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Mandy's  Machine Blanket Stitch Tips

Secret Society Blog

Mandy's Machine Blanket Stitch Tips

Alison Owens


Blanket Stitch is my all-time favourite stitch on my machine and I want you to enjoy it and use it as much as I do so here are some tips and tricks that I hope will help you create the perfect stitch.

• Change your the needle before your start sewing (it makes a huge difference, I promise) a
• Give the machine a good dust, removing any lint, and adding a hint of machine oil to any metal moving parts.
• Bobbin winding is so very important, if it is not wound evenly your stitches will be uneven. So, if in doubt, check your machine Manual. (When you put your bobbin into the case of a BERNINA sewing machine you will notice that it has a little arm with a hole in it, if you put the thread into this hole, it will make the bottom tension tighter creating a perfect blanket stitch.  I am not sure if other makes of machine have this facility, but I use it all the time so have a look and see if you have something similar.)

Choosing the stitch
Most machines baffle us with their selection of stitches, you need only one and this will be the simplest of them all - a single blanket stitch. Test the stitches out and watch how they sew, if they go back and forth too many times and make a dense, thick stitch you will not be able to stitch smaller shapes or go around corners and you certainly will not be able to use wool or thicker threads.

Machine feet
• Always use an open toe appliqué foot, number 20 on a Bernina. Remember – If you can’t see where you are going your stitches will be disastrous!

Threads and Tension
• Use the same coloured thread in your bobbin, it can be a bobbin fill, but this will save any stray coloured dots showing up on the front later on.
• Reduce your tension, so that the top thread will definitely be underneath your work; this will create a nice top shape. Remember – ‘lefty loosey, righty tightly’ or, the lower the number the looser the thread.
• Use a good quality sewing thread for a fine stitch, but to highlight an appliqué, use a thicker thread. I love Madeira and Aurifil wool threads, but you must use a larger needle 16/jeans always work well for me. Do not change the bobbin thread though.


The Stitching
Move your needle position right over to the right as far as it will go, this means the appliqué will be under the foot holding the fabric ready for the stitch.
• The appliqué should always be on the left - hand side and the blanket stitch will stitch to the left. Some machines have a mirror button that you can change direction of the stitch.
• One of my favourite facilities of any machine is the needle down position - it holds the work in position while you move direction. Some machines have a wonderful ‘hover’ facility where the needle goes down and the foot come up a little so you can move the work.
• For ordinary blanket stitching, I slightly increase the stitch length and width just a dash, especially when using a thicker thread. The scale of the stitch looks better.  I only reduce the length and width when sewing really fine pieces of appliqué like hands, faces and tiny flowers.
• We want the straight line of the stitch to be on the background fabric close to the appliqué and the horizontal line to stitch onto the appliqué. You cannot turn corners without stopping and starting, a lot, BUT ALWAYS FINISH on the outside edge, with your needle down. This is so important to get a good looking stitch.
• When you sew a blanket stitch you can visualise where the next stitch may land, if you feel it is out of sync I very gentle pull the work so the stitch lands where I want it too, for example on points.

Fastening off
I do not fasten off my threads on the machine, I prefer to leave long ends that I take through-to the back later on , I do not sew them in , I just cut them off to an inch on the back as it is very unlikely that they will come undone from the front , it’s not like a seam. This saves a lot of time.  Generally, my appliqué work will be quilted later, and this top stitching will hold all the threads from the appliqué in place.   

• I always use a fusible webbing with my appliqué and my favourite is the cheapest  (which I sell on my website)!
• As a general rule, only buy small amounts of fusible webbing and don’t store it in a moist environment.  Once the gluey sheet has come off of the backing fabric, it’s impossible to use, with my brand this does not seem to happen so readily.

Download Mandy’s Machine Blanket Stitching Tips Here (four pages)