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2 critical steps to prepping a new quilting project

Hello everyone – I’m super excited to be back talking about the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80. There are so many creative things you can do with this amazing sewing and embroidery machine – a few blog posts won’t even begin to cover it all.

I’ll spend the week working on a couple of machine embroidery projects and techniques. I haven’t been doing a lot of machine embroidery over the last couple of years, but the more I delve into it, the more I love it.

Did you know that the first HUSQVARNA VIKING embroidery machine was introduced 25 years ago? So much has changed since then – hoops are larger, positioning a design in the hoop is a whole lot easier, the machines are so much smarter and well, I could go on and on.

HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine

The Designer Brilliance 80 is not the top of the line embroidery machine for HUSQVARNA VIKING, yet it has so many features and options that one is only limited by one’s imagination. There’s only one major problem. I have a very active imagination so I want to do everything and well – I don’t have time.

Enough talk – let’s get started!

HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 with embroidery arm attached
HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 with embroidery arm attached

I have multiple sewing machines hanging out in my studio and while I’d like to think that I can use two or possibly three machines at once, I have to face the reality that some machines are going to sit idle. I think it’s important to have a sewing machine cover for the idle machines. Not only does it help to protect the sewing machine from dust and lint and it’s amazing how much dust and lint collect from daily sewing, but it’s a way to show off how beautiful machine embroidery is.

Inspira has created a beautiful sewing machine cover which showcases some gorgeous embroidery designs and I thought I’d make one that I could place on an idle machine so I could admire the embroideries and the fabrics.

Cover of the Inspira sewing machine cover project
Cover of the Inspira sewing machine cover project

STEP 1 Collecting the supplies

It’s very important to assemble all the things you need before you get started. I know I’ve got a number of projects sitting in the studio that are waiting for me to find the right product needed to finish it off. So do yourself a favor and start right!

I like bright colors and I wanted a slightly heavier fabric than quilting cotton to make the cover. I chose my canvas fabrics from this collection from FIGO fabrics (a division of Northcott). The collection is called Tropical Jammin’. Isn’t that great fun?

The canvas weight fabrics from the Tropical Jammin' collection using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
The canvas weight fabrics from the Tropical Jammin’ collection

I also need some other supplies – like Inspira Fusible Fleece. I love this product and use it a lot in all my tote bags, small pouches and other items where I want a bit of body, but not too much. Because it’s fusible, I don’t have to do a lot of quilting on it.

The other product shown below is Inspira Tear-A-Way. This is a MUST for machine embroidery.  It comes in various widths and lengths so be sure to get the right size for the hoops you own. Oh, what the heck – you need a roll of all of the sizes. Then you’re prepared for whatever scenario you run into.

A roll of Inspira Tear a Way and a package of Inspira Fusible Fleece; HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Inspira Tear A Way and Inspira Fusible Fleece

I need some thread for the embroideries. Some of the embroideries are on the blue fabric and some are on the yellow. I want the designs to stand out, so I’m choosing high contrast threads to go on each piece.

Then there are the usual supplies – Inspira Universal needles for piecing, along with some 50 weight thread and Inspira Topstitch needles for the embroidery. I can’t say enough about having good quality needles and the right type of needle to get the job done right!

Two small spools of blue embroidery Gütermann thread and one big spool of gold embroidery thread; HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Blue and gold embroidery thread

I have a confession. I just told you to get all your supplies together before you start your project. Well, this project needs two zippers. I wasn’t quite happy with the weight of the zippers I found and I’ve since found another great zipper for the project. It’s a 2-way zipper and has two zipper pulls going in opposite directions. Of course, it’s on backorder and I might not get it in time to finish my sewing machine cover. But it’s coming! I swear.

Step 2 – Organizing and cutting the pieces for the sewing machine cover

Now that my supplies are assembled, I’m prepping the pieces.

This is another huge hurdle for many of us. Do we have the tools necessary to do all the prep work? If not, that’s another huge stumbling block.

The sewing machine cover requires that some large pieces be cut.

I LOVE my huge 20½” square ruler. I don’t use it every day, but I love having it. While technically I could butt two rulers together to get the same effect, this just saves time and helps to eliminate mistakes in cutting.

