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Dad’s Day Gift Tote and Gift Bag
Dad’s Day Gift Tote and Gift Bag
NEW! This Father’s Day, present Dad’s gifts in a novel way with a banded tote and embroidered gift bag with themed fabric to fit his hobby.
Baltimore Birth Month Flowers of the Year Quilt
Baltimore Birth Month Flowers of the Year Quilt

This striking quilt showcases the twelve Australian birth month flowers of the year. I’ve used a black background fabric and chosen brightly colored batiks for the flowers for contemporary appeal. Each block has been sashed with a 2¼” (5.7cm) wide band composed of a strip of red sandwiched between two bands of black. Cornerstones are appliquéd with an edited version from the October Marigold (included with the collection). The quilt is finished with a 4½” (11.4cm) wide black border and black bias binding.

 

This quilt was designed, embroidered, and pieced by Lindee Goodall and quilted by a Tucson quilter, Barbara Angerhoffer.

 

Throughout the last twelve months via the Echidna P.I.E. program, we’ve used designs from the Australian Birth Month Flowers of the Year series, five of which are also included in the U.S. group, to learn embroidery skills and create a project. Now we’ll use the appliqué versions to make a quilt

 

 

I’ve created two versions of the Baltimore Birth Month Flowers of the Year quilt. For the U.S. quilt, I’ve used a white background fabric and chosen softer colored batiks for the flowers for a romantic, vintage look. Each block has been sashed with 1” (2.5cm) wide white strips set off with coral cornerstones. A narrow border of small green squares set on point frames the sashed blocks. The outer mitered corner border is scalloped and adorned in opposing corners with a trailing vine composed of single elements from various blocks, most of which were edited slightly.

 

If you’d like something more involved and challenging, you might prefer that one and instructions are available separately.

 

Echidna PIE was a series of monthly embroidery lessons based on the designs used in this quilt and was active from July 2014 through July 2015. Lessons and associated content are still available at EchidnaClub.com.au. If you’re brand new to embroidery, you may find them helpful for completing this quilt; they are not required.

 

These instructions are to complete the quilt and assume some basic embroidery skills. If you need more help, you can also visit LindeeGEmbroidery.com or my YouTube channel for a growing body of free content.

 

Skill Level

These instructions assume that you know how to do the following tasks:

 

  • How to piece a quilt
  • How to bind a quilt
  • How to stitch machine embroidered appliqué using precut fabric (See included PDF, Apppliqué Basics)
  • If you have a sewing field smaller than 200 x 200mm, how to rehoop for precise design placement. (For a full lesson on this, check out Echidna PIE Lesson 2, Perfect Placement Pointers, August 2014)

 

What’s Included

  • Instructions to complete the quilt as shown
  • Cornerstone design with appliqué templates
  • Applique Basics PDF

 

A Word About Measurements

I measure stitches in metric (millimeters for density and stitch length or width) and most other measurements in imperial (inches, feet, and yards). Many of you work entirely in metric. For this project, I’ll put the measurements I actually used first and then the converted metric versions in parentheses.

 

For example, all my quilting rulers measure in inches so that’s what I use and my machine and embroidery software measures stitch lengths in millimeters. So, the instructions might read:

 

Cut strips to 2” (5.1cm) wide and stitch using a ¼” (6mm) seam with a 2.0mm stitch length.

 

Since meters are longer than yards by slightly more than 3” (8.6cm), I’ll simply round them off as even and the measurement will read “½ yd/m.”

 

Note About Links

In some cases, links to external web sites are included for more information on a technique or product. All the links were active at the time of writing but web sites can vanish and pages can change. If a link is no longer working, please let me know and then just use a search tool to see if the information can be found elsewhere.

 

Please read through all instructions before starting your project!

 

Baltimore Birth Month Flowers Quilt

Finished quilt size: approximately 48 x 60” (122 x 152cm)

Finished block size: 8 x 8” (20 x 20cm)

Feel free to adapt this pattern to your own tastes and quilting styles. If you want a larger quilt, consider setting the blocks on point or adding more or wider borders. The redwork versions of the design can quickly create additional blocks that can expand the size of your quilt with minimal effort.

 

Fabric

Yardage is based on 42” (107cm) wide fabric unless otherwise stated.

