Finish off your quilts and more with machine embroidery motifs designed to create an overall repeated quilting effect. Project instructions below will show you how to place and repeat this type of design on your projects.
Project Needs & Notes:
- Prepared Quilt or project
- Edge-to-edge embroidery Design
- Temporary spray adhesive (Such as Gunold KK100)
- Embroidery or quilting thread
- 75/11 sewing needle
- Fabric marking tool
- Masking or quilting tape (optional)
Designs featured in this tutorial include:
- ESP79523-1, Spiraling Pumpkins (Edge-to-Edge Quilting)
Edge-to-edge quilting designs are designed to create an overall repeated quilting effect when the designs are sewn side-by-side. They are single run designs that have a start and stop point on opposite sides of the design.
Edge-to-Edge designs will always sew left to right starting at the start point, and ending at the stop point. They are also slightly smaller than the hoop's max size to allow for positioning on the machine.
When multiple designs are embroidered side by side with the start and stop points matching up, it creates the illusion of a continuous stitched pattern.
Batting comes in a variety of materials (like cotton or polyester) and lofts (a term used to refer to the thickness of a material). Thin, low loft batting will make a quilt easier to hoop properly.
Proper hooping will cause less shifting and reduce problems with misalignment or bunching. High loft battings can be used, but be careful of shifting or bunching issues when hooping and embroidering.
Before making your quilt or other project, think about what size embroidery hoop you will be using, and how close to the edge or how far over the edge the designs will embroider. Make sure you have enough extra fabric around your quilt or project to hoop it all securely. To find out how much extra fabric you will need, compare the finished project size with the size of the design to see how many designs you will be sewing across. Alternatively, you can print and lay out templates as explained below.
For best results when making a quilt, make your quilt top a bit larger than the final desired size. The batting can be the same size as the quilt top or slightly larger to compensate for shifting. The backing should be even larger than the batting to create the extra room needed for hooping. You do not need any stabilizer for this process.
After you have calculated your desired fabric size, prepare your quilt or project for the embroidery process.
Adhere all the layers together with temporary adhesive. Do not use straight pins or safety pins as they will interfere with hooping and embroidering.
To prevent the embroidery machine foot from catching on the edge of the quilt layers while embroidering, tape the edge of each layer down with masking or quilting tape. This is recommended but not necessary, so long as you watch your project closely while embroidering near an edge.
If taping the edges, it can help to make the quilt top (or top layer of your project) a little bigger. This will allow you to cut the taped sections off after embroidering. Alternatively, you can use a tweezers to gently pick the tape out from between the embroidery once the process is complete.
A template (also called a print out) of a design is an excellent tool to help with placement.
Print off a template of your design using embroidery software. Then cut out the template very close to the design so there is no blank paper around it. Cutting it out this closely will make placement easier.
Take the printed template and plan out how many designs you will need to cover your entire project. This will show where each design will roughly embroider. Make sure to match up the start and stop points (or tails) of each design as needed.
Printing out multiple templates can make this process easier. It's okay if the designs embroider over the edge of the quilt top or project. If the design embroiders over the edge, it will give the project a seamless look when you finish the edges.
Quilts and other large projects work best when embroidered from the center out (rather than top to bottom). Starting in the center most horizontal row will help prevent buckling and other problems from occurring as you stitch many designs side by side. It is also important to embroider each row from left to right as it is easiest to line up the designs that way.
Place a template where the center row's left most design will go, making sure it is nice and straight. If sewing a quilt, a great trick is to compare the axis lines on the template to the sewn seams to make sure nothing is tilted.
Using a temporary fabric marking tool, mark the center point and both the vertical and horizontal axis lines from the template onto the fabric.
Extend the axis lines using a ruler and fabric marking tool. This will complete the placement guide and extend the lines past the size of the hoop, making it easier to line things up when hooping.
For best results, only position, mark, and embroider one design at a time. This will help in case of any slight shifting during the embroidery process.
Hoop all the layers of your quilt (or project) together, making sure the drawn axis lines match up with the markings on your embroidery hoop. Your layers should be hooped drum tight with no wrinkles, but be careful that you do not pull too tight, as this may stretch or misalign your design.
Any embroidery or quilting thread can be used for Edge-to-Edge designs. Using a thread color that matches or contrasts with the fabric can create different effects and looks.
Wind a bobbin with the thread color you want to show on the back of your quilt or project. When embroidering, a size 11 or 75/11 sharp sewing machine needle is recommended as it has a smaller point and will make smaller holes in your project.
