I’m excited to be back with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50. This week we’re going to take a look at machine embroidery. Yes, the Designer Topaz 50 is also an embroidery machine. I’ve had access to an embroidery sewing machine for many years. While I don’t use the embroidery unit on a regular basis, I wouldn’t be without it. It’s nice knowing you have the ability to do machine embroidery when there’s a need. Surprisingly over the years, there’s been a need on many occasions. It’s also exciting to see how much easier it is to do machine embroidery than when I acquired my first embroidery machine.
There are so many different styles and options for machine embroidery. I’ve chosen a couple of designs in different embroidery styles. I’ve got some great tips for machine embroidery as well and on the last day, I’ll show you how I incorporated these designs into several projects.
Let’s get started!
The embroidery unit comes in a separate box which makes it easy to store when you’re not using it. This is one box you don’t want to throw away.
In the photo below, you can see the embroidery unit in the box and underneath the unit are two different sized hoops which you’ll see when we get to stitching out the designs.
The Designer Topaz 50 comes with over 150 built-in designs, as well as two embroidery fonts in three different sizes for each font. The built-in designs include a wide variety of embroidery techniques and styles. There’s regular embroidery designs, cutwork, reversed applique and applique, lace insertion and a few others. There’s also a new one to me called Thread Velvet. Sounds intriguing.
A picture of all the designs and all the information necessary for stitching the designs are included in the Sampler book that comes with the Designer Topaz 50.
I flipped through the Sampler book several times to find a design that I liked. There are so many to choose from, it was hard to decide which one to stitch first. The one I chose isn’t really my style, but I chose the design because it’s very pretty, and I could immediately visualize it in a project.
Each of the designs in the Sampler book provides you with the size of the finished stitch-out, the colors of thread used, the number of stitches, etc.
There are two hoops included with the Designer Topaz 50. Depending on your age, if I said one hoop size was 360 x 200, you could visualize that in millimeters! I’m old-school so that size means nothing to me. I just know it’s a big one! The second hoop is smaller at 120 x 120 millimeters.
There are a number of different hoops that you can purchase. Different sizes and different hooping methods. You can enter each of your hoops into a menu in the Designer Topaz 50. So as you purchase additional hoops (and you will!), it’s important that you enter the hoops into the sewing machine. Then when choosing a new design, the Designer Topaz 50 will select the one that is most appropriate for the selected design. No thinking required!
You can override the chosen hoop if you need to. You can always choose a larger hoop than is required, but for obvious reasons, you can’t choose a smaller hoop than the design. The sewing machine won’t start to stitch until you have an appropriately sized hoop attached to the embroidery unit.
You should try to match the size of the design to the size of the hoop. While you could use the large hoop for a small design, you’ll have to use a larger piece of stabilizer and a larger piece of fabric to fill the hoop.
Hooping the fabric
The design that I chose was large and required the 360 x 200 hoop. Yes after a while, the hoop sizes sink in, but I still can’t visualize the hoop size by the numbers.
I decided to go with the colors (or similar colors) that were shown in the book and I found a nice yellow print to use for the background.
You do need to use a stabilizer when doing machine embroidery. So when I hooped my fabric, I also hooped one layer of stabilizer under my fabric. I used Fast & Easy Tear Away Light by Inspira.
The quick-release lever on the bottom right of all the hoops, makes it an easy process to get even tension on all sides of the hoop.
Tips for choosing thread colors
The thread colors required for the design are listed in the Sampler book along with the picture of the embroidery. The color numbers for two different thread brands are listed for each design, so if you happen to have that brand of thread and those colors, you’re good.
There’s also a little box showing the thread color. Over the years, I’ve collected a “few” spools of different thread colors and so I usually go by the little box depicting the thread color as I don’t always have the same brand or the specific number that’s listed. The important thing to look at is the values. If you need a dark, medium and light, that’s probably more important than getting the exact thread colors.
In this case, I needed three different shades of purple and three different greens. It was a bit tricky at first but then I realized that the same color is used more than once. Something to watch for.
I like to lay the threads out on my fabric to see if I’m going to like the overall visual look of the threads on the background. Do I like the look? Is it visually appealing? Do the thread colors appear to go together? If something appears out of whack, now is the time to change it before you start stitching.
You’ll notice in these photos that there are small clips all around the edge of that large hoop. The clips help to hold the two parts of the hoop together (this is a very large hoop) and keep an even tension on the hooped fabric. They’re easy to apply and easy to take off if you remember to pull them out straight. Don’t twist those clips or they won’t come out easily.
Some people think that machine embroidery means popping in a design, threading the sewing machine, pressing start and then walking away. If only it worked like that.
While you don’t need to sit and stare at the sewing machine stitching out the design, you do have to be close by to change the thread colors. And yes there are those occasions when something goes wrong and you should be nearby. I listen to the sewing machine and I can usually hear when something isn’t right. This doesn’t happen often, but it can happen.
I like to putter in my studio when doing machine embroidery. And yes, there are times when I just sit and watch the machine stitch. That’s on the days when my brain just needs a break.
I have my own Husqvarna Viking embroidery machine and I thought I might as well babysit two machines as babysit one! So I fired up my Husqvarna Viking Designer Ruby deLuxe and I had both machines going at once. If you have two machines, why not. So if you’ll excuse the mess, here are both machines happily embroidering away.
I positioned the two machines so I had easy access to both. My instructions and threads for both designs were between the two machines. There was plenty of room for those embroidery arms to move without getting obstructed (and potentially damaged). I got two designs done at the same time. Not only that, but I was busy cutting and prepping another project. A very productive evening.
Depending on the type of embroidery, the number of stitches and what I’m going to make, I might make a practice stitch out. This is a good idea if you’re not certain of your thread colors or the type of embroidery or the background color. If the design has a lot of stitches or is part of a series and I’m comfortable, then I won’t do a practice stitch-out. I don’t have a hard rule of thumb on this.
But I was very excited as I saw that flower being stitched. I’m not into floral designs, however, my thread color choices were bang on and I actually got excited when I started to see the results.
Here’s the final stitch out. I’m really happy with it. The thread colors and the background fabric really work well together.
I carefully removed those clips without twisting them and unhooped my fabric. I’ll be making something out of this design and I’ll show you at the end of the week what I made.
Machine embroidery is very simple. The basic steps are to put the embroidery unit on the sewing machine, move into embroidery mode on the interactive touch screen, select a design (super simple whether the design is built-in or on a USB stick), select the threads and fabric, hoop the fabric and stabilizer, thread the machine and hit START. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
I have more great tips to share with you as I work through several different styles of machine embroidery from the built-in designs on the Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz 50. Be sure to join me tomorrow to see what new applique style I’ll be working on.
On a different note: There’s a new app called QuickDesign for the Husqvarna Viking Designer EPIC that I reviewed a while back. Although this video about the new app QuickDesign is in Swedish, you might still want to see how amazing the app is.
Have a great day!
This is part 1 of 5 in this series.