WOF=width of fabric

  • Blocks: You’ll need to do some calculations

Although each embroidered block is trimmed to a 9” (22.8cm) square, you will need extra fabric to allow for hooping. How much extra depends on the size of your hoop and your hooping method; you may need to allow as much as 18” (45.7cm) for each block. Do not precut your blocks smaller than 10” (25.4cm) before embroidering. This extra fabric may be needed if your design is sewn off center or crooked. Also, embroidery itself tends to shrink and distort the fabric; you will still need to true up your block no matter how carefully you embroider. By trimming your blocks when you are ready to piece your quilt, you can preserve a crisp edge on your fabrics. To make the quilt as shown, you’ll need enough fabric for 12 blocks plus any practice or replacement blocks.

  • Appliqués: Fat quarters or scraps in your choice of colors
  • Cornerstones: ¼ yd/m (black) While you don’t actually need this much fabric for the 20 cornerstones, you will need enough fabric to hoop.
  • Pieced sashing:
  • ¼ yd/m for center strip (red)
  • ½ yd/m for background (black)
  • Border: 2 yd/m (black) I prefer to cut my borders along the length of the fabric rather than across.
  • Binding: ⅝ yd/m (black)
  • Backing: 4 yd/m

Cutting

  • Cornerstones: If appliquéing the cornerstones, cut after embroidering—20 squares 2¾ x 2¾” (7 x 7cm) (black)
  • Pieced sashing:
  • 9 strips, 1¼” (3.2cm) x WOF for the center strip (red)
  • 18 strips, 1¼” (3.2cm) x WOF for the outer strips (black)
  • Outer border: 4 strips measured to your quilt. Add extra width as required for quilting and squaring. My final borders were trimmed to 4½”.
  • Binding: Bias strips 2½” (6.35cm) x length of the perimeter plus 12” (30.5cm) (black)

Supplies

 

All the Birth Month Flowers of the Year blocks are interchangeable for size. Some flowers are designated for both the U.S. and Australia (March, April, June, November, December). Also, some of the flowers designated for Australia are alternates for the U.S. When I originally designed this quilt, it was for the U.S. and I chose flowers that would work well as appliqués and not look too much the same, such as Aster and Daisy.

 

 

Fabric Preparation

All fabrics were washed and dried before cutting or stitching to preshrink.

 

Tips For Stitching Blocks

To conserve fabric—I would have needed to cut a 16” (40.6cm) square for each block for normal between-the-rings hooping—I cut my blocks to 10” (25.4cm) and heavily starched each block by dipping the cut blocks into full strength liquid starch and then smoothing each block out squarely and wrinkle-free on my cutting table to dry.

 

When “floating” projects rather than hooping, the fabric and stabilizer must be made as stable as possible. For stabilizer, I chose a wash-away product, which can either be something like Wash-Away (two layers) or a wash-away tear-away (one layer). Large straight sides on hoops allow for more slippage to occur. If your hoop does not securely hold the stabilizer when hooped by itself, an extra measure of security can be added with duct tape.

 

Simply tear some lengths of duct tape in half lengthwise and press onto the stabilizer on the back near the hoop edge then wrap up over the bottom and side of the hoop. As long as your hoop is clean, no sticky residue will remain.

 

 

For the fabric, starching stiffly is one measure I take, the second is basting. To get an accurate placement, I do a double-basting box process. The first baste is stitched directly onto the stabilizer as a placement guide. The second attaches the block to the stabilizer. I didn’t use any spray adhesives.

 

If your machine has a baste-in-the-hoop feature, now’s a great time to use it. If it doesn’t, then basting boxes can be added in a program like Embrilliance Essentials—just make each one a different color or program in a stop at your machine so that you can place the fabric after the first one sews.

 

I prefer adding basting boxes in software because I often make the box a different size when using it as a placement reference. When basting at the machine, it optimizes the baste to the bounding box perimeter of the design.

 

If you don’t have a large enough hoop to stitch the full-size block design, you’ll need to use one of the split versions to create the block. When doing multiple hoopings, I try to use a piece of stabilizer that will accommodate all of the hoopings rather than use multiple pieces of stabilizer. Press after each hooping to smooth out any creases.

 

Design Preparation

There’s really no preparation for the blocks themselves.

For the appliquéd cornerstones, open the included design, lgq015186. This is the same design that was included with the October Marigold, I’ve just added a basting box to it. The basting box is a scant 3mm larger than the actual cut block size. You can combine this design in your hoop as many times as will fit leaving a few millimeters between each shape. I have a hoop that was large enough to accommodate 9 blocks; which meant I could get all but 2 blocks done in just two hoopings.

