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Jazz up a synthetic rattan table topper with machine embroidery

by Elaine Theriault

It’s the end of the week! So much to embroider, so little time!

What did you think of the postcard I made yesterday? I love it and want to make postcards for everyone! It’s on its way to my friend, and I can’t wait to see what she says when it arrives. The best part is that those designs are part of the signature design collection for the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90, so combining the designs to make the postcard was easy.

A while computerized sewing machine with red trim. Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90

Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90

The signature collection is full of fun outdoor designs, and I promised to share some non-camping-related designs. I’m only using one motif today, so here’s a screenshot of some of the other signature designs. There are many fun themes to use on readymade items or to embellish a project you create.

Embroidery designs on the screen of a computerized embroidery machine; Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90

A sampling of the designs in the signature collection in the Designer Ruby 90

Today, I’m working with another readymade item, and it’s not fabric. I found this round table topper, and while it looks like rattan, it’s synthetic rattan made of plastic. It looks pretty boring on its own, but what if I can embroider on that?

Let’s give it a try. I’m making up the process as I go along and will share my formula with you. Fingers crossed!

A round piece of synthetic rattan tan-colored

A synthetic rattan table topper

The first two things to consider are how to hoop this item and what kind of stabilizer to use. I won’t be able to hoop this in a traditional hoop, and since it’s going to be a table topper, I want the back to look as good as the front.

The motif that I chose is small and fits in the Small Metal Hoop (100 by 100mm), so that’s perfect. No need to worry about securing the table topper in a traditional two-part hoop.

Since I want the back to look as clean as the front, I chose INSPIRA Aqua Magic Stabilizer for the primary stabilizer. Since this surface is rough, I wasn’t sure how the needle and thread would react to this material, so I decided to use a topper and chose INSPIRA Water Works soluble film.

A small metal hoop with 4 magnets and two rolls, of water-soluble stabilizer; Small Metal Hoop (100 by 100mm), INSPIRA Magnets for Metal Hoop, INSPIRA Aqua Magic Stabilizer, INSPIRA Water Works

The small metal hoop and water-soluble stabilizers

I did not print out a diagram to help with the placement, so I went by eye. There were many ways to position the motifs on the table topper, but my main goal was to try machine embroidery on this unusual material and get the back to look as good as the front. Working with the placement diagram is good as it helps to visualize the size of the motif with the size of your project. It can help get the positioning just right, and it’s extremely helpful if multiple hoopings are required.

I took a large piece of the Aqua Magic Stabilizer and cut a piece large enough for the entire backing of the table topper. My motifs won’t be close to the edge of the table topper, so it’s OK that the stabilizer is a bit short on the sides.

A piece of white stabilizer on top of a round synthetic rattan table topper; INSPIRA Aqua Magic Stabilizer

A piece of Aqua Magic stabilizer for the wrong side of the table topper

Then I drew some reference lines using chalk, which is my favorite marker. For the most part, the chalk marks completely disappear by the time the project is complete, if not before, so be careful. I hate removing lines, so white chalk is my best friend when it comes to marking.

After marking the reference lines, I secured the project and the stabilizers to the small metal hoop. Those powerful magnets are so handy as all three layers were very secure.

Four gray magnets secure a piece of stabilizer and synthetic round table topper to a metal hoop; Small Metal Hoop (100 by 100mm), INSPIRA Magnets for Metal Hoop, INSPIRA Aqua Magic Stabilizer, INSPIRA Water Works

The table topper is attached to the small metal hoop with powerful magnets

Let’s have a look at the Welcome to Embroidery Stitch Out screen. The magnets secure the topper to the small metal hoop, so there is no need to use the Baste Around Design or Baste Around Hoop functions, as those needle marks would never come out. I turned off the Automatic Thread Cutter and Automatic Jump Stitch Trim, meaning I’ll manually cut the threads during the embroidery process. I also turned off the deLuxe Stitch System. Should you want to know more about the why of that step, refer to Wednesday’s post. I’ve made those decisions because I want the back of this piece to look as good as the front. Well, that’s the goal – let’s see how well it turns out.

Embroidery settings on a computerized embroidery machine; Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90

The Welcome to Embroidery Stitch Out screen

I wasn’t sure what type and size of needle to use. There was an INSPIRA Topstitch needle (Size 90) in the Designer Ruby 90. I thought, why not try this needle and see what happens. I wasn’t sure if bigger or smaller would work best.

It turns out the Topstitch needle wasn’t a good idea because I hadn’t gotten very far, and the needle broke. So I used an INSPIRA Embroidery Needle (Size 75), and it worked like a charm!

I used a 40wt embroidery thread on the top, and I used a 40-weight embroidery thread in the bobbin! I know – it took me a long time to realize that I didn’t have to use a bobbin weight thread in the bobbin. But choose your designs wisely – the heavier thread in the bobbin is not a good idea for dense designs.

