The art of appliqueing is traditional and stems back thousands of years. You can create really special and beautiful designs using this technique and add character to handmade projects!
If you’re new to appliques and curious about the craft, maybe thinking of investing in an embroidery machine.
If this sounds right, you might be wondering where to start.
Even if you’ve been using the appliqueing technique to decorate and embellish items for some time now, there are lots of products available on the market right now that will help you create professional sewing projects. This article will help you find the right one for you.
Read on to find the perfect machine so you can start effortlessly creating gorgeous designs for your projects.
Best From The Review
Here’s a quick look at the best applique machines from the lineup…
My top pick is the Brother SE600. It has the look of a good machine to buy if you want both sewing and embroidery functions for appliques.
Included are 7 feet, an embroidery hoop and dust cover to prolong the life of your sewing machine.
The automatic needle threader is one of my favorite features!
Save Your Designs
The USB port to import embroidery designs is essential to access your own designs. The built in memory will save your embroidery designs and patterns in case you misplace your USB.
It’s lightweight, and therefore easy to store when you want to tidy up your sewing area.
The best embroidery and sewing machine for the value is the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960.
Although this machine doesn’t hook up to a computer or have a USB port for your embroidery designs, I think this is a great choice for a lower budget embroidery and appliques machine.
It comes with a darning and embroidery foot, needle threader, and lots of decorative stitches for you to choose from when stitching your pieces together.
You would need to drop the feed dogs and then free motion the material under the needle, in embroidery designs of your choice.
It’s a really good choice for those who are skilled in free motion to create appliques patterns.
An embroidery machine with a lot of workspace for projects.
If money is no concern for you, then my editor’s choice for embroidery is the Janome Memory Craft 500E. It has an extra large embroidery area of 7.9 x 11”.
The built in library contains 160 embroidery designs that include classic designs and treats such as floral alphabet designs.
If that’s not enough to play with, your own designs are easily imported and edited through the machine’s advanced on-screen functions, hosted on the LCD color touch screen.
The MC500E comes with an extra wide extension table and 4 embroidery hoops – well worth the money.
Top Applique Sewing Machines
I’ve done the work and reviewed 5 of the top sewing and embroidery machines on the market at the moment. Hopefully, this will help your decision be a little easier.
Let’s begin with the Brother SE600.
The Brother SE600 comes with 80 built in designs and 6 embroidery lettering fonts for personalization of your sewing projects. This machine is very suitable for first time users with its easy to use software.
If you can’t find anything you like in its extensive library, you can create your own designs from .jpg, to .pes.
The Brother SE600 is compatible with additional programs, such as SewArt and Amazing Designs software.
The 3.2” screen will let you edit your designs, from rotation to mirroring the pattern.
Features include the automatic needle threader and drop in top bobbin.
A bountiful accessory sewing kit incorporates a hoop, embroidery arm, and 7 sewing feet.
The high quality stitching and embroidery features mean it’s a great potential choice for beginners learning sewing appliques.
- Stitches per minute: 710
- Weight: 11.8lbs.
- Automatic needle threader.
- Quiet when in use.
- Dual use, can be used for sewing and embroidery.
- Instructions in the manual can be confusing.
- Tricky to get hold of customer service.
A fresher version of the Brother PE 770. It’s an embroidery only machine, so you can’t really go wrong.
It comes with 138 built in designs and 11 font designs for you to choose from. If that’s not enough, there’s a memory card slot and USB port for you to import your own sewing designs into the machine.
The larger hoop area gives you more space for creative freedom and designs.
The software built in has a color palette so you can change the color of individual threads on screen to match your appliques’ scheme.
One of my favorite things about the machine is the bobbin thread low feature.
A message will appear on the screen when the bobbin thread is running low and will stop the needle from moving, all to prevent knots from tangling at the back of the appliques.
- Hoop area: 5 x 7
- Stitches per minute: 710
- Weight: 13.7 lbs
- 138 built in designs
- 5 x 7 hoop area
- Color LCD screen.
- Only recognises plastic bobbins
- LCD screen small
The Singer Quantum Stylist 9960 is a computerized machine for sewing with a drop feed dog feature to allow you to embroider and machine applique.
It comes with a darning and embroidery foot, with 600 decorative look stitches.
