Planning ahead for successful decorative stitching using the Brother NQ700

Yesterday, I showed you how to use the Brother Innov-is NQ700 machine to sew strips together to make a crazy quilt style top which you can use for a Christmas picture quilt. Today, we’ll be adding some decorative stitching.

Pop-Out Picture quilt top ready for decorative stitching

There are over 100 decorative stitches on the Brother NQ700 machine and most of them can be made wider and/or longer to create even more stitches! Once you choose a stitch, you just press the + or key to adjust the settings. Itʼs a good idea to stitch out a few samples before working on your real project. To practice, choose the same type of fabric and stabilizer that you’ll be using in your finished project.

This is also a good chance to use some of those decorative threads that you probably have on hand. I used Sulky threads in variegated colors.

Sulky Blendables thread

Itʼs also very important to use the right needle when using specialty threads for decorative stitching – a top-stitch or embroidery needle works best. The label on the Sulky thread tells you to use a 90/100 topstitch needle.

Sulky Blendables thread and machine embroidery needles

Choosing the correct foot for decorative stitching is also important. My favorite is the open-toe foot that comes with the Brother NQ700 machine. There are other feet that work well too. The important thing to look for is the groove on the underside of the foot. Especially when using heavier threads, this feature allows the stiches to feed under the foot smoothly and not bunch up.

N foot and open toe foot on the left and J foot on the right

Here’s a sample that I did using just 3 decorative stitches and adjusting the width and length of each stitch to get different effects. I even remembered to write down the settings for each stitch so I can use it for future reference.

Decorative stitches with adjusted widths and lengths

The red sample uses a combination of decorative and straight stitching.

Decorative stitches and combinations of stitches

For my little Christmas picture quilt, I decided to use a feather stitch with a variegated Sulky cotton thread on all the seams. The design was quite busy with all those fabrics, so using a variety of stitches wasn’t necessary.

Feather stitch shown on the LCD screen of the Brother NQ700

After the stitching is done, you can trim away the extra stabilizer from the stitching on the back, or leave it in place.

Excess stabilizer can be trimmed away or left in place

Layer the quilt top, batting and backing. Pin or baste the layers in place.

Attach the walking foot to the Brother NQ700 and you’re ready to quilt as desired. I used a straight stitch and light-weight thread in a color that matched the feather stitching and stitched on all the seam lines.

Quilt along the seam lines or as desired

Trim the excess fabric using the drawn lines as a guide. These lines were drawn 3” from the outside edge of the green frame fabric. You may have to re-adjust the lines if the fabric shifted during sewing.

Squared up quilt top

Now itʼs time for some hanging pockets and the binding.

For this little quilt, I used 3″ to 5″ squares of fabric that were folded in half to make triangles. I basted the triangles on 3 corners of the backing. When the binding is hand-stitched in place, the raw edges of the triangles will be covered. Using 3 triangles means you can use a photo in either portrait or landscape orientation.

Folded 5″ squares to make triangles

Hanging pockets basted on 3 corners

I cut my binding 3″ wide and sew it on with a ½” seam to give me a ½” finished size binding. There is a tutorial on my binding method on this previous QUILTsocial blog: Change up the way you make your quilt binding. Make sure you use the even-feed foot on the Brother NQ700 when sewing on binding.

Now that the binding is finished, you can insert a 4″ x 6″ photo in the picture pocket. Won’t this make a great gift for someone special? And the best part is, you can change the picture whenever you like!

The paper photo inserted into the picture pocket

Finished Pop-Out Picture quilt with portrait-oriented photo

Finished Pop-Out Picture quilt with landscape-oriented photo

I hope you join me again tomorrow to see how I use the Brother NQ700 machine to up-cycle some old shirts to make some quick Christmas items.

This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: Sewing the front of the Pop-Out Picture quilt an ‘angle’ at a time

Go to part 4: Upcycling a shirt to make a gift card holder – smart and reusable!

Related posts

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In quilting, using a twin needle IS double the fun [tutorial]

Making the most of decorative stitches for making applique mittens