Reindeer Appliques for Christmas

Reindeer are one of my most favorite animals in the whole world. I mean, who doesn’t love Rudolph? Besides there’s also Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donner, Blixen, Comet, Cupid…….and of course we can’t forget Clarice! Am I right?

For this project I resurrected an old cut file I made several years ago for Christmas cards. I’d been promising myself I’d learn how to make appliques, and with Christmas around the corner, I finally had the impetus to just do it!

Since the file wasn’t going to be used to cut card stock this time, I had to make some adjustments to the design. Paper piecing just wouldn’t ‘cut it’ – lol! First I had to copy the design from KNK Studio, paste it to MTC, and then I could make some adjustments. The primary task was to weld all of the main body pieces together so that I had one shape for the deer body. The one on the right was the finished product. I used this file to cut the fabric which had been prepared with a backing of Fuse-n-Bond (for appliques). Then I exported the design to an .svg file so I could import it into my embroidery software.  mtc

What I love about Fuse-n-Bond is that you can use an embroidery machine (if you have one), a simple sewing machine to manually satin stitch it, or you can simply iron the applique onto the selected background material and leave it as-is.


Settings (Maxx Air):

  • f = 86
  • v = 200
  • p = 3


  1. Prepare the fabric by heat pressing Fuse-n-Bond to the back side.
  2. Create/edit/open the design file you want to cut.
  3. Brayer the fabric with Fuse-n-Bond to a very sticky mat. 20161204_153337_opt
  4. Cut the file from various fabrics as needed. 20161204_162123_opt
  5. Option 1 – If applying with an embroidery machine as an applique, you will need to create your matching design in the embroidery software.

    1. Place background fabric into hoop.
    2. Next, stitch the outline to show where to position fabric.  20161204_164152_opt
    3. Stitch applique onto background, then repeat for other fabric pieces. 20161204_164743_opt
    4. Finally, satin stitch the edges. 20161204_172529_opt
  6. Option 2 – Sewing machine

    1. Apply ‘lowest’ layer first using a heat press or iron and work your way to the top. 20161204_164229_opt
    2. Stitch out the edges using a satin stitch on your machine.
    3. Next, decorate as desired.
  7. Option 3 – Heat application only

    1. Apply ‘lowest’ layer first using a heat press or iron and work your way to the top.
    2. Then decorate as desired. 20161204_174043_opt

I cannot decide which way I like him better! Since he’s going to be used for holiday decorations I might make some each way. Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays!


Leather Appliqué for a Rodeo Queen

Rodeo Queen_Side Front

Last month I shared a bit about the leather western show jacket project I have been working on. Since I have now completed the jacket, Rodeo Queen, I wanted to backtrack a little to discuss cutting the appliqués from leather.

Leather is a stretchy material that comes in many different weights and thickness. Leather is classified by the weight quoted in ounces (oz). It can also be identified by the finish, tanning process and suppleness. For this project I worked with garment grade leather, specifically a 1.5 – 2 oz metallic foiled pig suede. As a reference, a 2 oz leather is about the same thickness as a dollar bill folded 3 times.

Metallic Pig Suede_opt

Like fabric, it needs to be properly stabilized for a successful cut on our machines. You can stabilize by applying a fusible product to the back or unfinished side, or by ironing on a heavy duty freezer paper. You can also cut the leather bare if you use a very sticky mat. The issue with just using the sticky mat is that the rough side of the leather will leave fibers behind when removed from the mat. It is also possible to stretch the cut unit out of shape if not removed very carefully.

Best results are achieved when using the Fabric Blade and the Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid). For this project, the two colors of leather were slightly different thicknesses so I needed to adjust my blade exposure for each color.


Maxx Air Settings

Metallic Pig Suede

Pink, 2 oz: Force = 168, Speed = 250, Passes = 2, Blade Height = 13

Silver, 1.5 oz: Force = 160, Speed = 250, Passes = 2, Blade Height = 13


Metallic Pig Suede

Paper backed fusible web, paper was removed before pressing the leather on to the mat.

Fabric Blade

Extra Sticky Mat (Green Grid)

The use of my KNK Maxx Air allowed me to cut seventy of the delicate units, some as small as ½” to ¼” wide in one day!