 

After stitching, simply cut to size. Basting boxes are quite useful, especially when created in software that lets you resize them!

 

Assembly Instructions

 

Scant ¼” (6mm) seams used throughout for construction.

1. Embroider the blocks.

 

Embroider all the blocks and trim to size (9”/22.8cm square) making sure the design is centered.

 

2. Embroider the cornerstones.

 

Preparing the designs as previously described will make stitching the cornerstones quicker and easier. You’ll need a total of 20. Trim to size after stitching (2¾” or 7cm square).

 

3. Prepare the sashing strips.

 

The sashing strips are composed of a narrow red strip bounded by a black one on each side. The finished strips are ¾” (1.9cm) wide with a finished sashing width of 2¼” (5.7cm). While you could sew long WOF strips together and cut afterwards, it can be easier to get a more even seam on shorter lengths. In either case, you’ll need thirty-five 9” (22.8cm) long sashing strip sets

 

 

4. Piece the blocks and sashing.

  • Alternating the cornerstones with the sashing strips, assemble and stitch five horizontal sashing rows

     
  • Join appliqué blocks into four rows of three blocks alternating each block with the remaining sashing strips

5. Add the outer borders

  • Measure the vertical center of the quilt to get the measurement for the two side borders. Cut two strips to that length and of the desired width, making sure to add some to the width for quilting and squaring. Sew one strip to each side.
  •  
  • Measure the horizontal center of the quilt to get the length for the top and bottom pieced border. Cut two strips to that length and of the same width as the side borders. Sew one strip to the top and the other to the bottom.

6. Quilt as desired.

I confess to being a chicken when it comes to the actual quilting and when I want a professional look, I send it to a professional. Fortunately we have quite a few good long arm quilters locally. To keep the two versions of the quilt as different as possible, I sent each one to a different quilter. I sent this one to Barbara Angerhoffer, who has quilted a number of my quilts. She used a stipple pattern in black around the appliquéd blocks and a vining leaf design in green on the borders.

 

7. Create a label.

My favorite font for creating quilt labels is  Adine Script, which is available as a BX font for convenient use. You are creating an heirloom so let those who come in the future know who created it and when!

 

8. Add a hanging sleeve if desired.

 

9. Bind.

 

I prefer to stitch my binding to the front of my quilt, fold to the back and then hand stitch.

I find this relaxing but feel free to use your own favorite technique.

 

Summary

Quilts don’t have to be massive. Smaller wall-hanging sizes like this one are more easily completed before the boredom or overwhelm sets in. Obviously this is not a one day or even a weekend project even though it is considerably less involved than the U.S. version. Set aside planning time to choose fabrics that you love and will work well together. Don’t rush, enjoy the process!

 

It’s a Wrap!

One thing I love about this hobby is that there’s always something new to learn, some new technique, some new gadget. Discovering those things is what keeps the hobby new, fresh, and interesting. Plus, embroidery is just more fun when you know the tricks to getting good results!

Griller's Recipe Towels
Griller's Recipe Towels
NEW! Learn three ways to create grill accessories using purchased towels and coordinating mitts.
Wedding Ring Pillow: A Remake
Wedding Ring Pillow: A Remake
NEW! Whether new fabric or old, create a beautiful wedding ring pillow. Using Grandma’s wedding gown a beautiful memory can be created or use new fabrics and trims to craft a beautiful pillow for a wedding ceremony.
First Responder "Mug Hugs"
First Responder "Mug Hugs"
Give “Mug Hugs” and freshly baked cookies to your local First Responders to show your appreciation for all they do for the community.
Faux Embroidery Seed Keeper
Faux Embroidery Seed Keeper
NEW! A new twist on embroidery designs, use printed “embroidery” decals to decorate a “Seed Keeper” as a gift or to keep!
Stitchers Mini-Folio
Stitchers Mini-Folio
NEW! A Stitchers Mini-Folo is perfect to hold smaller items needed for a class or retreat; don’t forget to gift one to each of your friends who join you!
All That Glitters Mylar Christmas Ornaments
All That Glitters Mylar Christmas Ornaments

Remember those delicate fragile family heirloom Christmas ornaments that you were never allowed to touch as a kid? Now you can get that same shiny look with your embroidery machine and a small bit of Mylar. And they can't shatter on the floor!

Introducing "All That Glitters" for the Designer in You!

