HV DESIGNER EPIC 3 | Preparing your project for projection embroidery

We had so much fun exploring creative quilting designs with the projection grid on the Husqvarna VIKING DESIGNER EPIC 3 yesterday. I promised that next, I’d show you some possibilities for projection in embroidery. So today I’ll show you how to prepare your project for projection embroidery and tomorrow, we get to put that projection embroidery into action.

Exploring creative quilting designs yesterday with the projection grid on the Husqvarna VIKING DESIGNER EPIC 3.

When using an embroidery machine, I have the option to purchase designs or subscribe to the mySewnet library. I can choose to combine or manipulate these designs as I like. Once I have the design file, I can insert it into the DESIGNER EPIC 3 and start embroidering.

Looking at my embroidery tools—the DESIGNER EPIC 3 with various hoops and specialty techniques, along with the mySewnet Embroidery Software—I realize the freedom to do anything I want. I don’t have to rely solely on the creativity of others. Both approaches, whether purchasing designs or creating my own, are valid. The flexibility of these tools allows us to choose the machine embroidery style that works for us. I love exploring these tools to see what I can create and how they can make my quilting/sewing journey a bit easier.

I’ve been working on a quilt top for over a year and am now down to the appliqued border. It has caused me some angst over the past few months, but I decided it was time to finish it. I’ll share how I used my embroidery tools to make it happen.

After much fiddling, I finally got the bias strip vine glued in place to my satisfaction. I used a paper template to ensure the vine was symmetrically placed on the border. Since the quilt isn’t perfectly square, I had to adjust the center of each border to fit the rest of the pattern. The quilt I’m working on is called Green Tea and Sweet Beans by Jen Kingwell.

Today, I plan to stitch the vine down using the DESIGNER EPIC 3, and I’ll share that process with you. Additionally, I’ve created a design to use machine embroidery applique to stitch floral motifs on the border. I’ll provide more details on the prep work for that in a minute.

A quilt top with the vine glued in place

I love machine appliqué, and there are different types, like satin stitch for raw edges and invisible applique for turned-under edges. I’ve used both styles on this quilt because, hey, who says we can’t mix and match? A turned-under seam allowance works well with invisible machine appliqué using an elongated zigzag stitch.

For this, I use a thin 60wt color-matching thread for the top, prewound machine embroidery thread in the bobbin, the Open Toe Foot, and an elongated zigzag stitch. Ideally, I’d love to use a very narrow (1.0 mm) zigzag, but it’s quite challenging to keep it in just the right spot. The next option on the DESIGNER EPIC 3 is 1.5 mm wide, which I find a bit too large, even though I’ve used it in the past. But here’s the exciting part – the DESIGNER EPIC 3 has Stitch Creator! So, I can pull up the zigzag stitch and make it into a 1.3 mm wide zigzag. That was a jump-for-joy moment!

Just to clarify, some stitches come with preset widths that move up and down in specific increments, which is why I’m excited about being able to make a stitch in the exact width I want.

Using Stitch Creator to modify the zigzag stitch

It was quite easy to do and only took a few seconds. I didn’t bother changing the length as I can control that with the Stitch Editing tool in sewing mode. Saving this file in the mySewnet Cloud was a breeze. I named my new stitch ‘Invisible Machine Zigzag,’ but you can call it whatever you want. Since I tend to misplace things, I created a folder called ‘Machine Applique Stitches’ to make it easy to find next time. And I’m sure there’ll be a next time, as this is one of my favorite applique techniques.

My personalized zigzag stitch

One of the things I love about the DESIGNER EPIC 3 for machine applique is the Exclusive Sensor System. It raises ever so slightly when you stop, provided the Needle Stop Up/Down is engaged. I placed a screwdriver under the foot to show how high it raises. There’s no manual presser foot lever – it’s all done automatically, and it couldn’t get any easier than this! When you have to do something manually, you tend to get lazy and might not pivot often enough, leading to ripples in the work. I stitched down the entire vine, and there were no tucks or ripples! The Exclusive Sensor System is hands down the best for stitching applique by machine.

The presser foot raises slightly to allow easy pivoting

It’s worth noting the excellent visibility provided by the Open Toe foot. When working on tight corners or curves, it’s easy to see exactly where the needle should be. Regardless of the applique stitch you’re using, about 99% of the stitch should be on the appliqué shape. The needle should swing into the background on the right-hand side but not go beyond skimming the edge of the applique shape. Placing more of the stitch on the background can lead to puckering and make the thread visible.