Crop Back_opt Rodeo Queen_Side Front

Neat Trick for Leather Appliqué

I am working on a big leather appliqué project, a leather western show jacket which will hang in a booth at the International Quilt Market and Festival. The leather appliqués I designed have two sections that must nest together, with some impossibly tiny points.

Cutting leather with our machines can be easily achieved if the leather is properly stabilized. In this case, a paper backed light fusible was used as I need to sew through the appliqués and do not want glue build up on my needle.

So the cutting and sewing is taken care of, but how do I get the parts of each appliqué aligned correctly before fusing to my project? If only there was something like the transfer tape that we use for vinyl, but heat proof so I can iron on it.  Wait a minute, there is! Rhinestone Transfer Tape to the rescue!


Rhinestone Transfer Tape

After cutting out my leather appliqués, I cut squares of the Rhinestone Transfer Tape about 1” bigger all around than the two-part appliqué. Peel the tape from its backing and lay down sticky side up. Position the first section upside down (right side of section to sticky side of tape).

Before and After

Start laying in the second section next to the first. Use a stiletto and tweezers to guide the section into place as you stick it down. If you need to make adjustments, lift the section and coax into place with the tweezers. Press down from the back on all areas to make sure everything is adhered.

Position_opt Adjust_opt

Flip over and replace the tape backing until you are ready to use the appliqué.

Completed unit

When you are ready to fuse the appliqué, remove the backing and press into place on your project. Iron at the recommended temperature and time for the fusible you are using. If you are fusing to leather like I am or any other material that might be damaged by direct contact with a hot iron, use a pressing sheet to protect your project. Carefully remove the transfer tape and sew.


I love finding new uses for the products I already have, and this trick will save me loads of time and aggravation!



Turned Edge Appliqué

Kitty's Window Garden_sm_WM

Turned edge appliqué refers to having a rolled or turned under edge on the applique shapes.  This clean edge finish is the traditional method of appliqué.  Shapes tend to be simpler than raw edge fusible appliqué.  There are a few methods to accomplish the turned edges that can be cut with our machines. For all of the methods discussed below, the fabric is cut ¼” larger all around, clipping all curves.  Fabric is then folded over the shape template and ironed to the shape. The completed unit is then attached to the background fabric by stitching.

  1. Heat resistant template plastic is cut into shapes. Fabric is cut ¼” larger all around, clipping all curves. Starch is applied to the fabric edges before folding back and ironing into shape. The template is then removed before stitching the appliqué to the background fabric.
  2. Freezer Paper templates cut in reverse are ironed to the wrong side of fabric. The fabric is cut ¼” larger all around, clipping all curves. Water soluble glue or starch is applied to the fabric seam allowance and folded over the freezer paper template and ironed into place. The freezer paper template is then removed before stitching the appliqué to the background fabric.
  3. Wash Away/Tear Away stabilizer, like the type used in embroidery can be used as templates for appliqué shapes. Once again after templates are cut in reverse and ironed to the wrong side of fabric, the fabric is cut ¼” larger all around, clipping all curves. Water soluble glue is applied to the fabric seam allowance and folded over the stabilizer template and ironed into place. The main advantage to this method is the template does not have to be removed as it will dissolve when the item is washed.

Another cool feature of our cutting machines is the ability to use a pen and write on the templates to help identify the shape after cutting.

I have cut all three methods for illustration. The photos below are method #3, Wash Away/Tear Away Stabilizer.

Templates_sm Glue Back_sm Iron to Fabric_sm Clip Curves_sm Fold Over_sm Finished Unit_sm



KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Fabric Blade

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade

KNK Zing/Zing Air 12″ x 12″ Extra Sticky Mat Set (Green Grid) 

Pen Tool

Freezer Paper – I use C. Jenkins Freezer Paper sheets. Cut sheets come in two sizes; 8½” x 11” and 12” x 15”. The paper is heavier than standard freezer paper from the grocery store.

Template Plastic – Made by several companies, EZ Quilting No-Melt Mylar Template Plastic is available at most fabric stores and online. I used this because I had it on hand, but many quilters swear by Templar Heat-Resistant Template Plastic.

Wash Away / Tear Away Stabilizer – My favorite is Ricky Tims Stable Stuff Poly. It comes in either cut sheets or by the yard. But any wash away/tear away embroidery stabilizer will work for this method.