All That Glitters Mylar Christmas Designs was thoughtfully designed for the creative embroiderer. It includes 11 round ornaments and 9 "add-on" embellishments plus a bonus ornament. These embroideries are designed for maximum flexibility! You can stitch them with or without Mylar.

You can stitch them as standard applique with or without the background fill. You can stitch them as direct embroidery or free-standing applique. You can combine the add-ons to the Mylar filled versions or the plain applique. You can even mix in other designs from your stash to extend the designs even further. The following sample uses one of the included monogram fonts with Essentials combined with a bow add-on and the center feature ornament.

 

To make them fast and easy, they have few color changes and low stitch counts. Also, since all but one ornament use the same applique shape, you can easily mix and match fabrics. If you have a digital cutter, you can really go to town and still whip up a batch before Christmas! In addition to the designs, the collection includes applique templates for hand or machine cutting. All the round bulbs use the same shape so cutting enmass is simple. There is also the circular pattern for the center feature and the shape for the "mint" shape, which is somewhat of an extra with this collection.

Sometimes it's the simpler designs that offer the most creativity and flexibility!

 

Designing with the Center Feature Ornament

The center feature design offers quite a bit of possibilities. I've fussy cut a piece of fabric from my stash as an insert. You could also you a photo printed fabric insert or a pretty holiday colored fabric with a monogram or short word.

 

With a little more work, you can drop out the Mylar fill and replace it with a standard applique fabric. Then with your lettering software, arc some text into the area. How about a fabric print of your child's school picture with the year underneath for the grandparents?

 

If you're observant, you'll notice that this design was digitized in StitchArtist. I had hoped to release these as BX design library but that part of the program is not functioning yet so I'm just releasing the standard stitch file formats I usually support. The highlighted object in the Objects panel on the upper right is the Mylar fill section. Just delete it if you don't want it for your edited version.

 

Maximum Flexibility Designs!

These designs have been programmed with multiple color stops to make customizing easy. For example the light fills intended to stitch over Mylar can easily be deleted in software or skipped at the machine. Likewise, the second color on the ornament cap—which I've run in the same color as the rest of the cap—is only necessary if you want to do free-standing applique. Otherwise you can skip or delete it. I've included multiple Mylar fills so you can select one you like. Here's one that doesn't have any Mylar under it so you can see the stitches:

 

Appliques & Extra Colors

If you've never sew machine embroidered applique, there can be up to 3 color stops in the design for each applique. First is the position stitch, which is most often a run that outlines where the applique goes. Second is the tack down stitch. In my designs, I most often use a zigzag here because it catches the fabric better and is less likely to push a little pleat into the fabric. Finally the cover stitching—usually a satin—runs. When you look at your actually stitch file, these all need to be separate colors if they run consecutively, otherwise your machine won't stop. Therefore you need to refer to the color sequence list. I do understand there are people who think this might be too difficult—skipping colors or using software—so I have included a plain applique ornament. I promise you though, simple modifications like this really are simple once you try it!

Add-On Embellishments

The add-ons can be combined with any of the Mylar fills or the plain applique. You can combine them either at your machine or in software. While all the designs and individual add-ons will fit a 4x4 hoop, if you add a bow to the top of an ornament, you'll likely need a larger hoop or you can rehoop or use a multi-position hoop. (Instructions not included for that!)

Of course, the add-ons can work stand alone and feel free to sort through your stash for other suitable designs you can combine. The basic round ornament and the Mylar fills are perfect for that!

 

Advanced Customizing

I've done all my designs on the first few ornaments on top of the curved fill variation. Depending on the color of thread and Mylar you use, the various background fills may be more or less prominent. If you decide you like the swirly design on Swirls 2 and the meandering fill on Mylar Fill 6, it's not terribly difficult to isolate and copy the color block for the swirls and paste it into the right place on the other design. For the designs on the first few ornaments that are more "finished" it was important that the designs be a little more integrated than just dropping in an add-on at the end of the design. But that doesn't mean it's major surgery to extract them and use them on one of the other ornaments.

 

Customize with Color

These designs can be stitched with any colors you like. In fact, when I started stitching them, I chose entirely different colors from what I picked when digitizing. On Swirls 2 I used a light blue Mylar and stitched over it with white to soften it a bit. I was going for a wintry, cold look here. The white softened the blue color even more and the stitches breaking up the Mylar gave it almost a crystalline appearance.

