My Favorite Things

I had a couple of people ask me what was in my “Favorite Things” giveaway basket at the Everything Applique Conference this past weekend. I hope these are in a somewhat logical order, but if not, you’ll get the idea! I’ll also try to reference where everything came from. First of all, here is a picture of my door prize ~ Applique Cafe’s “Favorite Things” basket. The basket, or Angled White Beverage Tub, came from Target. If I knew how to use my vinyl cutting machine, I would have adorned it with lime and/or pink polka dots! The cellophane basket bag came from Michael’s and the Raffia came from an Etsy store. I also used hot pink crinkle cut paper filler from Caffco Floral Outlet. (I had a lot of fun doing door prizes). The AC stickers came from!

The winner of my basket, Demonica, posted this photo on Facebook. If you’ll remember my last post, she rode from New Orleans to Birmingham on a TRAIN! I just think that is so awesome and fun! She said it was very relaxing and gave her some quality time away from the family to rest and do a little work on her laptop (in the sleeper car). I honestly had no idea you could ride a train anywhere, so it’s even cooler that she rode a train to come to the Everything Applique Conference!

Now on to the basket… I included my go-to stabilizer, 12×12 and 8×8 2.2 oz precut medium cutaway stabilizer squares. Both of these came from Check out all of their “commercial backing” and you can narrow down your search by the type of stabilizer you are looking for (cutaway, precut squares, tearaway, etc.). Click HERE for precut squares. They come in a variety of weights, but I like the 2.2 oz, as it is not too thick or heavy. I have used 2.5 oz as well and it’s not too heavy either. Their commercial cutaway also comes on the roll, but the squares are really convenient.

As you can see the 8×8 squares are perfect for the 4×4 hoop. (This is my Brother PR650 4×4 hoop)

The 12×12 squares are great for the Durkee 9×9 hoop and also the 5×7 hoop. Check out this post for more info on the Durkee Hoop, which is compatible with most multi-needle machines.

You can use the entire 12×12 square for your 5×7 hoop, or cut a few inches off before you hoop.

 Now on to Sulky KK2000 spray. This is a temporary spray adhesive that I use to “stick” my cutaway stabilizer to the inside of my shirt before hooping. It keeps the stabilizer in place so I am able to hoop my shirt. I also use the 99 cent tape measurer from Hobby Lobby! I keep one in my purse as well ~ you never know when you’ll need to measure something. When I do a shirt, I measure from armpit seam to armpit seam and mark my center. This distance is usually a good even measurement (14″, 12.5″ etc).

 Spray adhesive can build up and make things sticky, so I recommend spraying it OUTSIDE. My sewing room is right by our front door, so I walk out on the porch and spray my stabilizer over the bushes. My bushes might be sticky, but at least my carpet isn’t!

 My shirt is inside out, I’ve sprayed my stabilizer with spray adhesive, and now I stick the stabilizer to the shirt. Turn it right side out and I am ready to hoop! The Sulky KK2000 spray is temporary, so when I am finished appliqueing my shirt, it pulls right off so that I can trim the excess stabilizer around the design. See this post for more info on hooping.

 Also in my basket: Schmetz Embroidery Needles (75/11) and an air erasable pen. I use the air erasable pen (from Joann or any sewing store) to mark the center of my shirt (or bib, or towel, etc). It disappears with a little time, or you can also squirt water on the dot and it’ll go away. A wet Q-tip works as well. If I am marking the center of a dark item, such as a navy blue t-shirt or a fluffy blanket, I use a straight pen. Chalk would work as well. You may notice the lint buildup in the clip on my pen. I have had this pen since I started doing applique about 5 years ago!

As far as embroidery needles, I use 75/11 needles for everything. Some people use ballpoint needles and some people change out their needles for various projects. 99% of the time I am doing samples or tshirts so this is the type of needle I use. You can get Schmetz needles from, Joann (I stock up when notions are 50% off) or most any sewing store. Steve ( recommends Schmetz, as they are the oldest needle company around. Basically they have been making needles for a long long, long long long, time!

Bobbins ~ for my Brother PR650, I use the Fil-Tec Magnetic Core Bobbin. A box of 100 is $28, again at I recommend any prewound bobbin, as the tension is consistent and it’s fast and easy to change out your bobbin. These were not in my basket since I didn’t know what kind of machine the winner would have, but I’m including them in my favorite things!

 Heat. N. Bond. Lite ~ check out this post on why I love this product!! You can buy HNBL by the bolt, in a box, on a small 3 yard roll, 15 yard roll, etc. Some people buy it at their local Walmart, but I have not seen it in Montgomery. You can buy small packages at places like Joann or Hobby Lobby. sells it as well. I used to stock up at Joann when notions were 50% off, but lately I have not been able to find any there. Wonder Under is another fusible product you can use, but I use and recommend HNBL.

