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Quilting is fun with decorative stitches!

by Elaine Theriault

I love the flexibility of the Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine. There are so many options for the stitches and techniques that I can pretty much do anything I want. Chain piecing is easy and, as we saw yesterday, piecing seams with anchored ends is a breeze.

A white sewing machine with turquoise and black accents. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Husqvarna Viking Opal 670

Today, I’ll start with a small project, and use some of the decorative stitches in a variety of ways.

I’m making a small accent cushion in time for Valentine’s Day and will use the decorative stitches to finish off the edges of the raw edge applique. I’ll also use a decorative stitch as my quilting stitch and the best part is, it’s super easy to do with the Opal 670.

Pick any size pillow form (mine is a 12” pillow form) and ensure you have enough fabric and a long enough zipper.

materials

fabric

  • two different scraps fabric for the hearts – (pink)
  • background fabric – (white)
  • Inspira Fusible Fleece Specialty Stabilizer

thread

  • white thread for the quilting
  • decorative thread to match the appliques
  • white bobbin thread

other

Supplies to construct a cushion cover inlude pink and white fabric, two spools of pink thread, a roll of bobbins filled with white bobbin thread, and a white zipper. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Supplies needed to construct the decorative cushion cover

You’ll find the PDF with the heart shapes at the end of this blog post, or use your own favorite heart pattern or find one on the internet.

Heart-shaped outlines in black on white paper. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Fusible web and heart templates

I could put my applique directly onto the front of my cushion cover, but I wanted to give it some added dimension, so I’ve decided to quilt the applique background first.

Cut a piece of the white fabric roughly 11” square and cut a piece of fusible fleece the same size. No need to get too precise at this point, as we’ll trim it up once we’re done with the quilting.

One side of the fusible fleece feels pebbly, which is the glue side. Place that side on the wrong side of the fabric and fuse in place. Make sure the fusible fleece is well adhered.

White fabric folded over to reveal white fusible fleece beneath. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Preparing to fuse the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the background fabric

Let’s chat about presser feet for a minute. The Opal 670 comes with two commonly used presser feet – Utility Foot A and Utility Foot B.

Two metal presser feet for a sewing machine. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Utility Foot A and Utility Foot B

Why two utility feet? Check out the back of them – they are very different. You’ll see Utility Foot B has a channel on the underside, which is very important to successful decorative stitching. It’s very common to use a thicker thread for decorative stitching, and thicker thread can create some thickness to the line of stitching. Without the channel, your project could get jammed under the Utility Foot A because there’s no room for the decorative stitching to freely pass under the presser foot.

So, when doing decorative stitching, use the Utility Foot B.

The underside of two metal presser feet for the sewing machine, one with a flat surface and one with a channel cut out of the center. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

The underside of Utility Foot A and Utility Foot B

There’s a great variety of decorative stitches on the Opal 670 and since they are all outlined in the flip-up lid of the sewing machine, it’s easy to peruse them to find a stitch. I decided to use a basic wave stitch for the quilting. It’s a nice stitch and it stitches out fast. However, you could choose a more intricate stitch – there are loads to choose from.

It’s very important to understand the information on your touch screen. I’ve selected Woven Medium as my fabric, as I’ve only got one layer of quilting cotton and one layer of fusible fleece, which isn’t thick. Based on the information I’ve entered, the Opal 670 gives me the appropriate settings including tension for this stitch.

Notice the stitch length is long at 41.8. In this instance, this is not the actual stitch length, but the length of the stitch sequence in millimeters (mm) and the width is 7mm. You can use the Plus and Minus buttons below to adjust the length and width, but keep in mind the Opal 670 is a 7mm sewing machine, so the maximum width for this stitch is 7mm, which is actually very wide.

I also see the recommended presser foot – Utility Foot B. The Opal 670 also recommends using stabilizer for this stitch and in this case, my fusible fleece will act as the stabilizer. The speed level is indicated, the tension, and the needle size. It’s critical to understand all this information, as it takes a lot of the guess work out of what you’re sewing.