How to Embroider with Mylar

Mylar works best when stitched under a light fill. The lighter the fill, the more the Mylar can sparkle through. All the sparkle in the designs you see here comes form the Mylar. Of course you could add even more with metallic thread. For these designs I've created curved and motif fills use Embrilliance StitchArtist. I have two YouTube videos on how to create the curved fill and the stitch carving you see on the caps of the ornaments. If you have StitchArtist Level 3 you can duplicate these techniques.

Mylar is available in colors from Nancy's Notions. I sprung for the mega pack because I couldn't decide which colors to order. According to the description, this product is machine washable but I haven't actually tried that.

Another alternative to Mylar that I've used for years and years is party balloons. I think these fill densities might be a little too open for the printed side of the balloon but the inside is silver and looks just like those old family heirloom ornaments. Below you can see some early samples, one that was modified and two that didn't make the cut for various reasons. These are stitched on the "wrong" side of the happy face balloon shown following. Ask for damaged balloons at the party store and you can often get them for free!

hese designs are set up as standard appliques. Sew the first color to get the placement line.

Then lightly mist the back of a 4x4" square of Mylar with TESA (I use KK2000) and smooth it over the stitching line.

Sew the design up through the background fill then stop the machine and carefully tear off the Mylar. If you tear toward the stitching line you'll get a nice clean finish.

Don't forget the middle!

 

Then complete the rest of the stitching. This design has a second applique for the center. Place the precut fabric and then stop the machine after the zigzag tack down (if it doesn't stop automatically) to inspect your work. The zigzag should just cover the edge of the fabric and there shouldn't be any excess extending out beyond the edge.

I usually precut all my appliques before placing them in the hoop. However, Mylar is a bit tricky to work with and since it is so easy to tear off after stitching it in place, I just use the "blob method" of applique in this case.

 

Stitching with Fabric?

If you're doing actual applique with fabric, then use the pattern pieces to precut your fabrics. You can either cut by hand or by machine as long as it's accurate. I also like to use a fusible web on the back of my fabrics for a smooth, long lasting great appearance. Instead of placing the Mylar, position your pre-cut applique exactly within the sewn lines. The next color will zigzag tack it in place. If any fabric is extending beyond the zigzag you either incorrectly cut or placed your fabric and you'll likely have fabric extending beyond your applique. Carefully try to trim off any excess without cutting any stitches or disturbing your fabric tension in the hoop.

What's Included with the Collection

 

All That Glitters Mylar Christmas Designs includes 21 designs in all the supported formats usually found in my shop. The collection also includes color sequences, templates, and instructions for standard applique and a reprint of this blog post as a PDF for off-line reference.

The designs are also available individually. Please note that instructions are not included on individual designs. I'll be posting videos on how to use these designs on YouTube so go there and subscribe and you'll get an email notification of when they're available.

Appliqué Basics
Appliqué Basics

Appliqué with your embroidery machine is fun and easy once you know a few tricks! In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use PDF templates included with appliqué designs to precut pieces for accurate and professional machine embroidered appliqué.

Skill Level

Basic embroidery and computer skills.

What You’ll Learn

  • How to use simple yet creative techniques to expand your embroidery options
  • How to use a template for hand-cutting appliqué pieces
  • How easy and versatile appliqués are with embroidery

What You’ll Need

Some collections may include an SVG file or an FCM file (Brother ScanNCut format). These are designed for use with a digital cutter. Follow the directions with your cutter to use these files. Prepare your fabrics as for hand cutting and apply a fusible web product. Pressure sensitive (double or single stick) fusible web products may not be suitable for cutters; the sticky web adheres to the mat too easily and comes off the fabric. Test various fusible web products to find one you like. Fuse it securely to your fabric but avoid overheating that can melt the adhesive. You can leave the paper backing on or peel it off for cutting. Test to make sure the web stays fused to the fabric and doesn’t remain on the mat. After cutting the pieces, placing and stitching are no different.

 

Why Appliqué?

Machine embroidered appliqué is one of my favorite techniques! I love the added texture, dimension, color, and pattern that fabric adds to the embroidery that simply cannot be achieved by thread alone. It’s easy, it offers design variety, and it works on a wider range of fabrics and textures than standard embroidery. How else could you embroider a white snowman on a fluffy red towel and not have it turn out pink? (White embroidery thread is not opaque and any high contrast fabric can show through.) Plus, appliqué with the embroidery machine comes out with perfect curves and corners every time!

