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Friday, March 04, 2005

Embroidery Machine Essentials: Appliqué Techniques—A Review

Jeanine Twigg’s Embroidery Machine Essentials: Appliqué Techniques, Companion Project Series book 4 by Mary Mulari. 2004 Krause Publications, Soft cover, ISBN 087349847X, 48 pages, full color illustrations. Containing creative appliqué techniques featuring a variety of edge treatments. Designs and techniques for use with Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, Elna, Husqvarna Viking, Janome, Kenmore, Pfaff, Simplicity, Singer and White embroidery machines. Includes a CD-ROM with 20 original embroidery designs.

Yet again another jam-packed idea filled book in this series. Mary Mulari is well known for her appliqué designs and has produced designs for Amazing Designs. Her expertise is self evident in this book. There are a lot of fresh ideas for using the included designs. Not every appliqué has to be sewn down with a satin stitch and she goes on to show in this book how attractive other finishes can be.

I used one of the designs in this book to decorate a T-shirt for my husband for Christmas. I took the steaming coffee cups design, added lettering with my customizer program, and in one hooping was able to stitch out a very appropriate design for him. It said “Instant Human, Just Add Coffee”. Perfect for the guy who needs a cup of coffee and a good hour to wake up in the morning!

The first chapter of the book deals with appliqué essentials and Mary’s philosophy about appliqué. Even while showing the essentials you see interesting examples of ways to appliqué such as a silk flower appliquéd to fabric using part of a design.

The second chapter covers traditional appliqué techniques. You will see what difference fabric choices can make, how to hoop the fabric and trim it, how to make templates, and how to make reverse appliqué. As most of the designs she demonstrates with don’t have the usual satin stitch edges, all her designs look fresh and interesting.

The third chapter shows lots of creative appliqué techniques with easy instructions. You will learn how to do allover stitch appliqué, raw-edge appliqué, frayed-edge appliqué, padded appliqué, three-dimensional appliqué, and the list goes on. There are lots of ideas for you to try and then to incorporate into your sewing projects.

The four chapter has you making all sorts of appliqué accents for that special touch. Appliqué some buttonhole covers for your favorite denim shirt to give it a bit of personality. Appliqué a pocket and sew it onto an apron. Use small appliqué designs to highlight a scarf. Mary encourages sewing out test samples before committing a design to a project. Then save those test designs for further projects. There is nothing better is a sewing room than bits and pieces that can be sewn together fast for a quick gift!

The last chapter is a showcase of the many projects she has made using her designs collections that are up for sale from various manufacturers. This showcase should give you lots of ideas on projects that you too can make whether from test stitch outs or sewn specifically for a project.

I really liked this book and highly recommend it. The designs that come with the book are unique and can be used in lots of ways. Mary Mulari’s enthusiasm for her work comes right through the pages. I only wish the book were longer with a lot more designs and ideas.

As far as I know, this is the last book in this series. I cannot find any information that any more books are in the works. It would seem like these six books would have covered everything a person would want to know about machine embroidery, but as I see what is going on in embroidery websites, I see a lot of three-dimensional lace projects, projects sewn completely in the hoop, doll clothes sewn in the hoop and other projects never dreamt of a few years ago. I hope Jeanine Twigg will continue adding books to this series as new innovations in machine embroidery comes about.

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