SEW Totally Stable and a Quick Machine Embroidery Applique Tutorial


Since Missy just got a new embroidery machine, I figured I’d post some useful information on machine embroidery…


Kacey asked me to make her another Embroidered Applique Tote for one of her fellow teachers.  Perfect timing for a quickie tutorial using a machine applique embroidery design.  You can either sew your own tote bag or buy a simple tote bag at your local craft store:

Let’s get started…

Prepare your applique fabric:  Remove the protective sheet on a piece of Steam-A-Seam 2 Double Stick Fusible Web and fuse it to the wrong side of your applique fabric.


Next, remove the other paper side of the fusible and put your applique fabric off to the side for the moment.


Cut a piece of Sulky Totally Stable™ fusible stabilizer and hoop it in your embroidery hoop (fusible side up).


Use a pin to make the center of the stabilizer outside the hoop.


Use another pin to make the center of your tote.  Match both pins up for perfect centering.


Using a printed template of your embroidery design, decide where you’d like to place your design.


Make a pinhole in the center of the template and mark it using a water soluble marking pen


and draw a cross.  Now lightly fuse the tote bag to the stabilizer.  You can easily fit your iron inside the larger embroidery hoops–just be careful as you don’t want to melt your expensive embroidery hoop…LOL!  If you are using a small hoop, you’ll need a mini iron.


Threading your Embroidery Machine:  Do not put your embroidery thread on the spool holder.  Instead, place your embroidery thread in front of your machine and thread it between two spool holders.  Then thread it through the tensions and needle as you would normally.  This helps the embroidery and other specialty thread go through the tensions easily.


Change your embroidery machine needle to a sharp needle and put embroidery bobbin thread in your bobbin case–it adds less thread weight to your project and helps pull the top embroidery thread to the underside of the fabric.  You can purchase pre-wound bobbin thread in bulk.


Place your hooped tote bag in the machine.  Move your sewing machine needle so it lines up with the marked cross.


Place your applique fabric right side up on the tote bag.  Hold your embroidery thread taut and start stitching.


Most machine applique embroidery designs have at least two running stitches before the actual satin stitch is placed.


After the first running stitch is finished, remove hoop and cut away excess applique fabric from the tote.


Return hoop to the embroidery machine and stitch out second running stitch.


Any fabric which extends past the second running stitch will create “pokies” (fabric not covered by satin stitch), so be sure to trim them as close as possible.


Without removing your project from the hoop, slide hoop off embroidery machine and iron the applique fabric to the tote.


Return hoop to the embroidery machine.  Start your satin stitch and the rest of any embroidered design.


Remove hoop from your embroidery machine.  Pull tote off of the hoop.


Remove excess stabilizer from the back of the applique with tweezers.


Give both the front and back of the applique a quick press being careful not to melt the embroidery thread.


All done!


There are so many different methods of machine embroidery…this is just the way I do it when using heavy fabric.  Some people prefer Cut Away Stabilizer.  Some people prefer to use machine embroidery needles.  It’s all a matter of preference–do what works for you!


Selecting the Right Stabilizer

Thread Artist’s Embroidery Stabilizer Lessons

HTCW Products including 2 Videos

Ann’s 7 Rules of Stabilizing

Embroidering Sweatshirts Video

Embroidering “In The Hoop” Tissue Holders Video

Embroidering “In The Hoop” Pot Holders Video

Embroidering on Velvet Video

Embroidering on Fleece Video

How to do Machine Monogramming

Embroidering T-Shirts Video

Embroidering on Satin Video

How to do Machine Applique Video

Embroidering Towels Video

Smocking In the Hoop Tutorial

How to Use Fusible No-Show Poly Mesh

Floriani’s Quick Stabilizer Reference

Pamela’s Floriani Stabilizer Workbook

Threads’ Making Sense of Stabilizers

Sulky Stabilizer FAQ

Happy Sewing!




  1. Holy Cow, Lisa! This is amazing!!!!!
    I have lots of learning to do!!!

    Thanks so much!

    PS – I am hosting a Valentine’s Day swap on my blog if you are interested!

  2. Glad you like it Missy!

    thanks for letting me know about the VDay SWAP. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to pass as I will so totally forget to send my recipient their goodies…LOL

    But thanks for thinking of me!

    Now get going on those embroideries…

    With friendship,

  3. Oh, if only I could convince my husband that I really really need an embroidery machine. Sigh. So pretty Lisa!

  4. Heather…you want me to talk to him? I can be pretty convincing at times…LOL! Happy Sewing!

    With friendship,


  1. […] (most of which I learned . . AFTER I made the mistake) . Mostly from other bloggers like Lisa at The Domestic Diva and many others. If I could remember the blog names I would mention them but my brain is a big […]

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