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Adding bobbin work as a decorative element makes a charming gift bag

Adding bobbin work as a decorative element makes a charming gift bag

by Jean Boyd

Gift bag with decorative cording

Today I’m doing some decorative bobbin work. I had never used this technique before, but now I can see all kinds of possibilities for using it. The bobbin work bobbin case and the bobbin case cover are included in the bundle of supplies that comes with the Brother Innov-ís BQ3050.

To prepare for bobbin work, remove the regular black bobbin case and replace it with the gray bobbin work one. It’s pretty easy to do and the instructions in the manual are very helpful. In fact, there’s a whole chapter just on bobbin work!

The decorative stitches are made using whatever thread used in the bobbin. I can use heavyweight thread, perle cotton, embroidery floss, fine wool etc. These are all products I would not be able to thread through a regular needle. I also must wind the bobbin by hand but not more than 80% full.

Bobbin work bobbin case is the gray one on the right.


  • (1) 9″ x 20″ for the outside of the bag
  • (2) 7″ x 9¾” for lining
  • (1) 22″ piece of ribbon
  • decorative heavyweight thread
  • bobbin work bobbin case
  • bobbin work bobbin cover
  • (1) 9″ x 20″ lightweight, tear-away stabilizer
  • N foot for the machine

Perle cotton for stitching, hand wound bobbin, bobbin work case and bobbin cover

Let’s start stitching!

As always, when trying a new technique, it’s a good idea to do some practice samples first. Make notes right on the fabric. It’s great to have that information for future projects.

There are over 500 decorative stitches on the Brother Innov-ís BQ3050, but for this project, it’s best to use a fairly simple, open type stitch. I also need to make the stitch wider and longer and increase the upper thread tension.

Practice bobbin work stitches with settings etc. marked for future reference

After doing my practice stitching, I was ready to create some decorated fabric for another gift bag. I wound some perle cotton on the bobbin and I was ready go!

Here are 2 of the stitches I chose. It’s so easy to change width, length and tension just by touching the + or –  keys on the LCD screen.

The stitch has been lengthened and widened and the top tension increased to 6.

This stitch has also been lengthened and widened and the top tension increased to 8.

Pin the stabilizer on the wrong side of the 9″ x 20″ piece of fabric.

I drew diagonal lines on my stabilizer, but you could do straight or curvy lines if you wish. I also adjusted the sewing speed to slow and unplugged the foot pedal, so I could use the stop/start button on the front of the machine for stitching. That allows the stitching to be done at an even speed and I can concentrate on guiding the fabric. I will be stitching on the stabilizer on the back of the fabric, so I don’t get to see my fancy stitching until I turn the piece over!

Here’s my first row of stitching so you can see how it looks on both the front and the back.

First row of stitching on the stabilizer on the back of the fabric

This is the stitching as it looks on the front.

I continued sewing, using a heavyweight perle cotton in the bobbin until the fabric had several rows of stitching on it.

Bobbin work stitching is now complete.

Make sure to pay attention to the little sad face that pops up saying The bobbin is almost empty. Because the bobbin threads are heavy, I can’t get too much thread on one bobbin, and I definitely don’t want to run out of thread halfway through a line. Those stitches are not easy to take out. Can you tell I’ve had experience with this?

This is an important message. Pay attention!

Once the stitching is done, I’m ready to assemble the gift bag.

  • Trim excess stabilizer from the back.
  • Trim to make (2) 7″ x 9″ rectangles.
  • Cut out a 1″ square from the bottom of all outside and lining rectangles.
  • With right sides together sew the 2 side seams on both the outside and lining pieces.
  • Sew across the bottom of the outside pieces.
  • Sew about 1½” in from each side across the bottom of the lining pieces, leaving an opening for turning the bag.

Stitch sides and bottom of bag front and lining. Leave an opening at the bottom of the lining.

  • Fold the bag right sides together, matching the side and bottom seams.
  • Stitch across the opening to make the bottom corners.
  • Make the corners in the same way on the bag lining.

Stitch across the opening to make the bottom corners.

  • Place the bag inside the lining with right sides together.
  • Stitch around the top to join the bag to the lining.
  • Turn bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.
  • Fold in the raw edges at the bottom of the lining and top-stitch the opening closed.
  • Top-stitch the lining to the outside fabric along the seam line at the top of the bag. Remember to use the laser light to help keep this line perfectly straight!
  • Stitch the piece of ribbon to one side seam.

Stitch the ribbon tie at one side seam.

And now the bobbin work gift bag is ready to fill with goodies!

Another finished gift bag with bobbin work stitching done on the Brother Innov-ís BQ3050

Be sure to come back tomorrow to learn about using the Brother Innov-ís BQ3050 machine to make another easy gift bag.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: The BQ3050 bobbin cover makes it easy to add decorative cording

Go to part 5: 1 last gift bag and the beauty of the BQ3050’s help screen


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