- The fabric must be perfectly still. Especially on knits & any fabric with 'give', I start with an iron-on tear away stabilizer, I apply this directly to the back of the item I am stitching. Why? Because that way the threads of the item have something to grip to, & you have just greatly reduced the likelihood of the item shifting. After stitching the design, carefully tear off any excess stabilizer.
- Now you need stabilizer in the hoop. You can hoop together the stabilizer + the item to be stitched. Or, hoop only stabilizer then use some spray adhesive to adhere the item directly to the stabilizer in the hoop. That's my preferred method, you do what suits you. I hoop cut-away medium weight stabilizer. I am a cheapskate & have tried numerous cheap stabilizers. Don't waste your time or money, buy a good medium weight cut-away as an all-around stabilizer.
- You must use embroidery thread on top, & specific bobbin thread in the bobbin. Stitching with regular sewing thread will not work, nor will using regular weight thread in the bobbin. Embroidery bobbin thread is finer than regular thread, it will make it possible to stitch small details, outlines, etc correctly.
- Make sure the stitch tension on your machine is adequately set. Since every machine is different, I leave it to you to research your machine & the specific settings. If the tension is off, you will see spaces.
I almost always use a lightweight iron-on interfacing (a sewing product) on the back of the appliqué fabric, it makes it more stable, less likely to bunch & shrink after washing, also keeps the edges neater when you cut it. Once in a while I use a heavier fabric that doesn't need anything on the back, like corduroy or burlap. Also, you can use an iron-on stabilizer (an embroidery product) on the back of the shirt you're embroidering on, it also helps stabilize the entire design.
- hoop stabilizer with what you're stitching on, as I said above: You can hoop together the stabilizer + the item to be stitched. Or, hoop only stabilizer then use some spray adhesive to adhere the item directly to the stabilizer in the hoop. That's my preferred method, you do what suits you.
- If making a patch then hoop only a medium weight stabilizer
- stitch the Placement round (bright green in my designs)
- place the prepared fabric over the Placement stitching, make sure there's enough fabric to extend past stitching, a little spray adhesive can help hold it in place
- stitch the Tackdown round, which is a small straight stitch forwards then backwards around the perimeter
- remove the hoop from the machine - do NOT remove the fabric from the hoop! Carefully clip close to the stitching. How close? Not close enough to let the fabric pull away from the tackdown stitches, but close enough to let the satin stitches cover the edge.
- put hoop back on machine, stitch the satin Edge round
- stitch any remaining rounds
I love making masks! My kids had them for dress up & make believe. And oh yeah for Halloween too! I do use a satin edge for my mask, even with the wonderful sparkle vinyls I prefer it. With the satin edge, it leaves so many fabric options open, not just vinyl or felt that won't fray. For woven fabrics like cotton, I apply an iron-on interfacing on the back before stitching, it makes a better weight mask.
- I hoop a medium weight stabilizer, not the fabric.
- Stitch the first color, shows placement of the mask.
- Put your fabric on the hoop, covering the placement stitches, use a little spray adhesive to hold it on.
- Stitch the tackdown, remove the hoop from the machine. Don't remove the fabric from the hoop.
- Clip the outside of the mask close to the stitching. Inside the eye sections: Clip only the fabric, don't clip the stabilizer.
- Continue stitching. When finished carefully cut away the stabilizer from the outside of the mask, & from inside the eye sections. Stitch on some elastic, ribbon, or yarn & you are set to go.
- Question: Why don't your masks include placement & stitching for elastic or ribbon to tie the masks on?
- Answer: My early masks did include this, but my test stitchers didn't like it. The most common reason given was the placement is a little different depending on the size of the child wearing the mask. What seemed to work well on my elementary age kids didn't work so well on little toddlers. So that's why I stopped putting placement & stitching for elastic or ribbon on the masks. You get to choose exactly where to place the elastic, ribbon, or yarn to make your child's mask fit well.