Can you believe how easy it is to insert an invisible zipper? I’ve been avoiding it all these years, and I think I might say goodbye to the zipper flap and use this method instead. The best part is that the Invisible Zipper foot is part of the Bonus Presser Feet package, which comes with the Husqvarna Viking Tribute 150C.
Today, we continue our adventure of making cushion covers, and we’re using the Circular Attachment to make some perfect applique circles. I hear from sewists that they have a hard time making a perfect circle. Well, there’s no excuse if you have a circular attachment. Following a few essential steps, the applique circles are perfect every time.
The first thing we do is attach the circular attachment to the Tribute 150C. Remember, I mentioned the optional extension table; you can see how it supports the circular attachment and your work.
The attachment has two metal prongs that fit into holes on either side of the feed teeth. It’s very secure, and there’s no danger of it coming out. There’s a ruler to the left, which allows us to set the radius of the circle we want to stitch.
OK – we’ll come back to that in a minute. I need to prep my fabric first. I’m using black linen for the remaining two covers, and the linen is flimsy, so I’ll need to stabilize it. Even if the base fabric isn’t light, you should stabilize it. Otherwise, the material will flop around too much, and you won’t have perfect circles.
I used fusible interfacing to back the linen. I roughly cut the linen into 17″ squares, as well as the fusible interfacing.
Then I used my Singer Steam Press to press the fusible in place. Be sure to read the instructions with your fusible product. This interfacing requires steam and would NOT adhere until I used steam, so don’t think your product is old or won’t work – read the instructions! I fused one half and then turned it around and fused the other half. I love the Singer Steam Press – it took mere seconds to firmly adhere the interfacing to the linen, while it would take much longer with an iron.
Then I trimmed the pieces to 16½” using my 20½” square ruler.
The next step was to cut some circles out of scrap paper so I could play with a design, and I used my OLFA Rotary Circle Cutter to cut circles in various sizes. The circle cutter is quick and so easy to use.
It was easy to play around and decide on a design I liked.
Once I had a design I liked, it was time to mark the center point of each circle, and I used my favorite marking tool – a Clover Chaco Liner (white). The registration lines were pretty much gone upon project completion.
To easily mark the centers, I folded the paper circles into four to find the center. Then it was a simple job to fold the paper and mark the center.
And now the three centers are marked.
Let’s go back to the circular attachment before we start. The diameter of the circles I chose is 4″, so I need to set the indicator at the 4″ mark. Use the slider to change the diameter marked in inches and centimeters. The push pin is essential – don’t lose it! You may want to put it back into the opening on the circular attachment when not in use. Use the ribbed section to move the slider instead of the push pin, as the push pin can bend.
The first step in creating an applique circle is to mark a placement line, so we know where to position the applique fabric. Choose a straight stitch (1:01) and the Utility Foot A. I used regular piecing thread in the top and bobbin. Using the Exclusive Sewing Advisor, I selected Woven Medium since I’m using multiple layers of fabric and interfacing, which increased the stitch length to 2.5.
Stick the push pin through the center of the chalk lines and insert it into the opening on the circular attachment.
Now we can start sewing! It’s cool to watch as the fabric rotates around the pin instead of moving forward. It’s a good idea to gently pull the fabric away from the pin without hampering its movement, as this helps to keep the material flat and prevents puckering or buckling.
Stitch around until you have a complete circle. The end of the stitching line should match up exactly where you started.
Because the three circles on this piece are the same size, I’ll do the placement line for all three before I move to the next step.
If unsure of the placement, you can use the push pin to secure the fabric and twirl it around to ensure correct spacing.
And before you know it – you have three perfect circles stitched out.
The next step is to tack down the applique fabric. Cut a square of fabric about ½” larger than your circle. For this step, I used the same stitch (1:01), piecing thread (top and bobbin), and Utility Foot A.
Fold the square into quarters to find the center. Insert the push pin into the center of the fabric square and then through the center hole in one of the circles on the base fabric. The center hole should still be visible from when you stitched the placement line. Insert the push pin into the circular attachment.
Then stitch around the circle as before.
Gently pull the applique fabric away from the push pin to help ensure no tucks or puckers occur.
The end of the seam should match up with the beginning.
Again, since all my circles are the same size, I stitched the applique fabric to each of the three circles.
Now it’s time to get out your Inspira applique scissors and trim off the excess fabric.
