Easily get the look of handwork stitches by machine!

It was fun to take a good look at all the cool bells and whistles we found yesterday on the Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q sewing machine, but today? It’s all about stitching!

Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q

There’s so much I want to stitch with the Brilliance 75Q, I didn’t where to start! If you’re like me, you have many unfinished quilt projects that get set aside for various reasons. The project I’m working on today got set aside because it required a lot of hand stitching, and I never seemed to have the time to get it done.

Recently I lamented to a friend about the lack of time to finish the hand stitching. She looked at me and said, “You have a sewing machine that can make that same stitch.” And I thought – she’s right! Who will know I used the sewing machine to do the decorative stitching?

The project is sitting on the cutting table and the Brilliance 75Q is turned on, so let’s get started.

Here’s the project box. It’s a beautifully hand embroidered Redwork quilt. All the blocks are ready to be trimmed and sewn together, and a line of feather stitching will be added along all the seam lines. At one point, I thought about eliminating the feather stitch, but decided it would look better with this line of decorative stitching. I never had the time or the motivation to work on it, so the project sat.

Hand embroidered Redwork blocks

The first question was whether I could find a thread that would match the embroidery floss. Okay, that was actually easier than I thought it would be. I found two different brands that matched pretty well. One is a 30 weight, and the other is a 35 weight. I stared at both threads for a long time, trying to decide which one matched better. Seriously? If I can’t see a difference here, no one will know the difference when the quilt top is complete. I choose the 30-weight thread, with the 35-weight as the backup.

Matching a machine stitching thread to embroidery floss

Knowing that I’m using this thicker thread, I must use a topstitch needle, which has a larger eye and will accommodate the thick thread.

A topstitch needle is vital for working with the thicker threads

I didn’t want to use the 30-weight thread in the bobbin, so I found a red 50-weight thread in my thread stash. I never use heavy threads in the bobbin unless it’s for bobbin work, which is a whole other blog post for another day! It’s time to wind a bobbin. The bobbin winder is on the top of the Brilliance 75Q and is super easy to use. There’s a built-in thread cutter next to the bobbin winder that makes it easy to clip the thread once I’m done.

Winding the bobbin

I’m winding a cotton thread on this bobbin, so it’s okay to leave the speed at the maximum. If needed, I can use the slider on the screen to slow the bobbin winding process down. I do that for specialty or delicate threads like invisible threads or thin threads. Pushing the bobbin winder spindle to the right engages the bobbin winder, and a popup message appears on the screen, where you can adjust the speed with the slider. The stop and start for bobbin winding are also on this popup screen.

The bobbin winding popup screen

The next step is to find a stitch on the Brilliance 75Q that will simulate what I would have done by hand stitching. Notice how confident I was at finding a stitch? I’d already decided to go ahead without even looking at the available stitches!

A diagram of the fly stitch in the quilt pattern

I grabbed my User’s Guide to look through the stitch menus. I could have just as easily browsed through the stitch menus right on the Brilliance 75Q, but I was taking a brief pause with a cup of tea. Look what I found in the D Menu – Quilt Stitches. There’s a fly stitch that looks pretty much identical to the hand embroidery version.

Menu D – Quilt Stitches

It’s time to do some experimenting. I changed the needle to a topstitch. I loaded my freshly wound bobbin, and I threaded the machine with 30-weight thread. It’s a snap to use the built-in needle threader, which will come in handy as I work my way through this project, since I’ll need to switch between sewing and decorative stitching a couple of times.

The needle threader

A quick note about how I loaded the spool of thread on the Brilliance 75Q: spools of thread are either wound with a cross-wound or stacked method. There are different ways (vertical versus horizontal) to load the spool on the sewing machine. I placed this spool (stacked) in the horizontal position so the weight of the spool wouldn’t affect the tension. Think about it; if the spool is in the vertical position, the spool would have to rotate as I stitched, and this, in turn, can affect the tension depending on how full the spool is. Does it make a difference? I don’t know, but personally, I don’t like the spool moving when I’m stitching. I’ve placed a medium spool cap at the end of the spool to hold it in place.

A spool of thread loaded horizontally on the main spool pin

It’s time to do a sample. Here’s the thing – I know many of us are always in a rush to get things done. Once we decide something, we want to make it happen NOW. Then we end up ripping out stitches. While I might be in a hurry, I never like to use the seam ripper. And besides, I love experimenting as this is how I learn.

I started by selecting the D:13 stitch. The red dot signifies the start point on this decorative stitch, and the width is 7.0mm, which is the maximum stitch width on the Brilliance 75Q. I can decrease the width if I want, but I can’t increase it beyond 7.0mm. The current stitch length is 3.5, the recommended presser foot is B, and I should use a stabilizer.

The D:13 stitch appears on the main sewing screen

Why would I want to use the B foot? The A and B presser feet look pretty much the same from the top. But when you flip them over, the B foot has a channel in the bottom, allowing the decorative stitches to flow freely beneath the foot and eliminate jamming. This feature is necessary with the thick threads and the number of fabric thicknesses I’ll be stitching.

The bottom of the B presser foot has a channel, while the bottom of the A press foot is flat.

Here’s my first test sample using the default settings for the D:13 stitch. Can you see that the 30-weight thread has a fuzzy look to it – almost as if I were using embroidery floss. Oh, I like it! I’m so excited to get this project finished.