Instructions ~ very easy to use!

 Another item NOT in my basket, but still one of my favorite things (and a necessity in applique). The iron is your friend! I have a Shark iron. It’s not fancy and yes, it leaks water sometimes. Iron your shirts, iron your bibs, use the iron for your HNBL, iron when you’re done. IRON!! Do you get hoop burn? Squirt with water from your iron, iron over the hoop burns. They are gone! I see photos on Facebook a lot and it looks like someone took a picture of a t-shirt from the dirty clothes basket. Ironing can make all the difference in your appliques, your pictures, etc! I hate to iron my own clothes, but ironing is so important when doing embroidery and applique.

 Scissors ~ I did include 4″ curved Gingher scissors in my basket, as well as a 2-pack of Fiskars fabric-cutting scissors. I use the Ginghers in the applique process only to trim the fabric around the tackdown stitch. I use regular fabric-cutting scissors to cut fabric, to cut stabilizer, to cut ribbon, etc. You can never have enough scissors! p.s. I got my Ginghers at Joann and you can usually catch them on sale or use a coupon.

The Ginghers are great for trimming closely around your applique! The curved end helps you to NOT cut a hole in your shirt (been there, done that, got the t-shirt)!

 As you can see here, I trim very closely. I do this with the help of a) the scissors and b) the HNBL on my fabric makes trimming easy and CLEAN! This design is ready for the satin stitch!

 There were also a few fabrics in my basket. I typically buy 1/4 yards of fabric since a little goes a long way when doing applique. I LOVE polka dots, ginghams, stripes and small florals and prints for applique! These are all my GO-TO fabrics, as you can probably see in my design sample photos.

 You can’t beat good ginghams, and try to avoid the cheap thin ones. Fabric Finder brand ginghams are great!


 One more item that I should have included in my basket but didn’t have time to get… a REAL thread chart! This is the Isacord real thread sample thread chart. I also have the Exquisite (formerly Poly-X from Kens Sewing Center) thread chart and use them both. We all know the color print charts are impossible to match as well as the color square on your computer screen. These charts are usually $10 each and are well worth every dollar when you are searching for thread to match that funny colored peach dress.

 Another tip that I NEED to do ~ mark, circle or underline the colors you have on the chart. That way if the sticker comes off of the top of your spool of thread (which happens to me all the time), you have a record on your chart of which colors you have and like!

 I did include a few spools of thread in my basket ~ Isacord 5830 is my favorite lime (it’s hard to find and only comes in 1000M as far as I have found)! I also included a hot pink, yellow and turquoise. Demonica also got an Applique Cafe Gift Certificate in her basket! (Hint Hint: Mother’s Day is 2 weeks away)

There are probably a few more things I consider my favorite things, but that was about all I could fit in the basket! If you have any questions please comment or email me ~! A lot of these things were discussed in our class, Applique the Right Way!

Quick Post…

I’ve gotten TONS of response from the HNBL post and I’d like to follow up on some questions (quickly, before I head to church). I can go in to more detail later if need be!
Mainly, “what kind of stabilizer do you use?”

You can check out this post to see where I went over HOOPING:
I use medium cutaway on all shirts and I hoop all shirts. Well, I did use a fast frame, sticky stabilizer and added medium cutaway on ONE SHIRT recently, but that’s a different post. 99.9% of the time I HOOP. Shirts, that is. I buy my cutaway from www.sewingmachine.com2.2 or 2.0 oz precut squares and the 15″ x 25 yard roll. They call these type stabilizers “commercial” and they are super cheap! I highly recommend checking them out!
The other main question was on the Comfort Cover. There are several brands of them and I included links in my post last week. I USE Comfort Cover from I have used Floriani Dreamweave before too, and Sulky makes a version of it too. It’s basically a protective add-on to your shirt. It protects the thread and it protects sensitive skin from the back of the applique and thread. You’ve probably seen it on the back of Carter’s clothing with appliques and I noticed it on a J. Khaki (Belk) dress Mallory has that has an applique on it. It does come off in the wash sometimes, or it does come loose I should say. But… I think it’s a nice touch and it has come off of my Carter’s stuff before, so I think it’s just the nature of the product and your washing machine! Not that it comes off every time and is a waste of your time and money, but I have heard that it eventually comes off and that’s fine. It’s really personal preference as to whether or not you want to use it. I’m sure if you had a heat press you could fuse it on there better than my Shark iron!!
We showed our house this week (for the umpeenth time) and I took a picture.
This is our dining room when I’m in the thick of WORK:
This is our dining room when the house is shown! The machine stays, but the rest of the thread, iron, ironing board, fabric, stabilizers, trash can, computer, pens, scissors, shirts, football?, etc etc etc is PUT AWAY!! You can imagine how old this gets!
For this reason I’m not doing a whole lot of customer work right now. It’s really a matter of timing and if I happen to have a little bit of work to do and I think it’s possible to take more in (when you call). Right now I have 4 shirts to do for this week and I’ve had a couple of  people ask about bringing stuff. My goal is to NOT let 50 shirts pile up. A, I have no place to put them (my closet is full), and B, that is added stress with the house for sale AND if for some reason it sells and I’ve got 50 shirts piled up to do. When we do sell the house I would imagine I’ll be out of commission for a while!
If I continue to get Q’s about the stabilizer and such I’ll try to do a better post! I enjoy all the comments and have gotten tons of comments and questions on Facebook!