There’s no need to use any fusible product on the back of the applique fabric. You can if you want, but be sure not to press the applique until you’ve trimmed the excess away. Then you can press to adhere the applique shape, but it’s tacked in place with the straight stitch, so there’s no need for that step. This is an effortless way to do applique, and the circles are perfect!!!
My preferred stitch to finish the raw edges is the satin stitch, and there are three options on the Tribute 150C. The difference between the three is the starting width – Stitch 1:30 is 2mm, Stitch 1:31 is 4mm, and 1:32 is 6mm. I can use any of them, but I like to pick the preset closest to what I want and then make it wider or narrower (if necessary) depending on the size of my applique shapes. I used the medium satin stitch width of 4mm.
The recommended foot is Utility Foot B, which has a groove on the underside to accommodate the bulk of the satin stitch.
However, I used the Open Toe Foot included in the Bonus Presser Feet box, as it also has a groove on the underside. It’s one of my favorite presser feet, and I use it frequently.
I’m using an 80-weight bobbin thread in the bobbin and a 40-weight machine embroidery thread on the top.
With the stitch width of 4, you can see that when the needle swings to the right, it clears the raw edge of the applique. I can play with the width or the needle position if I need to, but this will work fine. The Tribute 150C has 29 different needle positions!
OH – I forgot to mention that I’m still using the Circular Attachment. I inserted the pin through the hole in the applique shape and the background fabric, and I did not change the circle size.
From time to time, you’ll find a thread that wants to fray. I use my Safety Stiletto to remove the thread or tuck it close to the edge of the applique and stitch over it.
Be careful when rotating the work during any of the three steps. Because my linen with the interfacing is now stiffer, I had to be mindful that it didn’t impede the circular movement of the fabric. Just pay attention, or the fabric will buckle! Fold or roll the excess under the throat space so the project flows freely in a circular motion.
And before you know it, the satin stitch is complete on the circle, and the end lined up perfectly with the beginning. You can use any decorative stitch to do this, but you may end up with the stitches not matching exactly. I always choose a stitch with a short sequence or change up the size of the stitch as you get close, making it longer or shorter to fill in the gap. I like simplicity, and the satin stitch is perfect every time! But give it a try – many stitches will work!
So, I went ahead and completed all three circles. I didn’t time myself, but getting those three perfectly applique circles didn’t take long. Because they were all the same diameter, I stitched all the placement stitches first, then the tacking stitches, and finally the applique stitches.
Even the back is as nice as the front! Minus the colored fabric, of course! It helps to bring up your bobbin thread when you start to stitch, eliminating the thread nests on the back of the work.
Well, since I’m using solid black linen and an invisible zipper, guess what? I have a blank slate on the other side of the cushion cover, so why not make a second design?
I followed the same design process and settled on three overlapping circles of different sizes, which took a bit more time to mark and stitch.
Here are some tips for overlapping circles and different-sized circles
- Do one circle at a time. Start with the placement stitch, then the tacking stitch, trim the excess fabric, and finish the raw edge. Be careful to change threads, presser foot, and stitch selection when appropriate. You may want to write the steps on paper, so you don’t get confused.
- Change the setting on the circular attachment when you move to a new circle with a different size.
- Mark where the overlap will be, so you don’t have to finish the raw edge on that part. Again, I like my white Chaco Liner to mark with, and the chalk is usually gone by the time the stitching is complete.
- If you’re working with a multi-colored fabric, you may want to increase the density of the satin stitch. The default is .0.8, and I’ll sometimes go to 0.6. Do not go too dense, or there’s a danger of your thread jamming.
You can see the difference in this photo. The satin stitch density around the black/red fabric is 0.8, and you can see a bit of red poking between the black satin stitching. However, the red satin stitch is much denser at 0.6. I should’ve done that for the black satin stitch, but you get the idea. Obviously, the denser the satin stitch, the more thread it uses and the longer it takes to stitch out.
Here’s my bonus cushion cover!
All that remains is to trim off the corners, insert the invisible zipper and sew the two sides together, just like we did yesterday! That won’t take long at all!
Oh my — It’s so exciting and easy to get perfect applique circles. I thought I might need a fancy sewing machine to do that, but all I need is the circular attachment and creativity!! I love the covers!
Well, if you think that is all the Circular Attachment can do – think again! I’ll be back tomorrow with the Husqvarna Viking Tribute 150C and the circular attachment to decorate the third cushion cover, and I’ve got something very different to show you. Be sure to stop by!
Have a super day!
This is part 3 of 5 in this series
Go back to part 2: Inserting an invisible zipper on a cushion cover [tutorial]