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How To Applique With Magic Backing

Machine embroidery appliqué is the technique of adding a layer of material on top of other material and attaching it with a zig-zag or statin stitch. An adhesive is needed to prepare the appliqué material and also for holding it in place for the final tack-down step of the process. The process may also include other embroidery elements to add to the overall design. 

Supplies You Will Need 


Appliqué Stitch File for Machine Embroidery – Stitch files for appliqué have open elements with placement, tack down, and either a zig-zag or satin stitch outline to permanently adhere the appliqué fabric to the garment or fabric. Some designs come with an outline template that can be printed out in true size.

Garment or other product that can be embroidered on – Appliqué can be done on almost any type of fabric. Testing may need to be done to ensure that the desired results are achieved.

Contrasting fabric(s)– The appliqué fabric is limited only by your imagination! While woven fabric may work better at times, knit fabrics can be used too. Solid and printed fabrics can add contrast to the garment itself, or it can be an actual print or color that plays into the overall design aspect.

E-Zee Appliqué Magic backing – This is a double-sided adhesive stabilizer. The heat-activated adhesive adheres to the reverse side of the appliqué material. The pressure-sensitive adhesive on the other side holds the prepared appliqué material securely in place for the tack-down stitches.

Additional Tools

Pen, Pencil or Marker – for tracing

Sharp Scissors – the scissors are for easily cutting material

Appliqué Scissors –  with a protective bill to protect fabric from being accidentally nicked when trimming excess fabric away

Tweezers – to lift extra material while trimming. 

There are several different appliqué techniques. These instructions will show you the most efficient way with minimal extra products!

Create a template for tracing: Print out the template (if included with your stitch file design) or use the following method to create your own template for the appliqué material. Hoop a piece of E-Zee Tear Plus-Crisp 1.8 oz. backing. Bring to the machine and run the outline stitches ONLY on the tear-away backing. Stop the machine.


 Black thread stitched out on crisp tear away backing

Cut out the template for tracing: After the machine stops, remove the backing from the hoop and trim the template out along the stitch lines. Once trimmed, you can easily remove any residual thread. This design has two differently-sized hearts. The larger will be used with the lighter fabric. The smaller heart will be used with the same base fabric and set at an angle to create an interesting effect.


 Templates trimmed out with some residual thread

Adhere the backing to your appliqué material: Cut a piece of E-Zee Appliqué Magic backing slightly larger than the template. Using an iron or heat press apply the heat-activated side of the backing (with the shiny dots) to the reverse side of the appliqué material. The release paper can be used as a shield against the heat.  Fuse together by applying heat at 220ºF to 280ºF for 10 to 12 seconds (if using a heat press, pressure = 5 bar).

Appliqué fabric, backing and iron.

There are several different appliqué techniques. These instructions will show you the most efficient way with minimal extra products!

Trace the template: Lay the template (from the first and second steps) on top of the release paper side of your appliqué material. Carefully trace around the template. Be sure to face your template upside down when tracing on the back. While the heart shape for this design is symmetrical, others have a front and back shape.

Finish preparing the appliqué pieces: Using sharp scissors, carefully cut along the traced line. It is important to trim them straight and accurately. This will avoid excess material from peeking out from underneath the final stitches. Note that the edges have been secured with the use of the heat-activated adhesive, reducing the risk of fraying. 

Embroider the appliqué material to the garment: Each appliqué design is different and the placement or outline stitches and tack down stitches may occur at the beginning or somewhere in the middle of the design process. You will want to make sure that your machine stops after the placement stitches. 

Place the prepared material on the garment: Pull the release paper off the prepared appliqué material and carefully place the sticky side down on top of the outline stitches. Turn the machine on and allow the design to finish running. Typically there will be a tack down stitch with either a satin stitch outline or a zig-zag stitch to permanently hold the appliquéd material in place.

Trimming away the excess material: Once you have placed the appliqué material down and the tack down stitches have run, you may have too much material hanging outside the tack down stitches. Watch for this and stop the machine if this happens. Using the tweezers and appliqué scissors, trim away the excess material as close to the tack down stitches as possible. Allow the design to finish stitching.

You now have a finished appliqué project!



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