Using the large 20½" square ruler to cut my fabric pieces; HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Using the large 20½” square ruler to cut my fabric pieces

But what do you do when even that large ruler isn’t large enough? Some of the pieces have to be cut longer than 20½”. First, I’ll cut a strip to whatever width that’s required and then I’ll use a tape measure to measure the length of the pieces required. Be sure to match a line on the ruler with the bottom edge of the cut piece to ensure square corners.

Oh – and be sure to remove the tape measure from the work before you cut. A rotary cutter will cut through that tape measure very quickly!

Using a tape measure to measure a required length longer than you can get with a ruler; HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
Using a tape measure to measure a required length longer than you can get with a ruler

If there are a lot of pieces, I would recommend that you label them. Not only what the pieces are for, but the size as well. And be careful because some of the pieces in the cover are almost the same size – it’s important to label.

You’ll note that I did NOT label. That’s because I was going right into productive mode after I cut the pieces. Not labeling required that I measure, measure, measure before I picked up a piece to work with. That takes more time – so whatever method works for you – be careful when selecting a piece to work with – make sure it’s the correct one.

The pieces of the sewing machine cover are cut and ready for the next step; HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80 sewing machine
The pieces of the sewing machine cover are cut and ready for the next step

Stabilizing the sewing machine cover pieces

After you’ve cut the fabric pieces and labeled them, next up is to cut and apply the fusible fleece. I used the same cutting methods – the large ruler and/or the tape measure to get the necessary sizes of the fusible fleece.

Cutting the fusible fleece
Cutting the fusible fleece

Now I’m off to the ironing board where I’ll fuse the fleece to the wrong side of the appropriate fabric pieces.

Be careful as there are two different sides to fusible fleece. One is soft – that’s the “right” side and the other is bumpy. That’s the side with the fusible medium on it. That bumpy side is the side that needs to go face down onto the back of the fabric so the fusible can be activated with an iron.

You’ll be cleaning your iron off if you make a mistake. But it’s easy to feel the difference so you shouldn’t have any problems.

Place the bumpy side of the fusible fleece on the wrong side of your fabric in preparation for fusing
Place the bumpy side of the fusible fleece on the wrong side of your fabric in preparation for fusing

Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Similar products may have slightly different instructions. Check the required temperature setting and if you need to use steam or not.

Instructions for fusing the fusible fleece to the fabric
Instructions for fusing the fusible fleece to the fabric

Because fusible fleece is a bit stretchy, I find that the pressing process will result in some of the edges going over the sides of the fabric. Once I’m finished with the pressing process, I simply trim the fusible fleece away to match the size of the fabric pieces.

It’s recommended that you press from the fabric side. I must have a lot of bad habits because I always place the fleece on top of the fabric, give it a press and then flip it over and press from the fabric side. When in doubt – read those instructions – it can save you a lot of time and angst.

The bumpy side of the fusible fleece is placed on the wrong side of the fabric - ready for pressing
The bumpy side of the fusible fleece is placed on the wrong side of the fabric – ready for pressing

Be sure that the edges are well adhered! It’s also important to make sure that the middle section has well adhered as well. If you’re going to do some quilting or embroidery on the piece, the adhesion isn’t that critical, but if you’re not putting any stitching in the middle section, I’d make sure that the two layers are well adhered. The Inspira fusible fleece does adhere very well so that’s never an issue, but check!

The fusible fleece is there as a stabilizer and to give body. You want the two pieces – the fusible fleece and the fabric to act as one fabric.

Make sure the edges of the fabric and the fusible fleece are well adhered
Make sure the edges of the fabric and the fusible fleece are well adhered

Now all the pieces have the fusible fleece adhered.

All the outer sections have the fusible fleece adhered to them
All the outer sections have the fusible fleece adhered to them

It’s time to get started on the machine embroidery.

I’ll start that process tomorrow and something that is very cool called Design Positioning.

Be sure to come back and see what gorgeous embroidery designs will be added to my Inspira sewing machine cover using the HUSQVARNA VIKING Designer Brilliance 80.

Have a great day!

Ciao!

This is part 1 of 5 in this series.

Go to part 2: How to baste fabric in preparation for machine embroidery

Elaine Theriault is a teacher, writer and pattern designer who is completely obsessed with quilting. Elaine’s Tech Tips column (originally published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine) is now available online in e-book format at QUILTsocial.com. When not quilting, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Lexi and Murphy, or can be found cycling across the country. Her blog is crazyquilteronabike.blogspot.com.

1 Comment

  1. Avis Cooper

    I’m going to make this for my Pfaff ICON.

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