It’s already the end of the week. I’ve so much more to show you but that’ll have to wait for another time. This week I’ve been working with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50. It’s an awesome sewing AND embroidery machine. The Designer Topaz 50 has great features for both which is very practical.
Over the past week and most recently yesterday, I worked on three different embroidery styles and stitched out three different pieces. Today, I’m going to show you what I made with those three pieces. I’m also going to explain as best I can, how I design.
Be forewarned, you’re going to get approximate measurements in this post because I want you to see how easy it is to adapt projects and patterns to your needs or style.
I’m excited to show you what I created. Let’s get started!
Making a journal cover
I started with the design called Thread Velvet stitch out.
Now here’s an important item that I didn’t cover this week. I mentioned that you need a piece of fabric that was large enough to hoop. But what if that piece isn’t large enough for your finished project? If you’re not sure what you’re making, you can use a piece of fabric that is large enough to fit in the hoop and if you need, you can add borders or other pieces.
If you know what you’re going to make, then you can cut a piece of fabric that is large enough so you don’t have to join any pieces. Just make sure you have enough to allow you to position your embroidery where you want it on your piece. If all else fails, hoop a large piece of fabric and cut out what you need when you’re done.
In this case, I knew I wanted to make a journal cover, so I cut a piece that was going to fit my journal.
Before you use your embroidery piece, you want to remove the stabilizer from the wrong side. In this case, I had added a second layer of stabilizer underneath those very heavily stitched leaves.
The stabilizer has now been completely removed. I don’t go crazy removing the stabilizer from all the nooks of the stitching. I do want to remove the majority, but if a few bits remain in the piece, it’s no big deal. I also don’t clip the threads. I may tidy up the back a bit, but if it’s going to be covered up by something, there’s no need.
Then I assembled the journal cover. I’m not going to cover off all the details in this blog post. I’ve done a very detailed tutorial on a journal cover in this post. Just pop on over and have a look. The cover is very simple to make. Just be sure that your note book is closed when you measure it – otherwise, the cover will be too small.
Journal covers are the perfect thing to make for a gift. So quick and easy and thousands of ways to personalize them.
And here it is my journal cover. I absolutely love the color combination. I’m not a purple or a green person, but together? That combination is exciting!
Here’s the inside of the journal cover and you can see there’s a pocket to tuck the cover of the journal into. You could add a label, embroider a name, motif, initials, or put a small pocket on this piece. The sky is the limit. Be sure to check out my other posts on journal making for some more great ideas.
Remember that I said that this embroidery style is Thread Velvet? There are two layers of stitching on those leaves. By the way, when pressing the Decor Bond to the journal cover, I should have used a towel and placed the right side of the embroidery face down on the towel. There are a few bubbles in the top around the leaves. That came about because of the 3-D stitches and I didn’t use a towel to help keep things flat. How easily we forget techniques. It’s not a big deal, but it should have been ironed on a towel.
It’s a bit hard to tell in the photo, but essentially I sliced open the top of all the leaves with a very sharp cutting tool. You should run a bead of glue on the underside of those leaves, but I had fused it to Decor Bond so I didn’t think it needed glue as well. I even roughed this up with a chenille brush. Those stitches aren’t going anywhere. With a bit of wear, those stitches will bloom even more. It’s very dimensional and looks gorgeous ‘in person’.
Making a table runner
The next project I tackled was the snowman. Remember this was machine embroidery applique. I ended up making two of them as I tried to trim the fabric even closer on the second one. Now what to do with these two stitch outs? Placemats, wall hanging, journal covers all came to mind, but I settled on a table runner after consulting with some friends at a retreat. Table runner it is!
I don’t normally draw out a plan for something this small and this project was no exception. I removed the stabilizer from the back of the two pieces and then trimmed them down to the same size, positioning the snowmen in the same place on each. The blocks were about 8″ square.
Now what? I decided that I didn’t want to make the runner longer than the width of a piece of fabric so I wouldn’t have to join the backing. That’s being practical, not lazy!
I laid the two snowman blocks and a larger piece I had cut out onto the width of the backing. Hmmm – it’s going to be too long once I add borders, so I chopped part of that center piece off.
I joined the three main sections with a 1½” (cut) strip of light gray (Northcott Toscana). The blue snowflake fabric is from the Northcott Silent Night collection. The inner border is a 1½” (cut) strip of the same light gray. Notice that I put the long side of the border on first, then the ends.
The last border was cut 3½” and added to the sides first (to be consistent with the inner border) and then the ends.
I had contemplated making the ends a bit longer so I could perhaps round them off? Then it would have been too long for the backing. That idea got nixed!
As easy as that, the top of the table runner was done. I hung it up on my design wall. Hmm – I like it, but I wonder if I could put something in that center space. I had some snowflakes that were cut and tried them.