Load the embroidery design file onto your machine, and secure the hoop in place. Using the controls on the embroidery machine, move the needle directly over the drawn center point on your fabric. This will help ensure that the design is embroidering where you marked.
Embroider the first design of the center row. Notice how the design starts sewing at the start point, which is the end (or tail) on the left side of the design. Also notice how it stops sewing at the stop point, which is the end (or tail) on the right side of the design. All Edge-to-Edge quilting designs are digitized to sew left to right like this.
After the first design has finished embroidering, carefully remove the hoop. If there is another design in the same horizontal row as the first design, lay the template to the right of the first design.
For best results, make sure the template is straight, and the edges are in line with the edges of the first sew out.
Locate the stop point of the previously embroidered design and the start point on the template. Adjust the template on your project as needed until those stop and start points are aligned. They should just barely overlap.
This step is very important, as it is the end points matching up that creates the illusion of continuous quilting.
Once the template is lined up, mark the center point and the horizontal and vertical axis lines using a fabric marking tool, then use a ruler to extend them.
Hoop your project once again, lining up the newly drawn axis lines with the markings on the hoop. Your hooped project should be drum tight.
Load your design and hoop onto the machine. Position the needle over the center point once again.
Before embroidering, we need to make sure the designs are lined up. To do this, go into your machine's embroidery mode, but do not start embroidering. Make the machine move forward 1 stitch in the design. This will physically move the needle over where the first stitch will sew. Some machines do this automatically, and others have controls to do this. Use your machine's guide book to find the controls.
Once the needle is hovering over the first stitch, use the machine wheel (or lower needle button) to lower the needle into the fabric. Make sure the needle is directly above the embroidered stop point (or end/tail) of the previously embroidered design.
If it is lined up, continue onto the next step.
If it is not lined up, raise the needle back up, and move the needle back to the center point of your embroidery hoop.
Use the positioning controls on your machine, adjust the position of the needle up, down, left, or right as needed to get the first stitch to line up with the embroidered stop point. For best results, keep moving the needle slightly, and then re-checking to see if the first stitch lines up. Repeat until the alignment is correct.
If it is very off, you may need to rehoop everything or redraw the template marks.
Once the stop point of the previous design and the first stitch are lined up, embroider the design.
If there are more designs in this this horizontal row, repeat the previous steps to embroider the remaining designs from left to right. For each one, line up a design template to the right of the last sewn design, mark the axis lines and center point, and hoop it. Then make sure the start point (the first stitch) and the stop point match up before embroidering.
Now that the first horizontal row is completed, it is time to embroider the next horizontal row from left to right. Because of the way machines are shaped, it is usually easiest to embroider all of the rows below the center row first (as there is more room in front of the machine for bulky fabric). Start with the row directly under the center row that has been embroidered.
Place the template below the left most design of the center row. They should be very close together, but not touching at all. Make sure the sides of the design line up with the sides of the design above it (so one is more left or right than the other), and make sure the template is straight and not tilted.
With a fabric marking tool, mark the center point and axis lines.
Extend the axis lines using a ruler and fabric marking tool. Then hoop the fabric together, matching up the drawn lines with the marks on the hoop.
Load the design and place the hoop onto the machine. Move the needle so it is above the center point of the design. This is the start of the row, so there are no start or stop points to match up. Then embroider the design.
After the first design of that row has embroidered, repeat the previous steps to embroider the remaining designs in that horizontal row from left to right. For each one, line up the template to the right of the previously embroidered design. Mark the axis lines and center point, and then hoop it tightly. Make sure the start point (the first stitch), and the stop point match up before embroidering. Then embroider the design.
In this example, we only have one horizontal row below the center row. If your project has multiple rows below the center row, embroider all of the lower rows before continuing to the next step.
Now that all of the rows below the center row are completed, it is time to embroider the rows above the center row from left to right. For each one, always start with the left most design. Line up the template, mark the axis lines and center point, and then hoop it tightly. Center the needle over the drawn center point. Make sure the start point (the first stitch), and the stop point match up (if needed) before embroidering. Then embroider the design.
Continue to position and embroider each design until you are completely done with all the embroidery on your project.
Then trim off any excess fabric, and finish your project as desired. Follow the manufacture's instructions to remove any remaining marking tool marks. For water-erase markers (like the ones used in this tutorial), simply wash your project in a washing machine after it is completely finished.