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Making an in-the-hoop cottagecore heating pad on the Brother Luminaire XP

by Shaelagh Kirkey

What did you think of yesterday’s embroidery hoop decor project? I personally love the possibilities that can be explored with embroidery hoop art. It’s such a simple but perfect canvas for displaying your experiments with different designs, color schemes, technique, etc. But… yesterday was whimsy, today I have an ever-so-practical idea to share with you all, using a toy totally new to me, the Brother Luminaire XP My Design Center!

Brother Luminaire XP

The Brother Luminaire XP

To me, cottagecore means coziness and comfort. Curling up by the fire with a mug of your hot drink of choice—and a cat snoozing on your lap. Sounds lovely, right? Well, with the winters we get here in Canada it just makes sense that we’d need that little extra something to help keep us warm.

One of my university housemates comes from Barbados and has yet to experience our famous frigid winters. To make the cold season here easier on her I decided to dedicate and gift this final project to her, a ‘handmade’ microwavable heat pad. These rice-filled heating pads are made almost completely in-the-hoop, which makes them quick and easy as a last-minute gift.

Now, I’ve made these before on the sewing machine, and struggled with guiding the curves and corners of my chosen designs smoothly. They always ended up looking a little ragged. I’ve always wished for an easier way to get them to look like I imagined them. Now I can! Using My Design Center, I can bring in my own simple outline and turn it into an embroidery design! Check this out!

I chose a moose maple leaf shape because it is fairly rounded, and I hand-drew it on paper. I then traced over it with a marker for nice dark definition so the Luminaire could easily see it. Here it held in place with magnets on the Luminaire scanning board.

A leaf design held to the Brother Luminaire XP scanning board with magnets

A simple line drawing ready to scan

Now I’m going to attach the scanning board to the machine—it goes on just like the hoops do. And into the new playground – My Design Center. That’s a whole world to explore, so we’ll only touch on its capabilities for this project. (I like instant gratification!)

First, I touched the leaf image in the upper corner to scan my drawing. I had to ‘tell’ the Luminaire that I wanted to make a simple Line Design, and then hit the Scan button (and OK).

Screenshots of My Design Center image scan sequence; Brother Luminaire XP

Scanning my shape is as easy as 1-2-3!

Once the scanned image came on screen, I cropped it closely using the red corner arrows to omit the magnets from my design. Then I touched the stitch selector button from the bottom of the screen, so I could choose a triple stitch and a leaf green thread color. After OK’ing my crop and previewing the capture, I clicked Set. So far, pretty easy, right?

 Screenshots showing the tools for cropping, stitch selection and set in My Design Center on the Brother Luminaire XP

Cropping, stitch selection, and set… quick and easy!

I want to enlarge this to about 8” across. Doing this is almost the same as in Embroidery Edit. Simply touch the Size button and grow it as desired—I want mine almost 8” across. So far, it’s still artwork, not stitching yet. So the only limit is hoop size. And then… y’know what I forgot to do? Leave a gap. Gotta have a gap in the stitching to be able to stuff this thing, right? So now I need to erase a section of the line. And look! There’s an Eraser tool, so it’s easy to select that and just ‘rub out’ a section of the line and touch Next.

Screenshots showing My Design Center sizing and erasing tools in the Brother Luminaire XP

You can still size and edit your image!

Now all that’s left to do for this baby is touch Set and stitch it out! How cool is that?

I threaded up with the same thread top and bottom so both sides will look the same, and I hooped a tearaway stabilizer as a carrier (gonna tear that away completely later). Over that I layered some cosy fleece. Because it’s so thick, I also went into the embroidery settings and raised the embroidery foot height to 0.125” so the fabric wouldn’t drag on it and distort. And then… I stitched it. So easy, and look how perfect the curves and corners are:

Hooped fabric stitched in a leaf shape on the Brother Luminaire.

A simple shape stitched exactly as I want it!

After removing it from the hoop and tearing away the stabilizer, I trimmed away the excess fabric with pinking shears. Don’t even need to turn it right-side out. Again I ask, how easy is that??? Now it’s a matter of pouring just the right amount of rice in (that’s subjective, LOL).

A cut out leaf shape with rice in a cup ready to fill; Brother Luminaire XP

Ready to fill with rice

You know, the Luminaire is so accomplished in embroidery mode, it’s easy to forget that it’s a top-notch sewing machine, too! Pop into sewing mode and sew a few quick stitches to close up the gap, and this little warming pillow is done and ready to gift! I like to pop it in the microwave for maybe 2 minutes with a glass of water so it offers soothing moist heat.

So what do you think—you gonna make one? I dare you to stop at just one! In fact, the rest of my housemates haven’t moved in yet, so I think I just might make one for each of them as a little house-warming gift (pun intended!). And just think of other options for this – do you grow lavender? Some dried lavender sprigs added in would be lovely! Or what about making a set of little ones to tuck in your pockets as hand warmers?

I hope you had some fun on this project journey with the Brother Luminaire. I know I made some headway into my Pinterest project to-do list! How many of your Pinterest pins can you accomplish using some of the Luminaire features we’ve played with? With Pinterest, your imagination, and a Brother Luminaire XP, there really are no limits!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Get into ‘cottagecore’ with hoop-framed faux embroidery decor


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