your tutorials, they’re very helpfull and your pictures are very good. Thank you very much for helping us!

    Greetings from the Netherlands! Marloes

  4. Love your tutorials and designs! i just got a new machine and I am having fun with your creations!

    Thanks again for taking the time for the tutorials! They are VERY helpful for a newbie!


  5. I am loving the shabby designs!! I did one with a burlap backing instead of flannel on a kitchen towel… So cute! How do I wash it?! Just hand wash if needed?

  6. I’m new to raggy applique and have just completed a sample stitchout. I’ve looked on other blogs and could see something behind the fabric, I just didn’t know what to use. I’m about to try again with the flannel. My problem: I did a sample stitchout (without the flannel) and threw it in the washer and dryer. The edges looked great, but inside the applique was puckering since there was no Heat and Bond used. How do you avoid this? Any advise will be appreciated.

  7. Howdy would youu mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with?

    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m having a
    tough time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’mlooking for something unique.
    P.S Apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  8. Veronica Hudson says

    I love these ‘raggy’ designs and like ^Janet^, I had no idea how to get it to look raggy… Flannel…. WHO KNEW??? Also, learning that I didn’t hafta use the HNBL was a HUUGGGEEE help!!! Thank you sooo much!!! I work on a 6 head Barudan that was originally purchased for multiples and has since become a “one at a time” gig with EVERYone wanting their monogram on SOMEthing!!! Hahahaaa!!! Once, again, thanks for sharing this info!!! Now… I gotta get busy!!! 🙂

  9. Allyson Lyon says

    I have done a few circle raggy patches with monograms on t-shirts. I prewash the t-shirt but not the fabric. Once the shirt is washed and dried the patch always need to be ironed to lay down all the edging and smooth out the fabric. Should I prewash all my fabric too? I do not use Heat and Bond on these just the flannel. Thanks!

  10. Mona Jones says

    I have been using a Brother PE770 for the past year but I want to upgrade now… I don’t want to go OVERBOARD but I don’t want to get something that I will be wanting to trade in again in a year… Any suggestions?

    • Most people make the leap from a single needle to a multi needle! I know it’s scary but it’s the best thing I ever did!! If this is what you are going to do and stay with it, multi needle is the goal! 🙂

  11. Kandy sasser says

    Hi Rosemary,
    I live in Montgomery and just got an embroidery machine and am just learning how to use it. Do you teach classes on applique? I have the ruby deluxe machine. I am especially interested in the raggy applique.

  12. Kimela Dooley says

    Hi Rosemary, I am not a designer and I have designs I want to make into a raggy design. How can I change the stitch to a bean stitch or back and forth stitch if a satin stitch is used in the design. I am trying to do a turtle for my Mom on a baby bubble and it is light weight fabric and the satin stitch designs are puckering. I tried a flower raggy on the fabric and it works well but need to do some boy raggy designs. So question is can I use a design and just do several of the tack down stitches in place of the satin stitch or how can I change the satin stitch to a different stitch? Thanks

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