Overcoming sewing challenges during a pandemic

Welcome to QUILTsocial. We’re in the middle of a lockdown, which means more time for sewing and embroidery. This week, I’ll explore the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85™, a sewing and embroidery machine. I previously reviewed this gorgeous machine in my posts from January 2021, beginning with Unboxing the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85. Follow the links in the post to read the other posts, and to get more brilliant sewing ideas.

Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

I’m excited this week as I have a ‘client’ who wants me to make something. The client happens to be my daughter. She contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked about some cushions for her balcony. She’s learning to sew, so I wasn’t sure if she was asking me to make them or wanted some help in acquiring the fabrics so she could make them. Well, read on to find out what happened!

I offered to do some embroidery on the cushions, and I wanted to see what other techniques I could use on the Designer Sapphire 85 to dress up the cushion covers.

Now, the issue was to gather the necessary materials. Since we’re currently in a lockdown, getting some of the supplies was a bit of a challenge. Let’s look at what I found.

We needed some fabric, as I didn’t have anything in my stash that would work. I sent a website link to my daughter, and we shopped online at a store where I could do curbside pickup.

She chose green as her main color, and we picked a solid fabric so the embroidery I planned to do would show up nicely. We also chose a coordinating print to add some variety. She wanted five cushions, so I purchased four yards of the solid and two yards of the print fabric. Both fabrics are 54″ wide, so I knew I would have plenty to play with, in the event of any mishaps. (Not that that ever happens!)

The outdoor fabrics we chose for the cushion covers

I also needed cushion forms. I managed to find those online at another store that also offered curbside pickup. I was able to get a combination of 20″ and 22″ cushion forms. I was hoping for a smaller size, but I took what was available.

Five cushion forms in 20″ and 22″ sizes

Next up: zippers. That was a challenge, and I couldn’t find them online in the colors I wanted. Now what? I could make the covers envelope style without zippers, but I prefer zippers in my cushions. So, I went shopping at Chez Elaine (aka – my stash room). I found zippers. I have a lot of zippers. I didn’t get all the colors I wanted, but I hid them in a seam in the back and made do. Some of them were too long, but I’ll show you how I remedied that, too. If nothing else, this pandemic has taught me to be less demanding – I go with what I have and make it work.

Zipper choices in three different colors

Fortunately, I had a 5,000-yard spool of decorative thread in the color I needed and lots of pre-wound bobbins. I used a 40wt thread (the industry standard for machine embroidery) for the top and pre-wound bobbins in the bobbin.

40wt thread for the top and my pre-wound bobbin

I also needed some stabilizer, and yes, I happened to have it on-hand as well. The beauty of being a quilter/machine embroiderer is that I have all the basic supplies on hand! I used the Inspira Tear-A-Way stabilizer. The outdoor fabric is a woven fabric, and the Tear-A-Way worked perfectly with it.

Inspira Tear-A-Way Stabilizer

Lastly, I needed an embroidery needle. Always use the correct type of needle for machine embroidery. You can choose to use an Embroidery needle or an Embroidery Titanium needle, which lasts longer. I haven’t tested how much longer the needles last, but those Titanium needles will be just the thing you need if you have a big job. It would be terrible to get a snag in your project because you’re using a dull needle. I’m using the Husqvarna Viking branded needles.

Embroidery and Embroidery Titanium needles

My cushion forms were large, so I wanted big, bold designs embroidered on them. The Designer Sapphire 85 comes with three different hoops: The Designer Royal Hoop (360 x 200), the Designer Crown Hoop (260 x 200), and the Designer Splendid Square Hoop (120 x 120).

Three different hoop sizes come with the Designer Sapphire 85

I could have used the Designer Royal Hoop (360 x 200) and hoop the project twice, but I decided to use the optional Designer Majestic hoop. At 360 x 350, it’s the largest turnable hoop on the market, and guess what? I can use it on the Designer Sapphire 85. Wow! I’ll have fun with the hooping process tomorrow.

Designer Majestic Hoop

See how much larger the Designer Majestic hoop is than the Designer Royal Hoop? It’s twice the size. Hey – I’m lazy, I mean efficient, embroiderer. The fewer times I must hoop my fabric, the better.

The Designer Majestic hoop is twice the size of the Designer Royal Hoop

Choosing a design for the cushion covers was easy. My daughter and I went window shopping in the mySewnet Library of embroidery designs, a subscription-based library of machine embroidery designs. I won’t go into the details, but the subscription includes access to two different levels of the mySewnet embroidery software. We found some large motifs that, when put together, created some beautiful and large flowers. Perfect. If you have access to the mySewnet library, the files we used are called Applique Garden.

As we browsed the mySewnet library, I saved the designs we liked to My Favorites, so it was easy to go back and find the appropriate ones—no need to write anything down.

Accessing the mySewnet library of machine embroidery designs

I love being able to create my own designs using the mySewnet library. I created the flower by using four of the same large flower petals. I don’t think it’s supposed to go together like that, but who else will know that except me? I also love that no one will have the same design. This design is my own unique creation.

The flower was intended as an applique, but I used it as an outline only. I assembled the flower in the mySewnet embroidery software, which is so easy to use. I don’t know why I ever thought using embroidery software was complicated. The more I design with it, the more I want to design, and I could spend the entire day creating stuff to stitch out!

The flower created from four petals

We have all the tools and supplies assembled, and tomorrow I’ll go through hooping the design and getting the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire™ 85 set up and ready to stitch.

Thanks for joining me today, and I look forward to sharing tomorrow’s post with you! I’m so excited to be working on this project, and I can’t wait to show you how it turns out. I’m keeping my ‘client’ in the loop through the process, and she’s excited too!

Have a great day!


This is part 1 of 5 in this series

Go to part 2: The importance of making a sample embroidery stitch-out

Related posts

How to apply perfect piping to machine embroidered patio cushions

Easy zipper insertion and tips for outstanding cushion covers

Creating beautiful cutwork designs on the Designer Sapphire 85