Sharpie Marker for writing on the freezer paper and template plastic.

Water Soluble Marking Pen for writing on the stabilizer.

Fabric for appliqué

Liquid Starch

Elmer’s Washable Glue Stick


Maxx Air Settings

Maxx Setting

MTC Layout Templates_sm

  1. Create your appliqué design by drawing in a program like Corel or Make the Cut! or scanning a purchased pattern and converting the image to a SVG file by your favorite method.
  2. Add text to the shapes to identify the shapes after cutting. Create a cut layer and a writing layer.
  3. Using the Extra Sticky Mat, adhere the media to the mat, set origin point to WYSIWYG.
  4. Insert appropriate pen into the Pen Tool. Hide the cut layer and change the cut settings to write the appliqué unit names. Hide writing layer.
  5. Cut the media using the appropriate blade and settings for the media.
  6. Cut templates and carefully remove from mat. The stabilizer is more delicate than the other templates, so take extra care in removing from mat.
  7. Using the template methods as described above, cut the fabric and fold over the edges to the back, gluing and ironing as in the instructions for each media.
  8. Stitch the appliqué shape to the background fabric, either by hand or machine.

Enjoy this free MTC project file and SVG to practice these turned edge appliqué techniques! Turned Edge Applique

Round Flower Sample


Fused Fabric Appliqué

Tribal Heart_Wings Block_sm

There are many forms of appliqué used in sewing and quilting to depict artwork that is not easily pieced. Appliqué is defined as; ornamentation, as a cutout design, that is sewn on to or otherwise applied to a piece of material. While traditionally sewn to the background fabric with hand stitching, modern methods have opened up this style to many sewists that want a faster and still beautiful treatment of appliqué on their projects. Over the next few of my posts I will discuss the ways our cutting machines can help us out with these modern methods.

The easiest method by far, is to adhere the appliqué by fusing the fabric to the background. Fusible web, a paper backed adhesive product, is ironed on to the back of the fabric to be used for the appliqué shape. Then a pattern is traced to the paper side of the fusible and the shape is cut out. Once the paper is peeled off the shape can be placed in the desired position on the background and fused (ironed) into place. The edge of the cut fabric is left raw so depending on the wear that the item will receive, the sewer can then choose to machine stitch around the edges to secure it permanently.

When cutting these shapes out by hand with scissors, it can be tiresome to cut small or intricate shapes. But by converting the patterns to SVG digital files, we can have our cutting machines do this tedious work for us!

The key to cutting fabric on a cutting machine is proper stabilization of the fabric so it does not move and stretch during the cutting process. A very sticky mat is recommended and depending on the fusible product you use you may need to remove the paper backing as some products have a slick paper that does not adhere well to the mat. It is also best to use a blade made for cutting fabric, such as the KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Fabric Blade.


KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Fabric Blade

KNK Zing/Zing Air 12″ x 12″ Extra Sticky Mat Set (Green Grid)  

Fabric for appliqué

Fusible paper backed adhesive –  I prefer the Print n’ Fuse product as it comes in 8½” x 11” sheets. Steam a Seam Lite is also a good choice.

I used my own original design, Tribal Heart with Wings, which I share with you! CWest_Tribal Heart_Wings

Maxx Air Settings for Fabric

  • Blade = Yellow Blade
  • Blade height = 25
  • Force =55 to 85 depending on the thickness of the fabric
  • Velocity = 200
  • # Passes = 1 to 2
  • Blade Offset = .35

Tribal Heart_Wings


  1. Create your appliqué design by drawing in a program like Corel or Make the Cut! or scanning a purchased pattern and converting the image to a SVG file by your favorite method.
  2. Fuse (iron) the paper backed fusible adhesive to the appliqué fabric, following the manufacturers instructions.
  3. Adhere the fabric firmly to the cutting mat removing paper backing if necessary.
  4. Cut appliqué and carefully remove from mat.
  5. Fuse (iron) the appliqué in the desired position on to your project.
  6. For a permanent attachment, stitch around the edges of the appliqué to secure it to the background.

If you have embroidery digitizing software, you can create an appliqué embroidery file to do the final stitching for you!