Start off with a 7″ plastic embroidery hoop. I bought mine at my local quilt shop. This hoop should be thin enough to slide under a sewing machine’s foot.
Place the plastic portion on a hard surface…
Then place the “applique fabric” that you want to show through the cut-out on top of the plastic hoop piece…
Then place the “main fabric” on top of plastic hoop piece and “applique fabric”. (You can see here how I tried to remove the “E” stitching and how terribly wrong it went.)
Then place a piece of water-soluble stabilizer on top of the “main fabric”. I drew the applique shape (a heart) with a pencil so it would be easier to do the free-motion stitching.
At this point, you will have 4 layers:
Plastic Embroidery Hoop piece
Now insert the Metal Embroidery Hoop piece. Make sure you get it in securely and handle the whole piece gently. The metal piece will pop out easily because the layers are so thick.
With your open-toe foot attached, stitch along the pencil marking as best you can. Go over the design three times. Do NOT worry if you don’t follow your pencil marking exactly. It will probably look terrible the first go around, but it will look great after you’ve gone over it three times. It actually looks better if you stray a little bit. Think whimsical.
It should look something like this when you are done…
Remove the hoop and trim the water-soluble stabilizer.
This is what the other side looks like…
CAREFULLY cut out the inside of your design, making sure not to cut through the quilting-weigh fabric. Then soak it in water until the water-soluble stabilizer has dissolved.