The default settings for the D:13 stitch

I’m happy with the stitch width, so I won’t change it, but let’s experiment with the length. I lengthened the stitch to the longest it would go. I can tell I’m not using the default length any longer, as that number went from black to red. The width, which I didn’t change, is still at 7.0.

The length of D:13 is at the maximum

Oh, this is so much fun! And once I had gathered my supplies, it took just seconds to do the sample. I’m using the START-STOP function, not the foot pedal, to do the stitching. I did reduce the speed considerably so I could stay in control. Now, my second sample of D:13 looks very similar to what a hand-stitched fly stitch would look like. That’s the beauty of taking a few minutes to do some testing.

A comparison of the fly stitch – default settings versus the maximum length

I tried another sample with the stitch length at 4.5. I did use a stabilizer beneath my sample, and the stitches are laying nice and flat. See what happened at the end of that last row where the stitches ran off the stabilizer? Yep – puckering, and that doesn’t look pretty.

Three different lengths of the D:13 fly stitch

Let’s compare these stitches to the picture of the fly stitch in the pattern. I like both of the longer stitches – remember, the one in the middle is the maximum stitch length, and the one on the right has a length of 4.5. Looking at these stitches, I think I like the last one best. It makes all the difference to do some simple testing to find just the right stitch.

The samples of machine-stitched fly stitches and the diagram of the hand-stitched fly stitch

Okay, it’s getting late in the day, and I don’t have time to continue. The stitch I’ve tested is not the default, so now what? Well, I could take a picture of that setting, or I could write it down, but I can do something even better. Menu U is called My Stitches, and I can save it there, so when I get back to work on this project, I can select this stitch. How easy is that?

Menu U – My Stitches

Speaking of saving, I forgot to mention yesterday that you can also save files to a USB, as there is a USB port located on the side of the Brilliance 75Q.

The USB port

Before I was ready to proceed, I had one last test to do. I’ll be stitching along the seam line that joins two blocks together. How will the stitch look along the seam line, and will I need a stabilizer? The hand-embroidered blocks are stabilized with a layer of interfacing so the seam will be bulky – should I press it open or to one side? I used some scraps from trimming the blocks to create a seam.

I’m not a fan of pressing my seams open, so I pressed the seam to one side. Now keep in mind, there’s a lot of bulk along the one side with two layers of fabric and two layers of interfacing. Let’s try out that stitch and see what happens.

A test sample of the stitch along a seam line with no stabilizer.

First off, the stitch looks fantastic. Okay – not the puckering part, but the stitch went along the center seam with no problem. Oh, my goodness, this makes finishing this quilt a real possibility. I’m so excited! This time I added Inspira Tear-A-Way stabilizer beneath the stitch and tried it again. Perfect! I would bet that if I didn’t say anything, I could stitch all these seams, and no one would know I stitched these lines with the Brilliance 75Q. The thread color matches perfectly, and being able to adjust the length of the stitch pretty much emulates what I could have done by hand. Oh, I’m so happy!!!!!

The final result of the testing of the fly stitch

I could assemble the entire quilt top and then do the decorative stitching. This section of the quilt top isn’t huge at 38″ x 45″, so the size is doable, and there are only nine lines of stitching. I could use the FIX and CUT functions to begin and end the lines of stitching. Instead, I’ll piece two blocks together, then do the line of decorative stitching. Then I’ll attach the next section and do the decorating stitching. It means switching threads, feet, and stitches while doing that, but it’s only a couple of times, so it won’t be a big deal. And it’ll be way faster than doing it by hand!

Now I need to prepare the blocks. It’s time to get them out of the project box and give them a good pressing. Oh, my goodness, I even found a hand embroidery needle in one of the blocks.

Two of the blocks on the Singer Ironing and Crafting Station

I used my Singer SteamCraft Plus Steam Iron to press the blocks. I didn’t want to crush the embroidery by pressing directly on top of it, so I placed the block upside down on a wool pressing mat and gave it a good press.

Pressing the hand embroidery block using a wool mat and the Singer SteamCraft Plus Steam Iron

I have loads of room to work on my Singer Iron and Crafting Station, which I love to use. I’ve been using mine for a while, and I have the prototype cover, so it looks a bit dirty and is a slightly different color from the one you can buy. But I love that crafting table. It’s so sturdy and big.

Lots of room to work on the Singer Iron and Crafting Station

You have no idea how excited I am to start stitching! I started this project many years ago. I carried those blocks on numerous vacations and finally got them done. When I finished the embroidery, the project got shelved while I decided whether to do the embroidery on the seams. When it finally dawned on me that I could accomplish the same thing on my sewing machine? Well – this is just so exciting!

Here’s the first seam – what do you think? I love it!!

The line of fly stitching on the project

Now I’m off to finish the rest of the project. The end is in sight for this project with only eight seams left to do!

The center of the Redwork quilt

Well, what do you think? This finished section looks fantastic. I’ll add the borders, and the quilt top will be together – at last!

Some people might call what I did cheating, and that’s okay. I’m over the guilt of finding time to do this project by hand. I’ve so many projects to finish, and if there’s a way to use the Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q to make that happen, then I’m okay with that.

Tomorrow, I’ll be checking out some options for getting that accurate ¼” seam and a wee bit of quilting. So be sure to pop back for that.

Have a great day!


This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: The bells and whistles of the Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q

Go to part 4: 2 ways to achieve a perfect ¼” seam allowance

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The bells and whistles of the Husqvarna Viking Brilliance 75Q