The SECRET to a Better Applique!

I’m calling this a SECRET because I see and hear every day that there are people out there, embroidery people nonetheless, who don’t know about this product.
It’s called HEAT N’ BOND LITE!! Add it to your get-it list!! It will change the way you do applique and rock your world! It will IMPROVE your applique and make all the difference in a good looking shirt, and maybe a so-so looking shirt. (I’m not an employee of Therm-O-Web nor do they pay me to promote this product. I get nothing from this product but great looking appliques!)
Did I mention I love this product? That’s why I have a drawer full of it friends (see below)! I buy mine at Joann (without an ‘s’). When they have SEWING NOTIONS at 50% off, I go in and stock up. I also get 50% off coupons all the time in the mail and on my phone (Iphone App is available) so I always take advantage and stock up! You can also buy it at some Walmart stores (although I have never seen any in ours), and by the yard at Hancock Fabrics. They may sell it off the bolt at Joann but I’ve honestly never asked or looked for it. I’ve also talked to Steve at about this product and I used it when I did my little class there in October. They will hopefully be selling it soon. Anyway….
It comes in this package and is simply a roll ~ one side is paper and one side is shiny and a little textured.
Make sure you get LITE and not ULTRAHOLD. I’ve been using HNBL for a long long long time and it has never gummed up my needle.

First… you’ve sewn your marking stitch for the applique you are working on. Mine is the zig zag tiara. HNBL works especially well with zig zag designs because without it, your fabric will most likely fray.
I cut my piece of fabric large enough to cover the design.

I iron my piece of fabric. Notice my iron is on about medium heat.

I cut my piece of HNBL so that it’s about the same size as my fabric. As you can see mine hangs over a bit which is why my ironing board looks the way it does. Notice the HNBL is paper side up.

Iron the HNBL light with the shiny side down. Again, you are ironing on the paper side.

Peel the paper away, and your fabric will now have the HNBL on it. Throw the paper away! It now appears shiny and is like a coating on the fabric which the camera didn’t quite capture.

I lay the fabric shiny side down on the marking stitch and now you’re ready for the tackdown stitch. (I do not use any type of spray adhesive to stick the fabric to the shirt at this point. Some people do but I do not.)

Now it’s time to trim around the tackdown stitch. You might be able to see in this picture that the fabric underside is shiny. That’s the HNBL. It also helps in this trimming process ~ there aren’t any loose threads, as the HNBL is like a coating on your fabric. (Notice my Gingher 4″ curved embroidery scissors – love them!)
The applique is ready for the final stitch, and in this case it’s zig zag! As you can see the cut is very clean!

Here is the applique after the zz stitch. You might notice the fabric is a little bubbled up. I’m not done yet…

Again, the applique is finished, but now it’s time to FUSE the applique.
Iron over the applique. I keep my iron on medium heat. I iron over the applique and also let it sit on it for a second or two. If the applique fabric doesn’t seem like it’s fusing (still bubbly), I spray it with the iron water and then iron over it again. The applique fabric will “harden” a tad and you will be able to tell that the fabric is “set”.
You might see a difference here ~ the applique is FLAT. The fabric is fused to the garment.
Lastly, I finish the back side of my applique with Comfort Cover, aka Floriani Dreamweave (there are a variety of different brands of this product, including Sulky).
Here is your finished product!
Does your applique look like this??
I recommend this product all the time to people and no, I am not getting paid to do so! I have found it works great so I recommend it whenever possible! If you’re appliques are bubbly, you need this! If your appliques sometimes come loose after washing, you need this! EVERYONE NEEDS THIS!! Get some if you don’t have some and see how much better your appliques turn out!