Features on this machine include an automatic needle threader, auto thread width, and length adjuster.
The needle sews seamlessly on heavy duty fabrics as well as thinner materials.
The speed slider bar gives you more control over the sewing speed.
The strong and consistent DC motor can be lock-hinged, so the presser foot won’t lose touch when sewing over a hump (a sewer’s worst nightmare – am I right?).
You can lift the presser foot extra high, so you can get large quilts in and out easier while sewing the top layer, completing a professional look.
- Hoop area: dependant on size of hoop as can lower feed dogs for free motion.
- Stitches per minute: 850
- Weight: 18.2lbs
- Easy to load drop top in bobbin.
- Easy to thread needle.
- LCD touch screen to see the stitch selection.
- Cannot change the size of the letters for embroidery monogramming.
- Pressure on the foot presser when sewing is not manually adjustable.
A hybrid embroidery machine, which ensures high performance in both sewing and embroidering.
The Brother SE1900 is a hybrid embroidery machine, which ensures high performance in both sewing and embroidering.
It will embroider at 650 spm and rev up to 850 spm during regular sewing.
You can customize your digital designs and projects on the 3.2” LCD screen by importing them via the USB port.
The library has 138 built in designs and 240 built in stitches to keep you busy (you can see the library of built in stitches here).
It’s feature rich with an automatic reinforcement characteristic, which allows you to choose if you want the needle to automatically reverse sew to lock.
The automatic tension sets itself once you’ve selected your stitch, so you shouldn’t have to worry about tension settings at all.
A built in thread cutter saves you precious and expensive thread, while the speed control means more manageability.
The storage is a great place to keep accessories that are provided: bobbins, extra needle, spool caps, scissors, and 8 additional feet.
When you’ve finished with your appliques and embroidery designs, the device can be transformed for regular sewing by removing the embroidery unit and swapping the needle plate.
Customers say in use, both embroidery and regular sewing stitches are neat and consistent without losing any functionality from either side.
- Hoop area: 5 x 7”
- Stitches per minute: 850
- Weight: 22.05lbs
- Notification when bobbin thread is running low.
- Seven sewing feet plus an embroidery foot included.
- Easy to learn.
- Limited in embroidering with 5 x 7” workspace.
- No quilting foot included.
A computerized embroidery machine for people of all sewing and embroidery levels.
The Janome Memory Craft 500E; is a computerized embroidery machine for people of all sewing and embroidery levels.
The embroidery arm is mounted on the machine bed, designed so hoops snap into place and can be removed easily.
It comes with a touch screen, enabling the user easy access to the built in embroidery designs, including 6 monogram fonts and 160 embroidery designs. It’s made from a light aluminum material and has a scratch resistant surface for lifelong use.
You won’t have to worry about finding the center point, as the machine automatically centres the needle and embroidery designs for you.
The USB port allows easy editing on a computer and the ability to transfer it to the machine, rather than edit on screen (although that is possible).
Look up tutorials to help with the on screen edits!
Embroidery designs are categorized by hoop size in the menu, and you can combine designs on screen in a number of ways.
The generous accessories given include an extra wide extension table, 4 embroidery hoops, needles, bobbins, and oil dispenser.
- Hoop area: 7.9 x 11”
- Stitches per minute: 860
- Weight: 20lbs
- Easy needle threading system.
- Excels at embroidery sewing.
- Easy for beginners to pick up embroidery designs.
- Cannot change size more than 20% above or below the original dimension.
- Digitizing embroidery software for designs is not included.
Which embroidery machine is right for me?
There, that was my personal list of the top 5 machines for sewing patterns and embroidery on the market.
Those will allow you to attach a sewing design easily!
I’ve condensed the usage information down into some other categories below:
Can my sewing machines applique?
While not all Singer machinesfor sewing are also embroidery specific, it is possible to use them for appliques.
Tutorials are abundant online that will guide you on how to use a Singer machine to make sewing designs with the correct needle.
There is a decorative stitch, inbuilt into most of the machines.
Trial and Error
It might take a while to experiment with embroidery designs on scrap fabrics to find the exact settings you need for your applique to perform optimally.
An open toe foot can be helpful for appliqué, as it provides a clear view of the sewing space and needle.
The left side of the stitching should be on the appliqué material, while the right side of the stitching should be on the background material.