While I like the snowflakes, I think the scale of them is too large. That’s one of the beauties of having a design wall. You can put things up, stand back and your gut instinct will usually tell you if something isn’t quite right.
I think a more delicate and smaller snowflake would be more appropriate. I could even embroider a few on using the Designer Topaz 50.
For the moment, I’ve left this project and will finish off the embroidery/applique?/quilting next time around. I did make the binding and the backing is cut so it’s ready to be finished. You’ll have to stick around for my next round of posts to see how I finish it off.
If I didn’t want to go through that process of making it up as I go along, you could use a computer design software. If I’m designing with something very specific like the snowman embroidery, I simply take a picture of the embroidery and import it into the software. Then I can use that embroidery design like a block. I can see what my finished project will look like before I even start to cut! This is just a quick example of a design that I made. I did import the Northcott Silent Night collection into the design software as well.
How to design a wall hanging
The last project that I made was a wall hanging using the large purple/green flower. This is so not my style, but I did mention that it’s a great idea to work outside our comfort zone often! Otherwise, we tend to get complacent and predictable. I don’t like predictable.
This time, I started by uploading a photo of the floral embroidery into the computer based quilt design software. This is the fifth version of a design that I came up with. I wasn’t 100% sure that that’s what I wanted, but it was enough to get me started. I did NOT scan my fabrics into the software. I chose colors that were similar from the built-in color palette. The biggest problem is that I didn’t have enough of that dark purple to make the two borders, the binding and the trellis border. Hmm – what to do? what to do?
I started by cutting one piece of the dark purple at 2½” (can be used for a binding or lots of other things so not going to go to waste!). Then I made a few of the trellis blocks.
I positioned the pieces on the design wall (the center block hasn’t been trimmed yet).
WOW – I love the effect of the trellis blocks in the border, but that big heavy strip of purple isn’t doing a thing for me. What else do I have?
This is why it’s very important for quilters to have a stash. It was very late one night when I was trying to get this designed. Obviously, no quilt store is open at that time of night. So I raided my stash and look what I found. Well, not really found since I was already using it. But it looks amazing!
I’m much happier at this point, but there’s still something not quite right. What if I try a teeny strip of the dark purple between the center block and that border?
Oh yes – I’m loving this. Remember, it’s midnight! I can’t scream and shout HOORAH! as I didn’t want to wake up the house hold! So I did a happy dance instead. Thankfully there were no video cameras around as I was in my PJs.
Here are some quick measurements:
- I trimmed that center block to 12½” x 20½”. This was not planned. I had cut the background fabric to fit the hoop.
- Then I added a 2″ (cut 2½”) of the mottled green/purple fabric.
- The skinny little border of dark purple is cut at 1″ and folded in half to create a faux piping. It does not affect the size of the piece as it’s sitting on top of the background of the center block.
- After adding that 2″ border, the center piece measures 16½” x 24½” (both numbers are divisible by 4 which is the size of the pieced border.
- The blocks are super simple. It was because of those blocks that I couldn’t sleep. I had come up with the design on the computer, but how to efficiently piece them? I finally realized that if I sewed two long strips together of the light and dark purple (both were cut at 1½”), that would create the center of the blocks. I pressed the seams to the dark purple.
- Then I sub-cut the strips into pieces that were just slightly longer than 6½”.
- I cut 4″ squares from the mottle green/purple and cut them in half. One of each of the 24 blocks that I needed for the border.
Sew the two triangles to either side of the purple strips for the center. There is extra for trimming so you don’t have to be super precise, but you do want to try and keep those points lined up diagonally.
Press all three seams in the same direction as the dark purple.
Then trim each unit to 4½” using the diagonal line of the ruler along the center seam.
Rotate each block so the light and dark purple match up along the sides of the border.
The top is done, as well as the binding and backing. I’ll be finishing this one up in my next session of posts. I’m still on the fence about adding an extra border after the trellis blocks. I can’t wait to show you what the finished project looks like.
One nice thing about these last two projects is that they are small. If you’re new to machine quilting, they’ll be so easy to quilt. Stay tuned for that.
It really doesn’t get much simpler than that. First off, using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50 to create all the embroideries was so simple. None of the designs took very long to stitch out and all of them provided me with a learning experience but all were designs that look awesome in the projects I created.
And the design process? Well – go with your gut instinct! You never know where you’ll end up!
It’s been a real pleasure this week as I walked through the different styles of embroidery and hopefully, you learned something from the tips I posted. If you don’t have an embroidery machine and are thinking of one – the Designer Topaz 50 is pretty easy to use. No need to purchase designs to get you started. I made some great projects from the ones that come built in!
And now I’m off to embroider and design something else!
Have a great day!