6 steps: adding lettering to quilt sashings using machine embroidery

Hi there! So, how did you like the tutorial on adding lettering to your quilt sashings in yesterday’s post? You could use those built-in fonts to add lettering to anything. I see loads of possibilities and you can make the lettering subtle or you can make it bold.

Today, I’m taking the embroidery unit of the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC for a spin as we explore more opportunities to add words to our quilts.

Let’s have a look.

Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC

Step 1 – Set up the Designer EPIC for machine embroidery

It’s very easy to slide off the extension table and add the embroidery unit to the Designer EPIC.

Be sure that there is plenty of room on all sides of the embroidery unit. It’s big and you don’t want anything to obstruct the path of the embroidery arm when it starts to stitch out the embroidery.

Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC with the embroidery unit

I need to choose the appropriate hoop size. My sashings will be 6″ finished so I don’t need to use a wide hoop. I have three to choose from and ended up using the 150 x 240. Those numbers represent the hoop size in millimeters (mm).

It’s great to have such a wide variety of hoop sizes. This is just a small sampling of the hoops available for the Designer EPIC.

Three of the many different hoops sizes available for use with the Designer EPIC

You know that I struggle with the metric system for small measurements.

Once you have picked the hoop size, you have to select the hoop on the sewing machine. Thankfully, all the hoops have the hoop size molded into the frame so it’s easy to know which one you’re using.

Hoops sizes are molded into the frame of the hoop.

Step 2 – Choose the fabric and thread

There are 150 blocks in this set. This time it’s not the name of the block that I want to add to the sashing, but the name of a known Canadian female that was selected to represent each block.

150 red/white blocks measure 6″ square when finished.

I’ll make three separate quilts with the 150 blocks. The blocks are very busy and need a sashing to separate them. I wanted to keep all three quilts strictly red and white. I love the clean look of the red/white combination and did want to add another color to any of the quilts.

While the colors used in the blocks were red and white, the fabrics were very scrappy and it was going to be hard to find a sashing fabric that worked with all the blocks. After auditioning several reds in the quilt store, the fabric that matched the best was from the Northcott Toscana collection.

In some cases, the red from the outer edges of some of the blocks is bleeding into the sashing, but that’s OK.

Auditioning some of the blocks on the red sashing fabric

Again, I wanted the lettering to be subtle so if someone was interested in reading the names, they could, but I didn’t want the names to be a dominant part of the design.

I chose a thread that very closely matched the sashing fabric. Perhaps a shade too close?

A red embroidery thread that very closely matches the sashing fabric.

Step 3 – Prepping the fabric

I used the width of the hoop as a guide to cut the fabric strips which were cut from the width of the fabric. The strips need to be wider than the hoop so once the fabric is hooped, the edges of the hoop can hold the fabric in place.

Cut the strips of fabric slightly wider than the hoop.

You’ll also need some HeatnBondtear away stabilizer. I used one layer and cut it to the same width as the fabric strips.

Tear away stabilizer

I hooped the stabilizer and the fabric together and tightened the hoop. There’s a clip on the newer hoops to tighten them and I miss that on this hoop. However, I’m happy that the older hoops still work on the Designer EPIC so I’m not complaining.

I didn’t cut the length of the strip of fabric to fit the hoop. I’ll do all the embroidery with that strip intact and then cut the sashings apart when I’m done.

The stabilizer and the fabric are hooped together.

Step 4 – Choosing the font

There are seven embroidery fonts in sizes from 10mm to 80mm to choose from. In the photo below, you can see the sizes represented by the number to the right of the font name.

The embroidery font menu which shows the font name and size

I’m a very visual person and I like to see the size of the font rather than select it from a menu on the screen. I have some of the fonts stitched out which makes it easy to see what the font looks like in the various sizes.

When I did the stitch-outs, I used the font name and the font size as the wording which makes it very easy to know which is which. I need to get the rest of the fonts stitched out and if I were really good, I’d have them in a nice book.

Stitch out of some of three of the embroidery fonts

You need to start out by choosing the hoop size. In the bottom left, you can see the 240 x 150 size is selected. This will set the embroidery edit screen with the corresponding hoop size so you’re designing your words exactly as they will be stitched out. The hoop space is shown in purple below. You can customize that color if you choose.

I wanted to keep the lettering as small as I could so I chose Mesa 12.

I programmed the names into the Embroidery Edit screen. It’s easy to bring up the font menu by touching the green tab with the letter A on it.

Notice that one of the names was too long for the hoop so I had to make two lines.

Embroidery edit screen

There are loads of other tools in the Embroidery Edit screen. I remember having to do all the editing on the computer, transferring the design to a FLOPPY disk (OK – that was 20 years ago) and then loading it into the embroidery machine.

The Embroidery Edit screen is a very powerful tool and allows you to contour the letters to a shape, resize, move, rotate and a whole lot more. There’s so much that can be done with the lettering that it’s hard to fit it all in a blog post.

You can zoom in if you need very precise placement, the number of designs (I have six) and the total stitch count are all outlined on this screen. If you’ll do some embroidery, it’s very important to become very familiar with all the tools to get the best from your embroidery machine.

