Okay, I have to tell you a secret – I cheated yesterday. Not in a bad way that would get me in trouble, but in a creative way. At least, I think so! While I adore the elegance of single-color, tone-on-tone effects, I also love marrying two perfectly matched colors. I achieved just the right pairing by using variegated thread when I embroidered the single-color border design on yesterday’s bowl cozy project. But I didn’t have to use variegated thread to show more color. One of the cool new additions built into my Brother Luminaire XP1 Upgrade Kit (Premium Pack II) (and, of course, already included in the Brother Luminaire2 Innov-is XP2) is a set of 2-color sashed borders. That’s what I want to play with today. You with me? Oh, goodie!
I have another nifty little project in mind – a nice clean slate on which to take yesterday’s technique one step up: an elegant placemat, complete with a cutlery pocket. What a perfect accessory for lunching at your desk! The supplies for this project are pulled straight from my stash (you have one of those, don’t you?).
- (2) 14″ x 20″ cuts of quilting cotton
- 1 piece of thin batting large enough for the Luminaire’s largest hoop
- (2) 3½” x 12½” strips of coordinating quilting cotton
- 2 or 3 colors of embroidery thread to complement your fabric choices
Now to set up the sashed border. As we did yesterday, enter the embroidery mode of your machine, then touch on the Menu Q to access the built-in Sashed Borders. This time we want Tab 2, the two-color patterns. Select your favorite and then Set:
Again, like yesterday, we’ll keep this in one hoop, and set the size parameters: 10″ across the top, 13″ in height, and a 2″ border width. Don’t forget to select triple stitch so your stitching stands out!
Yesterday, I didn’t bother setting my colors. After all, the machine doesn’t really know what thread you put in, and when working with only one like we did yesterday, it’s hardly worth the effort. But… today I wanted to play just a little more and preview my colors on screen, so I used the color set options to set a darker pink for the first border layer, and a lighter pink for the second. It’s as easy as touching the palette button and picking the color swatch that appeals to you. Then save the design to Memory, and ok to embroider the data:
Here’s where it gets fun. Well, it does if you’re a gadget geek like me! Select your design and Set it, then touch the Edit button to open up its options. Touch the outline key (the flower icon), and make sure to turn the “Inside” on (By the way, this is a brand-new capability, too! So cool!). I then increased the Distance to 0.052″, mainly because I could. Gotta play with the toys!
Save that to Memory, then ok the next message. To use this copied outline (we actually want the inline, in this case), touch the Home key and OK to cancel. Then open My Design Center.
To retrieve and use the inline we just copied, touch the Shapes key, then the Saved Outline icon, and select the one you just created and saved, and OK. You’ll see the outlines we copied a few minutes ago appear on the design screen.
Now touch the bucket fill option, then its Properties key, right below it.
Select the stipple fill and a color; OK it. Then touch the empty middle area of the screen to tell your Luminaire where you want the stipple to fill. Ta da—it’s just like magic!
Touch Next, Set, and OK on the subsequent screens, and you’ll find yourself in Embroidery Edit mode with perfect stippling to fill the… border? Wait – where is it? That’s easy… Touch Add, go to the memory pocket and retrieve your border design and Set it, then advance to the embroidery screen.
Here, we’ll add a basting stitch just like we did yesterday (touch Layout → Baste). Then move the border and baste stitch (the two are automatically grouped on this screen) all the way to the top. I chose to do this using the Move arrows rather than dragging it, because I didn’t want to inadvertently move it off-center. Touch OK to return to the embroidery options.
Now that it’s ready to stitch, hit the green Go button and stitch the baste, then the remaining colors. This will be the main body of the placemat, so the border should be a lovely boundary peeking from behind any dishes later set upon it. Of course, while the embroidery may be finished, we certainly aren’t. But at least take a moment to admire it before continuing!
Remove the fabric from the hoop but keep the basting in place for the time being. Using it as a rough guide, trim the left, top and bottom edges 1¼” from the baste, measuring first to ensure the placemat height is 12½”. Using your favorite fabric marking tool, draw a line 1¼” from the right basted edge. Fold the batting under and out of the way and trim the excess fabric away along your marked line, as shown, then unfold it back out:
Fold one of the two 3½” x 12½” strips in half and press, then place it as pictured along your drawn/cut line, with the folded edge up:
Top the pocket with the second 3½” x 12½” strip (right side down) like this:
Now, stitch through all layers using a ¼” seam allowance. I like to use the “P” stitch 1-30. This stitch is all set up to stitch a perfect ¼” seam allowance, simply by guiding your fabric edge along the outer right edge of the standard “J” presser foot. And to make it even easier, turn on the auto-secure and auto-trim functions. After all, why do manually what the machine can do automatically? Seam the pocket and side panel into place.
Once it’s stitched, press it flat, then fold the pocket and panel towards the right over the batting and press well.
Trim the backing down to 12½” x 18½”, then place it over the main panel, right sides together. Stitch around the perimeter using a ¼” seam allowance, making sure to leave an opening for turning. Again, I really like using the auto secure and auto trim features. When done, remove your basting, clip the corners and turn your placemat right-side-out; press well. Make sure to tuck the seam allowance inside the opening, and then topstitch all around the outer edge.
While it looks like there were a lot of steps in this project, truly the hardest task was making decisions: what fabric to coordinate, what sash design to use, etc. It actually came together very quickly, and I’ll share a secret with you: I used fusible batting for this project, with the fusible towards the back side. That way, once I turned and pressed it, the batting fused to the back panel, adding just a little more body to the placemat while keeping the back flat and perfect. Did you make one along with me? If you did, I’d love to see what fabric, color, and design choices you made!
I hope you’ll join me tomorrow for another adventure with sashing… I have some new inspiration to explore while we tackle yet another new sashing toy on the Brother Luminaire2 Innov-is XP2 (and the Brother Luminaire XP1 Upgrade Kit (Premium Pack II). I saw a project online that I just have to try “my way”, and I think you’ll love it as much as I do!