A computerized embroidery machine stitching red thread on a synthetic rattan surface, held in place with magnets; Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90, Small Metal Hoop (100 by 100mm), INSPIRA Aqua Magic Stabilizer, INSPIRA Water Works, INSPIRA Magnets for Metal Hoop

Starting the embroidery stitch out process

As I mentioned, I had no idea how well the design would embroider on that rough plastic. Even though I haven’t checked the back yet, I’m excited!

Two petals of a flower stitched in red thread on a synthetic rattan table topper; Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90, Small Metal Hoop (100 by 100mm), INSPIRA Aqua Magic Stabilizer, INSPIRA Water Works, INSPIRA Magnets for Metal Hoop

Progress on the floral motif stitching on the synthetic rattan table topper

Even though the motif had three different colors, I used one color of thread in the bobbin. I wasn’t going to wind a bobbin for each color when two of them were red, and the third, yellow, was used sparingly.

The other thing I made a conscious decision about was when I selected the design. I chose a motif that wasn’t too dense. This design has 6544 stitches, and I figured it would be OK for the size. I could probably use an even denser design for future embroidery on this material, but this one worked well for my experimenting.

I was super excited about the quality of the stitches. The following photo shows the front of the motif after the first two colors. I still have one thread to trim away, but so far, this is looking amazing.

A floral motif in two shades of red on a synthetic rattan table topper

The almost finished embroidered motif

So, if you’re impressed by the stitching in that photo, LOOK at the back!! Oh my — this is amazing! I was jumping up and down when I saw that. There’s a little bit of the top thread coming through to the back, but that’s perfectly normal since I didn’t adjust the top tension. I left it at the default of 2.8. My thread color in the bobbin was also a slightly different shade of red.

An embroidery motif in multiple shades of red thread; Small Metal Hoop (100 by 100mm); INSPIRA Aqua Magic Stabilizer

The back of the machine embroidery motif looks awesome

Here’s another great tip. When you have to trim the threads from the top, hold onto that top thread as you hit START. If you don’t, it might get pulled to the back of the work and cause a thread nest. So hold that thread! The Designer Ruby 90 will stitch a couple of stitches and then stop, giving you a pop-up message to cut the tail of the top thread. Do not cut the active thread, or you’ll be restarting the color. It can be a bit tricky to see. But in the following photo, you can see that one thread is tight (that’s the active one that’s threaded into the needle), and the loose one is the one to cut!

The foot of an embroidery machine stitching out a motif in red thread; Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90

Cut the loose tail end of the thread

Here’s the first motif stitched out. WOW!! That looks impressive. I have to say that I was a bit apprehensive about stitching on this material, but the Designer Ruby 90 performed like a champion, and the results are super impressive.

A floral motif in shades of red on a synthetic rattan table topper using a metal embroidery hoop; Small Metal Hoop (100 by 100mm), INSPIRA Magnets for Metal Hoop

The gorgeous floral motif on the synthetic rattan table topper

Then I went ahead and stitched out three more motifs.

I used my INSPIRA 6” Double Curved Embroidery Scissors and trimmed away the excess water-soluble film from the top and the Aqua Magic from the back.

A pair of curved handled embroidery scissors on top of the embroidered synthetic rattan table topper; INSPIRA 6" Double Curved Embroidery Scissor

A pair of Double Curved Embroidery Scissors

Yes – I know the location of those motifs is predictable, but I’m OK with that. I need to print the template for another motif(s) and find an interesting way to position it on my second table topper. The first one was a test. Hmm – Imagine a straw hat for the beach! I found a burlap tote bag that will also make a great bag to embroider. Or how about a set of rattan placemats and coasters perfect for the outdoor living space. There’s not enough time!

Four red, machine embroidered floral motifs on a round synthetic rattan table topper

Four floral motifs on my table topper

Here’s the back of the table topper with the excess Aqua Magic trimmed away. All that remains is to give it a quick rinse in warm water and let the thread dry.

Four red floral motifs machine embroidered on a round, synthetic rattan table topper

The back of the machine embroidered table topper with most of the stabilizer trimmed away

OH MY — that little table topper dresses up my side table in the gazebo perfectly! I’m so excited!!!

A machine embroidered rattan table topper on a round table in a gazebo

The table topper dresses up the side table in the gazebo

And that wraps up this week with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby 90. We’ve barely scratched the surface of the signature collection of embroidery designs. And the combination of the flexible tools for embroidery settings, along with the excellent stitch quality – well, anything is possible. I didn’t even touch on all the unique decorative stitch techniques! Those will have to wait for another day!

Thanks for following along, and be sure to pop into your Husqvarna Viking dealer and have a chat about the Designer Ruby 90. You won’t be sorry!

Have a great day!

Ciao!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Creating a machine embroidered postcard to mail to a friend

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