Perfect Applique Pieces

Since my post last month about learning to use the Zing to cut fabric applique pieces, I’ve been using both the Zing and Force to practice and learn more about that.  The most important piece of information that I can share with you is that you MUST have a sharp blade to get clean cuts!!!  I struggled for a long time one day and was getting very frustrated trying to cut some fabric pieces until I used a new blade.  What a difference that one thing made!  And, yes, I can see exactly what pieces I cut by the markings on my mat since I neglected to reduce the blade settings when I put in the new fabric blade.

This is a picture of the finished applique on the back of my shirt jacket.  Isn’t he a cute little guy?  Actually he measures just a bit over 7″ square.


Materials Used:

Quilting weight cotton fabrics with Steam-A-Seam Lite fused to the wrong side.


Machine used: KNK Force, blade: Fabric, Blade Tension: 2.5, Passes: 1, Starting/Ending Depth: 10, Cut Speed: 25, Blade Offset: .75, Overcut: .5


The embroidery design is from an Anita Goodesign collection “Casual Friday” that will be released in December.  I am fortunate to work at a store that gets previews of soon to be released designs.

In order to prepare the applique piece cutting files, I open the design in my Viking Premier+ software and manually trace the applique piece shapes.  Then I export those shapes as SVG files.  The shapes are imported into Make The Cut and cut directly to the Zing or exported as SVG files to be used on the Force.  That description makes it sound as if it is a complicated and involved process but after the first couple of times it really goes quite quickly and since I have a background in computer programming, I enjoy doing it.

Here is a screen shot of the applique pieces as they appear in MTC.  As you can see from the picture, a lot of the fabric is overstitched with threads in the embroidery process.

optimized-pieces In order to introduce the store customers to the “cool” way to create perfect applique pieces, I am teaching two classes this week in which they will be making an embroidered pot holder with pre-cut pieces.  They will prepare their fabrics ahead of time by fusing Steam-A-Seam Lite onto the wrong side.  During class, we will cut the applique pieces for them to use in their embroidery using the Zing.

This is what they will be making.
optimized-skillet   And these are the pieces we will be cutting.


No Sew Fabric Applique

Photo of fabric applique heat transfer vinylWhen I saw the last Team KNK post, “Fused Fabric Applique” by Candace West, I was so surprised and pleased. I had already planned to experiment with a “no sew” fabric applique project, and she explained the fabric cutting portion of the project so well.

Candace completed her project using her sewing machine. But if you are not a sewer, or just don’t want to get out your sewing machine, it is possible to accomplish a similar effect using heat transfer vinyl.

I won’t repeat the excellent instructions that Candace posted, so for more on cutting out the fabric, look here.

  • Materials:
  1. Lightweight Fabric
  2. Heat Transfer Vinyl
  3. Yellow-Capped Blade
  4. Red-Capped Blade 
  5. Fusible Fabric Adhesive (I used Heat N Bond brand)


  • Zing settings – Fabric
  1. Force – 60 to 90 (I got best results around 90)
  2. Offset – .75
  3. Speed – 10
  • Zing settings – HTV
  1. Force – 15 to 20
  2. Offset – .25
  3. Speed – 10
  • Steps:
  1. Create design, cut, and fuse to garment
  2. Create outline of design (I found approx. 3mm is a good width for outline)
  3. Mirror outline in MTC and cut
  4. Weed vinyl outline
  5. Carefully place on top of design, vinyl side down, so that it covers all raw edges
  6. Use iron or heat press to apply (follow instructions provided by vinyl manufacturer)
  7. Peel off clear transfer sheet

My applique was applied to a Gerber brand baby Onesie. Because it was applied to a baby garment, it was quite small. I had to experiment to get an appropriate width to my HTV outline. The first outline I designed would have covered the raw edges very well, but I felt it was too wide and detracted from the small fabric letter. The second outline I designed was much thinner and I really liked the look, but when it was applied it didn’t completely cover the raw edges. So I created a third outline which was thinner than my first attempt, but a bit wider than the second. I applied this over the HTV that I had already applied. It still looked fine but was wide enough to cover the edges.

I do not have a heat press so used an iron to apply the outline. My iron does not get as hot as some, so I really had to press firmly and then went back using the tip of the iron to make sure that the vinyl stuck firmly to the design fabric and garment.

Now, to make a cute little ruffle skirt to match!