I think I’m hexed! Hooked, I mean—hooked…hooked on hexies, that is! Oh, not your itty-bitty, best-sewn-by-hand hexagons, but great big ones that just beg for embroidery.
When I started playing with all the sashed borders in the Brother Luminaire XP1 Upgrade Kit (Premium Pack II) (and, of course, already included in the Brother Luminaire2 Innov-is XP2), I couldn’t believe just how easy they were to perfect! The 2-color rectangular one I stitched in the Luminaire’s great big hoop yesterday has already garnered admiration from my studio guests, and I’m excited to get playing with the newly added hexagon-shaped sashed borders.
Follow along with me as I combine an internet-inspired project with this multi-hooped hexagon sashed border pattern and turn it into a beautiful trinket dish… a pretty little home décor item I think I’ll color-theme for the holidays. Another stash-buster project that’s perfect to display or gift away!
As usual, let’s start with a supply list:
- (1) 20″ square of lightweight cutaway
- (1) 15″ square of quilt batting
- (2) 15″ squares of coordinating cotton fabric
- 2 coordinating embroidery threads
In addition to the new sashing features, Brother added some other goodies to this release. In particular, I’m referring to the new background fills. I wanted an excuse to play with them, and I thought that quilting the base of this dish would be just the right place to sample one. So, let’s head into My Design Center to start playing.
We’ll begin by creating the quilted hexagonal base, so choose Shapes, tool, select the hexagon, and click OK.
Touch the Size key, and then use proportionate enlarging to bring the height measurement to 7.50″, then OK again.
Now select the bucket fill, then open fill properties, and select a color, the background pattern option, and touch Select:
Pick a background fill that appeals to you (as you can see, I chose 038), then touch OK, and OK again. This will bring you back to the design area, where you’ll click in the middle of the hexagon to set your fill. Touch Next.
Now we can set stitch preferences. I’ll reduce my pattern size to 75%. I don’t want that satin stitch outline, so I’ll touch the Select arrow up top to cycle to the next object (the outline) and touch the zigzag beside it to open the Outline Properties options.
Next, to select a color and triple stitch and then click all the way through to Embroidery.
Let’s get some fabric hooped and into the machine—I can’t wait to see how this stitches out!
Over the stabilizer, smack-dab in the middle, layer the batting and the fabric, and hoop them together in the 9½” hoop. Set that on your machine, thread up and go! Mine’s a little hard to see in the picture below, because for this part I wanted tone-on-tone subtlety, but look – isn’t it pretty?
Now to prepare the promised hexagon sashing embroidery: Touch Home and OK to exit this design and return to the pattern selection menu. From there, you know the drill: click on the Sashed Borders menu (Menu Q), this time on the last tab – Hexagon borders – choose your design and Set it.
I’d like this border to embroider slightly beyond the already-stitched outline, so I drew guidelines ⅛” beyond the outline to use as my guide. Un-hoop your fabric to do yours, but don’t let the thought scare you—we need to rehoop before stitching the next segments anyway, and the Luminaire will tell us exactly how…
Because I did that, I need to make the inner hexagon height for this border ¼” larger. Enter 7.75″ for the height, and we’ll use 2.00″ for the border pattern width. Don’t forget to specify the 9½” x 9½” hoop, too, near the bottom left, before hitting Next. And… same as yesterday, I’ll use the triple stitch and set my color choice before hitting Memory.
From the machine’s memory pocket, select your hexagon border. Since we want to use automatic connection, select the first pattern (the full 12-piece hexagon) and Set it.
Now, believe it or not, it just gets easier! All you have to do is follow the prompts on screen. First, it tells you how to hoop—just do what it says (it really does know what it’s asking!), and make sure you have hooped it so the vertical lines are straight up and down. You can see I did as instructed (a rarity, I assure you). If you’re following along with me, make sure you leave enough room at the top and right sides for the design width. The next screen tells us what to line up with what. But what does it mean?
Well, touch OK and oh, look! The promised move pattern (arrow) keys to move the design into place are right there—and the design segment is projected with a reference mark to make positioning it even easier! Drag and drop the design close to where it needs to be, and then, using the arrow keys, fine-tune it as needed to line up the design’s inner corner with the marked outer corner.
Once that’s in place, go ahead and stitch it. I know I held my breath when it began, but as it started to take shape, I sorta giggled. It was lined up perfectly! I love it when a plan comes together! (And for the record, that was a delighted tee-hee kinda giggle, not the mwah-ha-ha evil-villain-gonna-take-over-the-world kind. Just sayin’.) With that segment finished, touch OK to continue, and review the next set of instructions before hitting OK on that, too.
Use the fine-tuning angle keys on-screen to make sure your crosshair reference point matches the next corner point. If need be, just below them are buttons to shorten or lengthen the segment to make sure it fits perfectly. Once you’re lined up, go head and stitch it. Does yours look like mine? I’m so excited that this is bang-on my marked guideline!
From here on, it’s pretty repetitive (that translates to easy—after all, you’ve already worked your way through the sequence. Now you just keep doing it over and over). Of course, we want to connect the next pattern, so OK that screen and then keep doing what you just did: rehoop, follow the prompts to match up each new segment with the previous one. The next one wants you to match up to the connection point. Continue doing each step, right up to the last segment, where it wants you to match up the end point with the start point of the very first segment. By the way – your machine ‘knows’ (don’t ask—it just knows) what hoop you’re using, how much space it needs, and if your design will fit. It’ll only ask you to re-hoop when you need to. It’s all part of the magic!
I can’t believe it! Okay, yes, I can, but I’m so thrilled that this stitched out and matched up so perfectly! Truly! This was six hoopings, and I double-dog-dare you to find the joins! Oh, I just need to admire this for a moment before cutting and assembling the trinket dish…
Okay, enough admiring, or this will end up as another project I’m loathing to cut into ‘cause it’s so pretty as is! If you haven’t already un-hooped it, do so and give it a good pressing. Then, back it with your backing fabric, wrong sides together. Draw another boundary line ½” from the outer edge of the border stitching.
Cut along your drawn line, then move the backing piece to the top, so your pieces are right sides together. Stitch all the way around with a ¼” seam allowance, leaving about a 2″ opening for turning. Clip your corners and turn, then tuck the opening’s seam allowances under and press well.
Topstitch about ⅛” from outside edge all around to close.
You can stop here if you like, as it makes a gorgeous table mat just the way it is. But I want to take it a step further: Fold the corners together and clip them in place.
You can take a few hand stitches to tack the corners together, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m a true gadget girl, and I won’t hand-stitch anything if I can machine-stitch it! So, I used the button-sewing program (it’s stitch #4-23) to securely stitch each corner closed, and then I drew the thread tails between the fabric layers to hide them.
And here it is, all stitched and staged, and I have to say, I’m really pleased with it! I loved the project when I saw it on the internet, and because it came together so well, I think I love it even more now! I just might have to make a few of them, just to try out the different background fills and border stitches.
Of course, now that I think about it, the rectangles and square border shapes would make lovely dishes, too (uh-oh… what am I getting myself into!). But… before I play with more of these, I have a new idea that I want to explore tomorrow, so I invite you to return then to see what other tricks I have up my sleeve as I explore some of the new features on the Brother Luminaire XP1 Upgrade Kit (Premium Pack II) (and, of course, the Brother Luminaire2 Innov-is XP2). Until tomorrow… happy sewing!