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Home Crafts How to Properly Applique: Using Heat n Bond Lite

How to Properly Applique: Using Heat n Bond Lite

Published on October 11, 2012 by in Crafts

Does your Appliques turn out like the above? The fabric starts fraying, or worse: after you are all done, it separates from the stitching!? Yes, I have been there, the above picture is proof! Sometimes you just have to “embroider and learn”, so I made this tutorial to save you a little heartache.  I included pictures of every single step so you don’t miss anything :) I have a Janome MB4 and I use all Ball Point Needles since most of what I embroider are onesies and small shirts. I also got the *FREE* dinosaur design from Five Star Fonts. They have an AMAZING Facebook page with a LOT of helpful information. Allright, here we go:


1. Medium cutaway Stabilizer

2. Heat n Bond LITE

*Savvy Tip: You can buy this at Jo-Ann’s Fabric with the 50% off coupon, or if your store carry this in “bulk”, just ask them to cut however many yards you need , THEN use your coupon!*

3. Your shirt, hoop, and fabric for Applique

Hoop your stabilizer or hoop your shirt, depending on your preference.

(For a tutorial on how to embroider small shirts/Onesies without hooping click Here)

Since I didn’t hoop my shirt, I pinned it down.

Go ahead and trace your design on your shirt.

I kind of measure my design, you can eyeball it, some people do print outs, its whatever works for you. You just want to have an idea of how big to cut your fabric for the applique.

My design was about 4×4 so I just cut a little over 4×4.

Get your HEAT N BOND LITE. Note that Heat N Bond LITE has two sides, one is shiny and coarse, that is your glue side, once you add heat it will stick (fuse) to whatever its touching. The other side is smooth and feels just like paper.

Cut a piece of the same size as your applique fabric that you are going to use. 

Cut your Heat n Bond Lite. To make it easier, I just place my little “square” on top and trace it with the scissors. Some people like cutting the Heat n Bond slightly smaller than what you need in order to avoid getting glue on the ironing board. Mine is so old that I don’t care too much but you have to be careful because if there is glue on the ironing board and you iron a darker fabric, sometimes the glue can transfer to it and that would probably make it shiny, which would kind of ruin it.

This is how I remember this: You iron on the paper side, because the other side is glue, which means that glue shouldn’t touch the pretty side of your fabric. Translation: You want the “wrong side” of the fabric to face the shinny and coarse side of the heat n bond lite.

Now its time to iron it. I always leave my iron setting on “wool” and press on it for about 4-6 seconds. You want to place the iron in one spot and wait there for the 4-6 seconds, then move the iron and do it again. I don’t suggest “ironing” the fabric, like moving the iron back and forth. There is no reason why but it doesn’t seem to fuse as well. *Note, if you are using that sparkly fabric only hold the iron for about 2-3 seconds or the sparkles will melt or fall off. I usually do 2 seconds, then 2 more seconds, giving a few seconds in between for it to cool off a little*

Don’t touch your fabric right away! This can really burn the tip of your fingers! Just give it a few seconds then you can pick it up. I am showing you above why people like to cut the Heat n Bond smaller than the fabric. 

Now, pick a corner and peel the paper off. You can throw the paper away (or recycle!) :)

You will notice that the “wrong side” of your fabric is now shiny, that is the glue and it will be activated with heat. The fabric has also become more firm and it will make for an easy cutting after we tackle our stitches. This glue, once activated by heat, will keep your fabric from fraying or separating from the stitches, which should solve all of your problems and give you perfect appliques every single time!

Now, go ahead and lay your applique fabric on your design, shiny side facing down.

Tackle down your fabric

Cut off the excess fabric. Look at that smoooooooth cut! So easy! I always take the hoop off my machine because the MB-4 really doesn’t give you much room. 

I have 2 Dinosaurs! :) Since the “scrap” pieces of material has the Heat N Bond Lite already fused to it, I like keeping it in my “Applique Scrap Bag” in case I need a small piece of green for a leaf, or whatever. It saves me all the steps above ;) Finish embroidering your design.

You have a couple options to heat your applique in order to activate the glue. You can do it right after you trim the fabric, or at the end. PERSONALLY, I wait until the end (I will show you). If you don’t want to wait, pull the back of the shirt above the design (or use a towel- Just to avoid burning) and iron it for 6 seconds or so. The applique should now stick to your shirt pretty flat. If you are fancy and have those little tiny irons, this is when you would use it! :) As you can see, my ginormous iron doesn’t make this an easy job, hence my preference for waiting until the end.

Doesn’t that look sharp? Wait, it gets better!

Now that we are done, I trimmed the cutaway stabilizer and I am ready to fuse my applique to my shirt (skip this step if you did this after you trimmed your applique). I place a small washcloth on top of my design and…

Place the iron on top of the design and hold it for 6 seconds, then move the iron and do it again until you have covered all parts.

You end result should be a VERY FLAT beautiful applique shirt!!!

Add a little “Soft Back” to the design for the comfort of baby and VOILA!! You are finished :)

Doesn’t it just look beautiful? To get this Super Cute FREE Dinosaur Dino click Here!

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10 Comments  comments 

10 Responses

  1. Patricia Smith

    I am just getting ready to use my first project with heat and bond lite…I was told it would help with the loose threads when trimming my applique and well as make it lie flat. thanks so much for the tutorial…answers all my questions.

  2. Vicki

    Could you possibly email these instructions to me so that I can print them off. I’m new at this and have your info very helpful.

    Thank you,

  3. Stephanie

    Very informative. Please email me the instructions.

  4. Michelle

    This was so cute! I’m definitely new just purchased my machine and have had it for a week. I bought it off of Craigslist the lady was so nice that I got it from. But learning to do something with it is a different story. It’s a babylock Enterprise w 10 threads. : /. I hope I can learn fast. My husband is about to have a cow that I got it. He said he hopes I can make some extra $$ with it. Lol! Thanks again. You are inspiring.

  5. Heather

    I never thought about doing this when appliquing! I am going to have to try it. I just bought A mb4 and I was wondering, do you know how to program a stop between thread changes? I have t figured it out yet.


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