Step 5 – Embroidering the letters

Once I was happy with the placement and that everything was spelled correctly, it was time to get to the actual stitching.

After touching the green GO shown on the screen above, I get a Welcome to Embroidery Stitch Out screen. This is where I can review that I’ve all the correct accessories in place –  the correct foot and hoop and any other settings that I might want to change, such as basting in the hoop (or not), and other very important options.

It’s like a checklist of some very important components to successful embroidery. I love it!

The Welcome to Embroidery Stitch Out screen

Let’s not forget that I need to thread the machine. I used a red bobbin weight thread in the bobbin and my red embroidery thread on top.

The embroidery foot is attached and I have a red thread for the top and the bobbin.

It’s easy to hit the START/STOP button on the Function Panel and let the embroidery machine do all the work. Notice that the STOP function is highlighted. You do NOT want that feature selected when you’re doing this kind of stitching as the embroidery machine will stop after each letter. Which is OK if you wanted to change the thread color for each letter. But since my letters will all be the same color, I turned off the STOP feature and all the letters stitched one after the other.

Function panel of the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC

And soon enough the embroidery was done. That sound is always music to my ears. If I happen to be upstairs, I can always check the app on my smartphone to see what stage the embroidery is at. I love that feature. That’s made possible because the Designer EPIC is connected to the Wi-Fi. I know  – how crazy is that!

Embroidery is finished!

Step 6 – Cut out the sashing pieces

It takes a bit of time for these letters to be stitched out. Why? Well, the jump stitch for each letter is hidden on the back of the work, unlike the method we used yesterday where you could see the connecting stitches.

It’s amazing and all done with the touch of the START/STOP button. So if you’re looking for a cleaner look, this is the way to go.

Sashing has been trimmed to size.

WAIT – before you say it, I’ll say it – I’m not so sure that my thread color is the best. I mean those words are almost an exact match for the fabric. Since these are the names of people, they are less recognizable than the names of quilt blocks.

I may have to use a slightly lighter color of thread, otherwise, we’ll never be able to decipher what the words are. Mind you, the words are easier to read in person than in the photos.

I slept on it and NO that thread color has to be changed. If I’m putting in all that work, those names need to be much more legible than they were on the original sample.

This is why it’s important to makes samples. Just because you think the color is right, it doesn’t mean the color is right.

I looked through the thread box and chose two different colors. One red had a yellow undertone making it an orange red, the other had a blue undertone, making a purple-red. I like the ‘orange’ red best.

Two new colors auditioned on the sashing fabric.

OK – that was an important call. The lettering is much more legible and I tried a cleaner font as well. I think I like this option although, in person, that thread is very bright. But from a foot away from the quilt, it’s probably won’t be that noticeable.

A much better thread choice

I may end up trying another, slightly duller color (if I have in my thread box). Otherwise, I think I’m good with this one.

And it’s that easy to add letters to your quilt sashing. Imagine the possibilities for personalizing ANYTHING. It’s also a way to make your quilts your own! Play with the different fonts and sizes that are included with the Designer EPIC. Or if you’re really ambitious, you can take ANY font that’s a true font and convert it to a file that you stitch out on the Designer EPIC. Imagine the possibilities……

There we have it – another way to get the lettering on our quilts (or other items) and it’s so easy to make it happen with the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC.

Tomorrow, I’ll have some more lettering options and I’ll chat a bit more about the Embroidery Edit screen. Be sure to come back and check out what I’ve got to show you.

Have a great day!


This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: 6 steps to add lettering to your quilt sashings

Go to part 4: User’s Guide, Quick Help, JoyOS Advisor: sewing help at your fingertips

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6 steps to add lettering to your quilt sashings


JANET ROBINSON July 2, 2023 - 6:55 pm
Thank you for all this info. It's dinner time so I will get on this tomorrow morning. Janet Robinson
Lois S Grizzard October 8, 2018 - 12:34 pm
I have a viking topaz 50 and I want to make multiple lines of words and can't figure it out. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elaine Theriault October 8, 2018 - 6:45 pm
Lois - remember that each line of words is a separate line. You can't group them until all the lines are created. Get the spacing correct and then you can group them if you like. There is NO ENTER function. Let me know if you need more assistance. I've sent you an e-mail. Elaine
Kathleen Gosbee September 30, 2018 - 8:46 pm
Wow, what a wonderful idea to leave your siggy on your quilt as a way to say who made it. I will give this method a try. Thank you so much!!
Elaine Theriault October 8, 2018 - 6:41 pm
Kathleen - yes - it's a great idea to leave that information to the recipient of the quilts. So much quilt history has been lost because people didn't label quilts! Glad you enjoyed the post!
Brenda West September 29, 2018 - 6:45 am
Wow - this is just way too cool. I could only wish that I had a machine that could even do words, or just plain embroider. The ideas you folks have are incredible. The steps you show are perfection. If I ever get to this point in my sewing - would definitely use your tutorials to learn this. Thanks
Elaine Theriault October 8, 2018 - 6:43 pm
Brenda - thanks for your kind words! Sewing is an obsession around our house and I love having a creative outlet. You will get to this point in your sewing - we all had to start somewhere. I've made my share of mistakes along the way. Thanks for following. Elaine
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