The needle skims the edge of the applique shape

Keep the stitching line straight in front of you as you are stitching. My stitches are starting to go sideways in this photo, and it’s well past the point when I need to pivot. That’s the beauty of that Exclusive Sensor System and the Needle Stop Up/Down capability.

This photo shows you what not to do — pivot before it looks like this.

Pivot the fabric to be able to stitch in a straight line

Stitching the border around the entire quilt rather than a single border section at a time was a bit challenging considering the bulk of the entire quilt. However, I kept the embroidery unit on and encountered no issues. Despite the quilt’s large size, over 80″ square, there was ample room between the quilt and the embroidery arm. The spacious area is great but be mindful of the embroidery arm. Avoid getting anything caught on it to prevent any potential damage.

Doing the applique with a large quilt and the embroidery unit still attached

The close-up of the stitching speaks for itself – it’s beautiful and practically invisible. I love the quality of stitches I achieve with the DESIGNER EPIC 3. While it takes some practice (I’m still working on my 10,000 hours), achieving this level of quality is possible with good tools, the right supplies, a few tricks, and consistent practice!

Invisible machine applique with a modified zigzag stitch

Now, the quilt is all set for the machine embroidery applique on the borders. The challenge ahead is that I don’t have a ready-made design to embroider on it. Sure, I could have searched for one, but where’s the fun in that? The shapes of the flowers and leaves are straightforward, so I turned to the mySewnet embroidery software to create a machine embroidery applique.

There are various ways I could have gone about creating my floral design. One option was to take the original shapes from the pattern and attempt to trace them. While this technique was effective, it seemed a bit complicated.

Digitizing the border flowers from the original pattern

Since the shapes were simple, I created a unique design for my quilt. I used the Quick Create tool in the Digitizing Module (Platinum Level). There’s a Shape Tool, which I used to create some leaves, flowers, and flower centers. I played around with the position, size, and number of flowers. Here’s my design. I felt the border on the original quilt was sparse, so I wanted the flowers to be more abundant.

My initial attempt to digitize the machine embroidery applique

It’s hard to imagine the size of the motif, so I printed out a template to check. Oh, I think this might be too big. Despite the sizing tools in the software, printing a 100% version of the embroidery design is always a good practice for better sizing and placement.

My original design is too large

After realizing the motif might be too big, I went back to the software to downsize it and switched to the Metal Hoop (180mm by 130mm). I also played around with the colors, changing the leaves to green. While it might not affect the screen’s appearance or the actual stitching, it adds a touch of realism to the design.

The design is smaller, and the colors changed

I printed out another template and tried it for size, and it looks just right.

The scale is more appropriate

The new size is similar in size to the largest flower on the quilt, and I’m good with that.

The new design is similar in size to the motifs on the quilt

Continuing with the design process, I started experimenting with the type of stitches I could use to finish the edges. While I love the satin stitch for its flexibility in width and other options, I also have access to ALL the Husqvarna VIKING stitches. So, I decided to try a mossy satin stitch for the leaves.

A moss-like stitch for the green leaves

After saving this design, I created a two-flower and a one-flower motif. I anticipate needing 27 hoopings to complete the embroidery on this border.

To save time, I utilized the mySewnet Embroidery Software to create SVG files for all the applique shapes. This way, I can cut out all the shapes on my digital cutter, significantly expediting the applique process.

I reviewed the file stitching in the Design Player in the software, and it looks good. The final step is to stitch a sample on fabric using the digital cutter shapes to ensure everything looks as expected.

For the first step, I cut one of each shape using the digital cutter. The process worked smoothly, and the more I use my digital cutter, the more comfortable and faster I become at it.

Pre-cut applique pieces

Here’s the test piece – and oh! I was jumping up and down. I made this, from scratch! Aside from a tiny glitch in the stitching process, which will be easy to fix, it worked like a charm. Wow, there’s nothing better than having technology do the work for you – well, okay, I had to tell it what I wanted it to do! But seriously, to me, this process is way more exciting than buying an embroidery file and stitching it out!

The test sample on the quilt

Because this motif is placed in specific spots along the vine and, in some instances, will have to conceal a join in the bias, using the Projection System is going to be huge. And we get to see that in action tomorrow! So be sure to come back and see how you can creatively use your Husqvarna VIKING DESIGNER EPIC 3 to speed up finishing a UFO.

Husqvarna VIKING DESIGNER EPIC 3 with embroidery unit

This is part 4 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 3: The Husqvarna VIKING DESIGNER EPIC 3 |More creative quilting designs with the Projection Grid

Go to part 5: The positioning tools on the DESIGNER EPIC 3 for exact applique placement

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