You can also purchase a Singer Applique Foot separately.
It’s clear for easy visibility during sewing and has the groove on the underside to let dense decorative stitches pass.
The short toes give a hand to the maneuverability around curves, helping to give projects a good finished look.
What does appliqueing mean in sewing?
Applique is an embellishment technique in which designs are layered on a foundation material and the pattern is stitched in place, either by hand or using a machine.
It comes from the French word ‘appliquer’, meaning application.
Embroidery machines and appliques designs that are digitized have made this process much easier than it used to be.
How are appliques done?
The raw edges of a design are turned under, then pinned to a background fabric.
Attaching the pieces is done by sewing decorative stitches such as zig-zag, satin, or buttonhole for a professional look.
Using an embroidery machine, you can follow these steps:
- Load the design onto the embroidery machine.
- Prepare the hoop (add layer of stabiliser)
- Follow the appliques outline with your thread.
- Apply appliques over stitch outline and run another tack stitch over it to keep it in place.
- Trim excess appliques material from design.
- Embroider your top stitch over the appliques design.
Here’s an example of machine applique
You can find plenty of tutorials for appliques on sewing and embroidery machines on Youtube.
What is an appliques sewing machine?
An appliques machine, is a device that allows you to add appliques to garments, household objects, and home décor.
It can either be an embroidery machine, with more built in functions than a domestic machine, or a domestic machine with appliques feet.
You can upload or select an appliqueing design on an embroidery machine.
With a domestic machine, you will have to attach the pattern to the material and stitch around it manually.
What’s the difference between a sewing machine and an appliqueing machine?
A machine applique oriented is basically an embroidery machine with appliques functions. The patterns can be loaded into the machine and the machine does the stitching for you.
Using a sewing machine for appliques requires time and practice (though still VERY fun and fairly easy!).
When using a regular machine, you will need to prepare your own design and trace it onto some paper or stabilizing fabrics on each layer.
You will have to guide the materials under the needle manually.
Lots of people don’t want to do this, but I really enjoy the process, personally.
You can find loads of tips and tricks for easy embroidery appliques if you look on YouTube. Many channels are there to give you a hand with patterns and have tips about using the correct fabrics.
Things to consider
There are many things to consider when purchasing any type of embroidery machine and investing your hard earned cash.
I’ve rounded up my list of top things to consider with an embroidery machine, to ensure you’ve covered before you start to look.
Why are you looking to purchase an embroidery machine? If you will be using it solely for appliques, an embroidery only could be the right choice for you.
Due to the computerized features, the machine applique work is mostly done for you.
A computerized embroidery machine will move quickly if high production is your prerogative. They also give a lower margin of error, and some may say a more professional look to the edging.
Dual Function Machines
If you prefer to make designs hands on and love both appliqueing, embroidery, and pattern sewing (like me), then a domestic sewing machine could be suitable for you.
The process may be slower in the beginning and there’s lots of trial and error with getting the look you want right.
But personally, I can’t help but feel more rewarded when I look back at a finished product.
If you are a beginner in the pattern embroidery and appliqué world, welcome! Do you know anyone with a sewing or embroidery machine where you might be allowed to have a try?
Often, retailers will let you try out embroidery machines before you purchase, so you can decide which machine feels most comfortable for your skill level.
If you are advanced in the world of embroidery projects, you may already have a machine. If you want tutorials, you can find all kinds of appliques guides online.
Like everything on the market, you can buy a cheap embroidery model or spend a ton, it just depends what you want.
If you are considering a machine for a home business that can personalize products and fabrics, you may earn your money back pretty quickly if you were to invest in a more expensive model.
Do your thorough research, however, as the most expensive isn’t always the best.
Be sure the machine comes with the features and accessories you want.
The feet bought separately can be costly.
If you’ll only need the machine for mass production and using the same features and designs, why spend more than you have to?
All the products listed today come with either an add on warranty or a warranty that is included in the price. Check the warranty details before you make the purchase.
Most manufacturers will offer a decent and reliable warranty cover, however, it could vary depending on the seller you buy from.
For example, companies like Brother offer a 25-year limited warranty for the machine’s chassis unit, a 5-year warranty for the printed circuit boards, and a 1-year warranty for the machine.
