I had some knit tops that I wanted to jazz up, but couldn’t decide what to do. I felt that whatever embellishment I did it needed to lift up off the fabric. Initially.
I thought of using one of my fringe designs, but ultimately decided against that. Fringe machine embroidery requires a lot of stitching – not particularly good for knits because the needle penetrations will show after the fringe is released. Then I had my eureka moment. I was surprised at how fast and easy these Chenille went on. But I was even more impressed with the results.
I had my dimensional embellishments and my knit tops went from okay to wow.
Chenille is a wildly simple means of adding a bit of texture and dimension to an otherwise ho-hum garment. Rarely seen in machine embroidery, chenille designs add a dimension to your projects unlike any other.
Chenille is created with woven fabrics that fray easily – rayon challis, cotton flannels, and other loosely woven natural fabrics. It is an applique technique that gives a totally different effect from traditional machine embroidery applique.
Machine embroidery chenille is that effect when you say you sewed it people will take a ‘good look’, then ask, “how did you do that?” – smiles!
Basically the process goes like this:
Place a few layers of the applique fabric over the area.
Sew the design through all layers.
Remove the hoop from the machine.
Cut the excess fabric off about ⅛” or less on either side of the stitching.
Toss the project in the washer and dryer and let the magic happen.
Trim off any unruly threads and it is ready to go.
Note: Be sure to carefully read the directions that accompany the designs to get the right stabilizers, fabrics, needles, and layers.
There are very few stitches in chenille designs making them the perfect designs for knits. I sewed mine onto knit tops. That said, I practiced sewing them on scraps practicing my chenille skills before committing to sewing them on ready made garments. Turns out it is quite easy to do. Each of my collections contain a small sample with which to practice.
The fabric trimming does not have to be as precise as traditional machine embroidery applique because once the applique fabrics have ‘chenille’ all those uneven cut edges are hidden.
The stars are perfect for a festive season, which is what I did here with white stars on navy top. I figured this was good for July 4th, Christmas, and when comets pass by – smiles.
Chenille designs sew fast. No other machine embroidery technique can give you this effect with so few stitches. Fringe gives a similar effect but fringe this thick would require thousands of dense stitches making them unsuitable for knits or fine fabrics.
While you are visiting me check out my Fringe designs. If you have been following me for very long you know I love fringe and I add it to all my designs I think I can get by with – smiles.
Applique is a novel concept that has been sewn in machine embroidery for a long time. I prefer it for large areas instead of flat solid fills. Plus the wide range of fabrics that can be used, esp the almost solid fabrics with their various shades and minor prints, adds a special touch to the design you can’t get with machine embroidery thread alone.
Some applique designs are quite ornate as the Applique Elegance Collection.
With some minor variations it follows something like this:
1. Sew the outline of the applique shape onto the background fabric
2. Lay the applique fabric over that area
3. Sew the tack down stitches that apply the fabric to the background fabric
4. Take the hoop off the machine – Don’t take the fabric out of the hoop
5. Trim the excess applique fabric from around the outside of the stitching
6. Return the hoop to the machine
7. Sew the details on top of the applique fabric
8. Sew the finishing stitches around the raw edges of the applique fabric – usually satin stitching.
Applique is the perfect choice for towels and other fabrics with a pile (ie. velour, velveteen, corduroy). The applique fabric prevents the pile from coming up through the machine embroidery stitching and creates a flat smooth surface for the design to be sewn.
Some applique designs are quite elegant as the floral design in the Spring Quilt Banner.
If you have not sewn applique before, don’t be afraid to try it in your embroidery hoop. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Search the site
Color me wow!
Watercolor print by Dan Morris
Don’t just wonder. Wonderfil!
Ms. Veteran America - Have what it takes?
Semi-Finals, June 22-23, Las Vegas, Nevada
Final Competition, October 13, Hollywood, California