Machine applique puckering

lola99November 22, 2010

I have only done a little bit of machine applique in the past. I'm trying to applique a circle quilt without fusible web and I'm having a really difficult time. I need to stitch around 49 circles and I'm getting a small amount of puckering as I come to the end of each circle. I think pinning the circles with 3 pins (as it says in the directions) is not enough. I tried using more pins, but it still puckered a little bit. I don't want to fuse the circles, but I feel that I need to figure out how to baste them more securely. Can I glue the edges? If so, can I just use Elmer's glue? Or a glue stick? Any other suggestions? I've already pinned all 49 of them with 3 pins each. And by the way, I am using a stabilizer on the back.

Just in case you are interested, I pasted a link to the pattern below.

Thanks for your help/suggestions,


Here is a link that might be useful: circle quilt tutorial

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You can use little dots of glue and then iron it down to dry the glue. You use the clear Elmers which is called "school" glue. It is meant to be harmless if eaten and works well. You don't need much, just a row of dots. I make my bindings this way and it works great.

Bet it's raining up where you are!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 12:32PM
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I gather this is raw edge applique. Roxanne has a glue that works well for this type of thing but my thought would be to use a spray adhesive on the backs of the circles. I assume you applique them to the blocks before putting them together--in which case a light stablizer on the block back(just paper) might help.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 1:24PM
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A different approach ~ it sounds to me like the fabric isn't feeding evenly. The back is stabilized, but the circle fabric has more pressure from the pressure foot, creating that slight pucker. Try reducing the pressure very slightly on the pressure foot.
This is a very cute pattern - BTW

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Very cute!

Have you tried ironing the circles over a mylar template and starching them like crazy? I had very good success with starch turned appliqué by hand and by machine.

The starch makes the shapes extremely stable. I think that would be helpful because the fabric's stretching from the very first stitch. By the time you get to the last 3 pins there's an accumulation and it's a little late to be trying to work it in smoothly. The advantage of starch is that all the stiffness is gone with the water the first time it gets washed.

I really like this method and a got a gallon of that Mary Ellen stuff the last time there was a sale. Bet you could get a decent price online too.

Number 2, how about hinkeying with the adjustment on your presser foot too. A little lighter touch could mean less stretching.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2010 at 2:57PM
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One other suggestion. I had that problem when I was first machine applique-ing with my new machine. Then I went through the package of "goodies" and found that there was an applique foot. It has a wide space between the feet, with the explanation that it's for better visibility. But I found that it also seems to create less drag on the upper piece of fabric. When I remember to switch feet, the feed is much more even. Same effect as lessening the pressure on the presser foot, I'm sure.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 6:09PM
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Very good suggestion Kay! I also have the open toe foot for applique~forgot all about it! I use it for many things - very good visibility (love it for paper piecing) & it is a great foot for sewing curves. You are right, that it would have the same effect as lowering the pressure - in fact, there is no way to change the foot pressure on my electronic Pfaff.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2010 at 6:52PM
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Thank you for your great suggestions. I used a combination of ideas and the problem is gone!

I really appreciate all of you. This forum is so wonderful and helpful - I would be a very frustrated quilter without you!


    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 12:07PM
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Cute pattern. I forget about my applique foot too! I think I have used it 1 time.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2010 at 3:12PM
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