Here are some of my best satin stitching tips:
1. Machine set up: Set the machine for zig zag. The stitch width will be increased. The amount of increase depends on the look you want, but keep in mind that the wider the zig zag, the bigger the “bite” into the appliqué and the stronger it will be in a quilt that will get used and loved. The stitch length should be decreased to almost zero. The stitches should be close together, but not on top of each other.
2. Match the thread color to the fabric which is being appliquéd. This way if the fabric shows between the stitches, it won’t be obvious (compare orange to black stitching in “K”). I feel that satin stitching puts a lot of holes in the fabric which can weaken it a bit. By matching the thread color the length can be relaxed a little and still yield good results. If you absolutely must use a contrasting thread you will need to shorten the stitch length.
3. Use a stabilizer underneath the block. Without stabilizer the stitches tend to pull together and cause what’s called “tunneling” and the result is puckers. Many different stabilizers are available for purchase: wash away, tear away and heat away, just to name a few. I prefer scrap paper from my computer. It’s a good way to recycle misprints and costs nothing. When doing Repliqué the paper which the pattern is printed on is already in place and works great. Satin stitching puts so many holes so close together that paper removal is easy :-).