 

You may have stitched machine embroidered appliqué by placing a patch of fabric over a stitched outline, stitching the fabric over the outline by running that stitch a second time, and then removing the hoop and trimming away the fabric. Once I learned the method described here from the professional embroidery world, I never went back to that method again when working with smooth, firm fabrics. This way of creating appliqué will give a clean, professional look with no “pokies” that scream “amateur!”

 

There are times when the stick/sew/snip method works (I’ll use it when working with dimensional effects like putting batting under a large, simply shaped appliqué). To accommodate this method with Lindee G Embroidery designs, simply back up one color after placing the fabric to sew the placement line again. Remove the hoop, trim away excess fabric (keep in mind the satin stitch only extends beyond this line 1mm so trim closely!), replace the hoop and continue sewing. Whenever using this method, you must take extreme care not to distort the hooped fabric when trimming the excess appliqué away. This becomes increasingly more difficult with intricate shapes and/or multiple appliqués

 

Some Preliminary Notes

If you’ve previously done appliqué with your sewing machine, you likely lraced a pattern onto fusible web, applied it to the back of your fabric, and then stitched it out. This meant you were actually tracing a reversed (mirrored) version of the design.

 

Templates for machine embroidered appliqué are not reversed and are designed to be applied to the front of your fabric. Some fusible web products can be run through an ink jet printer to save you the step of applying a product to each side of the fabric. If you choose to print on the web, then you must mirror image either the design or the templates.

 

Tracing templates onto fusible web is not recommended. You need accurately cut appliqués for a successful result with machine embroidered appliqué. Besides, tracing is far too tedious.

 

Fusible web products require heat to activate the adhesive. Some fabrics are not compatible with heat. The advantage of using a fusible web is that it reduces wrinkling and is added security to reduce raveling if the stitches don’t adequately cover the edge of the applied fabric. Fusible web also adds body, which can be great on some projects like wall hangings but less attractive when you want a softer result such as on quilts or baby clothes. Different fusible webs provide varying degrees of stiffness. There are very stiff versions that work great on a canvas banner and there are very soft ones that are barely apparent once stitched and fused.

 

You’ll want to experiment to see what products work best and are readily available. Start by experimenting with what you find in your local sewing and craft stores. Products can also be ordered online so if your local area is very limited, look to the internet.

 

For items that can’t take the heat, use TESA to temporarily hold the appliqué in place during stitching. If you don’t want to use a spray adhesive, then a glue stick may be an effective substitute. Some TESAs are deactivated with heat (KK2000 is one) so skip the tacking iron step or you will lose the adhesiion.

Ultimately the stitches secure the appliqué to the fabric. If you cut and place your fabric accurately and your fabric is not prone to excessive raveling, you should have a good result. Keep in mind that if you shrink the design, then the satin cover around the edges shrinks and so does your security. Heavy laundering and/or use may also increase the tendency to ravel if a fusible web is skipped.

 

If you want the security of a fusible around the edges with the loft and softness of no web in the center, then you can “window” the fusible. This involves leaving an outer edge of about 1/4” web applied to the fabric with the inner portion cut away.

 

To do this, apply the template to the front of the appliqué piece in the usual manner (full details to come). Cut a piece of fusible web and place it behind the piece. Using your mini iron, fuse the web by pressing from the front along the outer edges and in about 1/4”. Cut out appliqué and then trim away excess fusible from the inside of the design on the back.

 

You may want to try this technique on larger pieces for quilts. Fusible web doesn’t allow the appliqués to “puff up” like hand stitched needle-turned appliqué. While machine embroidered appliqué is unlikely to loft as much and needle-turned, you’ll have a more authentic appearance.

 

Step 1—Prepare Fabrics

Your appliqués will stay smooth and crisp if you preshrink both the appliqué fabrics and the background fabrics. Pre-shrinking all the fabrics will help avoid any uneven shrinkage after your project is assembled. Be sure to smoothly press fabrics before the next fabric steps. I also find that starching the fabrics (both background and appliqué) makes them easier to work with and reduces shifting during the sewing process.

 

Step 2—Print Appliqué Templates & Any Guides

Print out PDF appliqué templates, making sure to print them at actual size. Notice that each piece has the design file name (if large enough) and possibly a number. On multiple piece appliqués this number is the sequence number for placing the appliqué. If several pieces have the same sequence number, it means they are placed at the same stop.

 

Do not let Acrobat resize your template to fit the page. Page Scaling must be set to None for accuracy!

