Satin Stitching with Shannon Brinkley


We are so thrilled to welcome designer Shannon Brinkley to Auribuzz! Shannon’s debut thread collection, Dryad, released last year. It is a gorgeous array of 12 colors of our 50wt thread, all selected to coordinate with her fabric line with Paintbrush Fabrics, a lovely combination of richly colored and low volume prints.

Shannon is well known for her Scrappy Applique technique and recently hosted a Scrappy Skyline Sew Along. We loved getting to see all of the different versions created and were particularly thrilled when Shannon chose to make a special skyline, just for Aurifil! So, without further pause, please join us in welcoming Shannon Brinkley!


I am delighted to share my newest project with you as well as my pro tips for mastering my favorite appliqué stitch — the Satin Stitch!

First things first, let me introduce myself. My name is Shannon Brinkley, I am a quilt and fabric designer as well as an author and national speaker and teacher. I developed a fun and simple raw-edge appliqué technique I call Scrappy Appliqué. I teach this technique in my book, patterns, and in classes around the country. You can find out more about me and my work, here.

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I hear from a lot of people that appliqué is intimidating or that they’ve tried it in the past, hated it, and have avoided it since. One of my goals as a designer and teacher is to make appliqué fun and accessible. Scrappy Appliqué is quick and simple to pick up, yet allows for a lot of creative possibilities! I love the freedom that raw-edge appliqué allows — you can turn nearly any image into a quilt! And do so relatively easily.

One of my favorite appliqué designs to create are city skylines! I have over 125 different city skylines in my PDF Pattern shop, including my most recent collection of European and Canadian skylines! This quilt is of the Milan Skyline in honor of my favorite thread company’s home base. 🙂

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I used all Aurifil 50wt. cotton threads in this quilt, both for the quilting and the satin stitching. These fabulous threads are found in my Aurifil thread box for my recent fabric collection, Dryad. They are a dream to sew with.

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So let’s talk stitching. The satin stitch is my favorite appliqué stitch to use. I love the tidy/crisp finish it gives a project. It is especially ideal for detailed appliqué pieces, like these skylines. Satin stitching, like any skill, takes practice. Your first attempt at satin stitching will be far from perfect — AND THAT’S OKAY! I believe we need to give ourselves grace as craftsmen and women, and to not let fear of not being perfect scare us away from trying something new.

With that said, I do have a lot of pro tips that will help you achieve a much tidier and closer-to-perfect satin stitch!

Mastering the Satin Stitch

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*I always use a stabilizer when I’m satin stitching, unless my background fabric is a very rigid fabric, like denim or canvas. If you don’t use a stabilizer, you will likely see “tunneling”, where the zig-zag stitch pinches the fabric and creates a tunnel between your appliqué piece and background fabric, as well as puckers. My favorite stabilizer to use with a satin stitch is a Tear-Away stabilizer, because after you’re finished, you simply tear it off.

Prep Work:

  • Make sure the appliqué piece and background are well pressed.
  • Pin or iron on the stabilizer to the back of your work (on the wrong side of your background fabric, behind the appliqué piece)
  • Select either a satin stitch or (if your machine doesn’t have one) the zig-zag stitch.
    • Adjust the stitch width to 2.5-3mm (my go-to is 2.7mm)
    • Adjust the stitch length to 0.5-0.8mm (my go-to is 0.7mm) — this will vary depending on the thread weight.
  • Test the stitch on scrap fabric.
    • if the stitch is not dense enough, decrease the length
    • if the stitch is so dense, it will hardly move forward, increase the length
    • if the stitch is too wide or narrow, adjust the width accordingly

Start Stitching:

Now you are ready to get stitching! Download my Master the Satin Stitch PDF for a complete guide on how to approach curves, corners, and points, to achieve a smooth and tidy stitch.

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I had a ball making beautiful Milan, Italy — this quilt makes me want to go jump on a plane! Check out my other 125 Scrappy Appliqué City Skyline Patterns to find your favorite city and get stitching!

Have you done much raw-edge appliqué? What has your experience been? Do you have a favorite stitch or thread to use?

Website — BlogFacebookInstagramPinterest Twitter

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-8-45-22-amShannon Brinkley is a teacher turned quilter and designer. She designs modern quilting patterns using her super fun and quick raw-edge applique techniques that she developed and wrote about in her book Scrappy Bits Applique. She just released her new line of Applique Patterns called Menagerie. They feature various sweet and whimsical animal templates, all made using her “scrappy applique” techniques.

She nests in the lovely Austin, Texas with her wonderful husband and son. She spends her time sewing, quilting, knitting, reading, writing, cooking, yoga-ing, teaching, and enjoying time with my favorite people.



12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
2725 – 6722 – 5002 – 5007 – 2140 – 6728
2850 – 2975 – 2615 – 2830 – 1104 – 2745


    1. Hi Marlys — We’re so sorry for the inconvenience! We are working on getting the link fixed and will have everything up and running shortly. Thanks so much:)

  1. Hi there. My system says there is an error in the Master the satin stitch pdf script. I am really looking forward to reading your tips.

    1. Hi KJ — it should be working now. Let me know if you’re still unable to access it. Happy Stitching!

  2. Shannon- love your colors and designs! I hope you will be coming to Cleveland, Ohio/environs this year! Would love to win, too!

  3. Shannon, great tips. I usually use a stabilizer underneath. This time, I ironed on a permanent stabilizer because I didn’t want shadowing on the back of the white fabric. I’m not as happy with it. I think your work is gorgeous and will keep looking out for it.

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