Designs by 1st Impressions Designs


1. Prepare your garment the same as for traditional embroidery. Choose the same backing you would use for embroidering that particular garment. A s a general rule, use tear away backing for sturdy, woven materials (Denim, Poplin, Supplex, wool) and cutaway backing for stretchy materials (Fleece, T-shirts). Always use a backing and be sure to hoop the backing with the garment. The backing stabilizes the knit fabrics and also adds extra body to hold the applique and prevent the garment from dropping around the applique.


2. Mark and hoop your garment the same as if for embroidery.

4. Start your machine. The machine will sew an outline stitch in the exact shape of your first layer of applique pieces. TIP: Sew this portion in a thread color similar to, but not exactly matching the garment color to minimize “Show through:”


3. Place the hooped garment in the machine. Download the applique design in your machine. Double check the orientation of garment and the sew disk design. If you’ve turned the garment upside down or sideways for easier sewing, you need to reorient your design.

6. Position the applique piece(s) in the stitched outline--it should be an exact match--and secure using ONE of these methods:
Spray adhesive: Spray applique pieces with adhesive spray designed for embroidery work. This should be done in an area away from the machine to Minimize residue on equipment and garments. Take sprayed pieces to the hooped garments in the machine and position in the stitched outline.
Tacking or applique iron: This is a small, handheld tool with a heated tip in the shape of a small home iron available at large hobby shops (not craft stores) and some industrial sewing supply companies. Position applique piece in the stitched outline (no spray needed) and secure by ironing the applique to the garment. The heat of the iron activates the activates the adhesive coating on the back of the applique piece. (This coating is automatically on all applique pieces ordered from supplier.) If you are using your own fabric, you can apply the adhesive as well.


5. The machine will automatically stop sewing and then move the pantograph to the right for easier applique placement. NOTE: The design disk is programmed with a color change at this point. Stops need to be programmed by the machine operator. DO NOT REMOVE THE HOOPED GARMENTS FROM THE MACHINE


7. Restart your embroidery machine. Depending on the finishing stitch you chose (zig-zag or satin), the machine will change colors and proceed to the next step.
Zig-Zag: Traditional zig-zag stitch with squared, double-stitched corners to simulate hand sewn tack twill. Match thread color to applique piece for a traditional, clean look. TIP: Use regular sewing thread instead of rayon embroidery thread if you are using this finish on athletic uniforms that will receive a lot of rough wear. Sewing thread is stronger.
 * Satin Stitch: This is a two-step finish. First, The machine will sew a tacking stitch in a light density satin, then proceed to cover that stitching with a full density satin stitch. The finishing satin stitch can be sewn in either matching or contrasting thread. TIP: Using a contrasting thread is a great way to add another color to your design. Also, when working with patterned applique fabrics, match your thread color to one of the darker colors in the pattern for best effect


8. If your design has multiple layers of colors, the program will repeat this process. If not, your design is done. Remove the garment from the hoop.


9. An important finishing step is to press the entire design with a home iron or a heat press machine. This again, activates the adhesive on the applique and creates a permanent bond between the garment and the applique, minimizing the risk of the applique ‘bubbling’ or shrinking after the garment had been washed. TIP: Turn the garment inside out and press on wrong side when using napped (imitation suede, corduroy, etc.) applique fabric to minimize flattening nap.



1. Hoop a piece of tear away backing, then position a sheet of lightweight, but stiff cardboard (a file folder works great), on the backing using adhesive spray. TIP: Eliminate the cardboard and stitch your outline either on heavy cutaway backing to create the pattern or stitch directly on a hooped piece of your applique fabric, then cut out your actual pieces .


3. Cut the cardboard along the dotted outline to create your pattern. Trace the pattern on our applique fabric, making sure to flip the pattern that you’re tracing on the back of your fabric. TIP: Transfer the pattern to a more stable material, such as quilters plastic (found in craft stores) if you’re cutting more than two or three sets of pieces. (The edges of the cardboard pattern will begin to wear down and distort your cutting.)


2. Position the hoop in the machine, remove the thread from the needle and sew the running stitch outline of the applique through the cardboard. TIP: Replace the needle after completing this step, as you’ve damaged the point.

Backing TIP: Stabilize your fabric, store applique fabrics with double-sided, heat sensitive backing, also found at fabric stores. Recommended brands are Wonder-Under and Heat-N-Bond Lite (not craft or vinyl weight). Apply to the wrong side of your fabric according to package directions. Then hoop and cut as above.