 

The template pages may vary per collection. A design with just one appliqué may have the element repeated multiple times whereas a more complex multi-piece appliqué design may show the pieces as they combine in the design plus another set that is separated for easy cutting. Some collections may have multiple arrangements per design.

 

I prefer to print my templates on a lightweight fusible tearaway or you can use freezer wrap. (I don’t use freezer wrap for embroidery stabilizer, only for templates.) I cut an 11” piece of stabilizer from an 8” roll (about the size of a sheet of paper) and lightly fuse the top and bottom edges to a sheet of printer paper to help it move through my ink jet printer smoothly (and to make sure I print on the non-fusible side!)

 

I find that using heat fusible pattern pieces provides more sticking power over a longer period of time than templates printed on plain paper and held in place with TESA. If your pattern shifts during cutting, you will not be able to cut out an accurate piece and this technique definitely requires precision. I also find that I get more accuracy with this method than when tracing onto the fusible web. Some fusible webs have a waxy coating on the protective sheet and often shift around easily, especially when working with larger or more intricate shapes. With this technique, accuracy is definitely the name of the game.

These templates are created from the placement stitch in the embroidery design and are therefore intended to be applied to the front of the fabric. Some fusible webs can also be run through an inkjet printer. However, these products are applied to the back of your fabric and won’t work as a shortcut unless you mirror the embroidery design.

 

Step 3—Loosely Cut Out Template Pieces

Separate your paper template pieces by cutting loosely around the outlines.

Step 4—Apply Templates to Fabric.

Press the cut out pieces, right side up to the right side of the corresponding appliqué fabric.

Step 5—Apply Fusible Web

I prefer double-stick pressure-sensitive fusible web (Pellon EZ Steam II). Remove the looser paper sheet and arrange your appliqué fabrics on the web. Cut out around the web. I like to very lightly press them with a dry iron to help the fusible stick to the fabric.

One disadvantage of the regular weight EZ Steam II is that it leaves the appliqué feeling somewhat stiff. You might try Pellon EZ Steam II Lite, which is a thinner, lighter weight version. Other fusible web products are available but most of these are only sticky on one side. If you aren’t using a double-stick pressure sensitive fusible web, you will need to press a bit more. Avoid over pressing. If you completely melt the adhesive there will be nothing left to fuse the piece to the hooped fabric.

 

Don’t use steam when pressing fusible web and don’t over heat! Use a Teflon™ pressing sheet or parchment paper to protect your iron and ironing surface from the adhesive.

Step 6—Cut Out Appliqué Pieces

Carefully and precisely cut along the outside edge of each appliqué piece. If I’m preparing for a design I will sew immediately, I like to lightly stick the pieces to a plastic sheet protector in which I’ve place a printout of my design information. (If you haven’t used a double stick pressure sensitive, this won’t work.) Otherwise, I keep them in snack size zipper-type plastic bags. This is especially useful if you are cutting a number of pieces for a large project or multiple projects.

 

Don’t firmly press the piece to the plastic; the fusible web sticks to it very easily and will hold faster to it than the fabric.

Step 7—Embroider Design

If you’re embroidering on quilt-weight cottons, a medium tearaway should be sufficient for embroidery designs that are composed of predominantly appliqué that may also have additional light detail stitching. These types of designs are generally “low impact” and do not require extensive or heavy stabilizing. Make sure your fabric is secure in the hoop and that it will not slip during sewing. If your fabric slips, raw edges of appliqué fabrics may be exposed.

 

As your design sews, the machine will stitch a running stitch guideline for you to place your fabric and then stop to allow you to position the fabric.

Many machines may move the hoop forward to make it easier for you to do this while others will simply stop. If your machine just stops, you may wish to remove the hoop to place your fabrics. Be careful not to disturb the hoop tension and make sure your hoop is correctly attached each time to avoid registration problems (where stitches don’t line up with previous ones).

 

Carefully place the fabric within the stitched line and lightly fuse the center of the appliqué with an appliqué iron. If you fuse the edges too tightly, you will not be able to trim them off later if they extend beyond your stitching. (If you’ve cut your pieces with a digital cutter, then your pieces will fit exactly within the stitched guides.)

 

Continue sewing and the machine will zigzag around the edge of the fabric. Many other digitizers will use a straight stitch for this step; I find a zigzag more forgiving of slight miscuts and misplacements and less likely to push the fabric out of place.

 

I often slow the machine down for the tackdown to make it easy to stop if the fabric should shift.

