Machine Embroidery Applique With Heat-Transfer Vinyl (HTV)

Discovering the wonders of the rip-away applique technique introduced by Stahls’, I initially believed that the unique nature of their vinyl made the ripping process smoother. Though it wasn’t available locally, I never gave it much further thought. Recently, I came to understand that the majority of heat-transfer vinyl (HTV) can be seamlessly torn when used as applique material in embroidery. What’s awesome? With this method, I can utilize my glitter HTV and other fantastic vinyls without needing to pre-cut or trim in-hoop during my applique embroidery sessions. Dive into this engaging guide and explore the joy of using iron-on vinyl instead of conventional fabrics for applique.

Revolutionize Crafts: Mastering HTV in Machine Embroidery Appliqué

My Experiments with Various Iron-On Vinyl Brands

The term ‘heat-transfer vinyl’ refers to vinyl that adheres to surfaces when exposed to heat, either through an iron or a heat press. This is distinct from adhesive vinyl, which is more like a large sticker. I’d advise against sewing through adhesive vinyl. Now, regarding embroidery-friendly HTVs, I recently got my hands on some Siser glitter vinyl and its matching metallic threads from DIME – both are absolute gems. ❤️ I’m a big fan of Siser’s glitter HTV, especially their pristine white shade which I frequently use for sublimation.

From my vast collection, I also tested Cricut, a generic brand from Amazon, and the Paper Studio from Hobby Lobby. Each one resulted in stunning appliques and was a breeze to rip off!

Among all, the Siser glitter vinyl was notably thicker, meaning it didn’t stretch as much during use. However, others were still quite manageable. In essence, it seems the majority of HTVs pair well with machine embroidery. I’m curious about your experiences, though!

Deciphering the HTV Anatomy

Unlike regular adhesive vinyl, distinguishing the right side from the wrong in HTV can be tricky, especially during hasty projects. Typically, HTV has two layers: the actual iron-on sheet (which is relatively thin) and a clear protective layer, often referred to as the carrier sheet, liner, or transfer tape.

For embroidery purposes, it’s vital to peel off the clear film. The side in contact with this film is the one that should face up, while the opposite side is the one that gets ironed onto the embroidery base.

Choosing the Right Base for HTV Applique

Though HTV adheres to numerous materials, it’s best to avoid those which can’t handle heat, like velvet. Additionally, fabrics with a peculiar texture or fluff might not be ideal, as any unevenness can show through the vinyl and compromise its hold. This can lead to the vinyl detaching from the satin stitches.

Guidelines for Picking Supplies

The joy of embroidering with HTV? No special supplies are needed other than the vinyl itself! Just select your stabilizer according to your base fabric’s traits. Similarly, choose your needle wisely, and remember that metallic embroidery threads can beautifully complement the shimmer of glitter embroidery vinyl. For designs, those with some voids create a more dramatic effect. Also, dense borders like satin stitches make vinyl tearing simpler, compared to a single running stitch.

Steps to Achieve Stunning HTV Applique Embroideries

I worked with an Anita Goodesign applique design on a drop cloth, aiming for a decorative piece in my crafting space. Pink and turquoise dominate my palette, and I adore them! Here’s my process:

  1. Prepare and Hoop Fabric: Select the right stabilizer and set your fabric in the hoop.
  2. Machine Setup: Load your design and get your machine ready.
  3. Initial Stitch: The placement stitch marks the beginning of the applique process.
  4. Position the HTV: After removing the top protective layer, place the vinyl over the stitch, ensuring it’s well-covered. For extra stability, a light spray of Odif 505 can help.
  5. Tacking Down: This secures the HTV onto your material. Wait before ripping off excess vinyl, as it may cause unwanted distortions.
  6. Border Embroidery: Add the satin stitch, and if needed, other design motifs.
  7. HTV Removal: This is the time to peel the vinyl away from the main design.
  8. Further Embroidery: If needed, you can iron the vinyl at this point to prevent any shifts. Then, continue with your design’s other details.
  9. Final Pressing: Press from the backside to ensure the vinyl adheres well to the front. If pressing from the front, a Teflon sheet can protect the embroidery from direct iron contact.
  10. Wrapping Up: Remove any stabilizer residues, trim jump stitches, and bask in the glory of your shimmering embroidered masterpiece!

Final Touches

Ripping HTV off is unbelievably easy. Plus, it lets me play with colorful vinyls, minus the hassle of pre-cutting. If you’re seeking a twist to traditional hoop trimming techniques, some useful guides include embroidery with AccuQuilt applique dies, embroidery using a Cricut Maker, and integrating embroidery design files with a Silhouette.

Key Highlights Details
Technique Rip-away applique using HTV
Advantage No need for fabric pre-cutting or in-hoop trimming
Top Vinyl Brand Siser glitter HTV
Base Fabric Advice Avoid heat-sensitive and overly textured materials
Embroidery Tips Use metallic threads for a matching sheen and opt for designs with dense borders


Complement the information with the following video:



Hello! I'm Monica, the creative mind behind On my blog, I delve into the world of sewing, sharing my passion and knowledge with a community of both novice and seasoned sewers. From foundational techniques and comprehensive tutorials to innovative projects and expert tips, I cover a wide array of topics to assist you on your sewing journey.

My aim is to make sewing approachable and fun for everyone. I offer detailed instructions, project inspirations, and practical advice to motivate and educate. Whether you're embarking on your first sewing project or looking to enhance your skills, my blog is here to guide and support you at every stage.

Join me on as we explore the art of sewing together, crafting beautiful and unique creations with every stitch. Thank you for visiting my blog and being part of this fantastic sewing community!