Even so, if the purchase isn’t made from a specific dealer, the warranty might not be valid.
Check and see where repairs can be done under warranty. Will it be covered in the local repair show? You might have to send your machine away to be fixed if any errors arise.
Sewing machine type
If you will be investing in a machine that will sew as well as embroider, think about other functions you may want for your projects.
Modern devices for sewing now come with a collection of built in stitches and automatic features.
Some come with carry handles for movability, whilst others are heavy and difficult to move.
Typically, embroidery machines will have an LCD display where you can control the machine, choose selections, and edit designs.
An alternative to an LCD screen is your smart device. One of the machines I reviewed above uses an app on your tablet or phone as the display.
Check if the LCD screen will be in black and white or color, and also consider its size if you have preference.
Stitches per minute vary from 500 – 1300 typically in embroidery machines. The faster the machine needle works, the faster mistakes can happen.
Learn how to control the speed, whether through speed slider control, computerized selection, or foot pedal.
Accessories for an appliques or embroidery machine can be expensive. Plenty of accessories usually come with the product.
Important accessories for appliques can include:
- Table extension – good for easy free motion appliques.
- Storage – to keep the accessories and feet safe!
- Embroidery foot, zipper foot and buttonhole foot (these are the most common types of embroidery stitching).
You’ll probably want to stay up to date on modern features. Why wouldn’t you, with so many available!
My favourite features of the machines are:
- Automatic needle threader, saves time and squinting trying to match the eye and one small piece of thread.
- Automatic thread cutter, saves you from running for the scissors each time and will also save you thread.
There’s an abundance of designs and tutorials out there for embroidery projects online.
You can buy ready-made designs on USB memory sticks or memory cards.
Employ the embroidery machines’ built in software or if you’re really creative and brave, you can create your own.
Tulip patterns for embroidery sewing machines
Flowers are probably the most common selection for designs and patterns, and you can find beautiful tulip designs in various online stores and pre-cut tulip designs in shops.
You can find tutorials for these appliques projects online.
What’s the difference between appliques and embroidery?
Appliques is a cut and sew technique, where shapes are cut from different materials and sewn into one shape or as designs on a background fabric.
Embroidery is a decorative technique that does a very similar thing, but the design or shape incorporates thread or yarn.
What is the difference between quilting and appliqueing?
Quilting is where three or more pieces of material are attached to each other, usually in a rectangle shape for a decorative quilt or functional quilt.
Appliques are often used on the top layer of a quilt to enhance the overall image.
You can find an abundance of tips on YouTube, or read some pointers for quilts here.
Can I use my sewing machine for appliqueing?
Yes! It will. With practice and patience, you can applique and embroider on a regular machine.
All you really need is the zig-zag or satin stitch. This will allow you to apply appliques without turning the raw edges, which can be fiddly and time consuming.
The zig-zag is my favourite method for appliques, and it’s used to bind the edges of the material while attaching it at the same time.
Do you have to use stabilizer for appliques?
A small stabilizer is used beneath the background fabric before you want to begin appliqueing it.
This prevents puckering that pulls at the foundation of the material. They’re not compulsory, but it is the secret to smooth appliqueing and even advanced appliques users use them.
There are different types of stabilizers to hold the material taut, cut away, tear away, and wash away so there will be no notice of it on your finished product.
There are tutorials that will guide you to attach appliques without a stabilizer. Remember, only you can decide which process is right for you!
Appliqueing might sound intimidating, but there’s nothing better than creating something utterly unique as a gift for someone you love, or satisfying paid clients!
From the machines I reviewed, the top overall recommendation is the Brother SE600. The large LCD touch screen really adds reality to your work.
The beginner really needn’t fear, with an infinite number of tutorials on how to get started with the Brother SE600.
The machine for value is the Singer Quantum 9960. It’s of high quality grade materials and will last a long time.
You can also drop the feed dogs to create your own embroidery projects with free motion sewing.
Finally, my editor’s choice is the Janome Memory Craft 500E.
Although it’s at the higher end of the price range, if you will be using this machine for embroidery and appliqueing projects, I think it’s well worth the buck.
It also boasts the largest embroidery area from the machines on this list!
I hope this article has been useful for you, and I truly hope you find a machine that fulfils all of your appliqueing needs.