Stop after the tackdown and inspect your work. If you see that fabric is sticking out beyond these stitches, stop the machine and carefully trim the fabric away or it will be exposed after the final satin stitching is complete. Also check for any “pokies”—raveled fabric threads that may have been freed by the action of the needle.

 

Continue placing each piece as called for in the color sequence until the design is complete.

Press embroidery from the back to complete the fusing.

 

Note 1: Printable templates only work with designs sewn at actual size. If you resize your embroidery designs, you will have to make your own templates. One way is to use a customizing program like Embrilliance Essentials to extract the placement line and print it just like the PDF is printed. A second option is by sewing the positioning outlines on template stock and cutting them out for tracing pieces. To embroider on template stock (mylar quilter’s template or card stock), tape a piece of the template material to the bottom of your hoop and sew without thread in the needle. The perforations are the “outlines” you see on the actual size printed PDF templates. Cut out the template and trace (template face down) on the fusible web paper on the back of your prepared fabric. Mylar quilter’s template will retain crisp edges and corners—and therefore accuracy—with more uses than card stock. Be sure to label your template with a design name, sequence order, and a guide arrow to denote the top.

 

Note 2:These instructions are for medium-weight woven fabrics that can tolerate heat. Loftier fabrics such as polar fleece may need to be cut slightly further away from the template line to accommodate their thickness and will also melt when pressed with an iron. Instead of using fusible web, use a temporary embroidery spray adhesive to hold in place during the sewing process. While a fusible web will permanently fuse an appliqué in place and reduce raveling puckering over washing and wearing, polar fleece, which is a knit, doesn’t ravel and due to the stretchy properties, will not pucker if sewn smoothly in the first place.

Gingerman Ornament - ITH Free Standing Applique
Gingerman Ornament - ITH Free Standing Applique

Appliqué is a very versatile machine embroidery technique. Creating free-standing ornaments is fun and easy!

 

Skill Level

These instructions assume that you already know how to work with templates printed on fusible tearaway, a method I use most often for machine embroidered appliqué. If you’ve never used this technique, detailed instructions are included in the Appliqué Basics pdf that is included with most Lindee G Embroidery appliqué collections

What You’ll Learn

    • How to use simple yet creative techniques to expand your embroidery options
    • How to make double-sided free-standing designs with appliqués

Selecting a Design

This technique works best when the satin cover stitching that finishes the appliqué sews last, as it so happens in the gingerbread designs on Gingery Christmas. There are 4 small ginger cookie appliqué designs and 4 larger ones that work well with these instructions.

 

You’ll also want to select a design that does not have any stitching extending beyond the fabric appliqué area. If you’re using the “bitten cookie” versions, the crumbs will be lost during the finishing process.

 

If you are using other appliqué designs, you may want to resequence some stitching or wind matching bobbins for each color change in your design so that the back looks as good as the front.

What You’ll Need

 

1. Prepare templates.

Print templates onto fusible tearaway and loosely cut around shapes to separate. (See technique in the Appliqué Basics instructions if aren’t familiar with this process.)

2. Prepare fabrics.

Fuse a piece of cutaway to the back of each piece of appliqué fabric using fusible web. Press one template to front of one fabric and one to cutaway of other fabric to make a reversible ornament.

 

While the cutaway isn’t strictly necessary, it adds extra body and dimension to the design.

Cut out appliqués just to the outside edge of the pattern lines

3. Set up to sew.

Hoop 2 pieces of washaway stabilizer. Sew first color of design (outline).

4. Place ribbon hanger.

Fold a loop of ribbon in half, place cut edges within top outline about 1/2”. Tape in place out of range of needle.

5. Place top appliqué.

Spray back of top piece with TESA. Remove template from piece and position in hoop within outline.

6. Sew the tack down (zigzag) stitch and stop the machine.

Inspect the design to see if any areas extend beyond the tack down and trim off.

7. Sew design up until last color.

Don’t sew last color! The last color attaches the back of the ornament.

8. Place back appliqué.,

Remove the hoop from machine. Spray cutaway side of back appliqué with TESA, remove paper template, position appliqué in place, reset the hoop, replace the bobbin with the matching thread, and sew last color.

9. Remove project from hoop and finish.

Trim off excess stabilizer close to the stitching. Remove remaining bits with damp paint brush or sponge. It is not necessary to soak out the remaining stabilizer

Free Design Warnings

3 free designs per week with no purchase,

6 free designs per week with $35 purchase, or

9 free designs per week with $75 purchase.

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