You also get to see a picture of what the stitch will look like. I’m using the default settings for this stitch. However, if I decide to play around with the width and length and find something that suits my project better and I decide I want to keep the new stitch, I can easily save the file into one of the eight stitch memory slots. Awesome!

A touch screen on a computerized sewing machine showing stitch information. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

The touch screen with oodles of important information

It’s always a good idea to do a sample stitch out. You do this for several reasons, and the first one is to make sure you like the stitch. Yes, I know we can see the stitch on the screen, but I’m a visual person and I need to see the stitch on the fabric. Is it wide enough, too curvy, not long enough? You also get to check your needle and thread combination – is everything working as it should? I want to point out that on this stitch-out, I did not add stabilizer or fusible fleece behind my fabric and look how wavy it got on a very short length of stitching – another good reason to do a stitch out, as it shows me how unprofessional the stitch looks, and therefore I’d better stabilize those stitches with something.

A line of wavy machine stitching using white thread on white fabric. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

The stitch-out of the chosen decorative stitch

My goal for the quilting is to create a grid of wavy lines. This is so easy to do and requires one line to be marked on the background. Whenever marking your fabric, ensure the marks can be removed. I have limited tools at my disposal as I work on this project, and I improvised by using a tracing wheel without carbon paper. It created a slight crease in the fabric, but it was enough to show me where to stitch. The best part was there were no marks to be removed when I was done.

Here’s a tricky thing about using decorative stitches. If you’ve been playing around and doing your stitch-out, the stitch sequence may not be at the beginning when you start your real work. So, touch the Scissor (thread cutter) function on the function panel. This will restart the stitch at the beginning of the stitch sequence.

Because the ends of my seams will be trimmed off when I trim the background, there’s no need to use the Fix function for this part, but it’s imperative to use the Scissor function at the end of every seam. Note the Scissor function light is activated only when the scissors are cutting.

A row of function buttons on a computerized sewing machine. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

The Fix and Scissor functions are activated

I don’t want or need to mark each line of stitching. After the first one is marked, I used the optional Edge/Quilting Guide to get evenly spaced lines without marking. It’s a metal bar that attaches to the presser foot ankle behind the needle. Position the guide as far away from the needle as you want your lines of stitching to be. In my case, I used a ruler to roughly measure the distance between two waves and set the guide 1¼” away from the needle.

It’s not a perfect science when working with a wavy line, but you can get it centered pretty darn close.

White fabric under a metal presser foot and quilting guide on a sewing machine. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Using the Edge/Quilting guide to create parallel lines of stitching

Since you want those wavy lines to be parallel to each other, it’s very important to always start at the beginning of the stitch sequence. That’s achieved by ending each row using the Scissor function.

The second important thing is to always start the lines of decorative stitching in the same spot at the edge of the fabric. I eyeballed this and my lines weren’t perfect so if you want perfect, you can also mark a start line along the edge of the fabric for more precision.

And here’s the first round of wavy stitches.

Rows of wavy lines of decorative machine stitches in white thread on white fabric. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Rows of wavy decorative stitches used as quilting

I wanted a grid pattern, so I rotated the background for the cushion cover and stitched another set of lines in the opposite direction. I’m using the same Edge/Quilting guide as I had previously used. It depends on where you start your lines of stitching – I usually start my lines of decorative stitching in the center and work out. This means I can use the right edge guide for half the lines, but it won’t work on the other side. So, you can start your lines on one edge of the fabric and work always to the right, or you can use the left edge guide to move from the center to the left.

White fabric with wavy machine stitches under a metal presser foot and a quilting guide on a sewing machine. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Creating a grid pattern with the lines of decorative stitching

Using the decorative stitches to create patterns is a super way to brighten up a plain piece of fabric or to be used for quilting. I’m not going through a backing fabric in this instance, so it really wouldn’t matter which stitch I’m using. But if you’re quilting through all three layers of a quilt, you want to test three layers as part of your stitch-out to see if you like the backing, and which thread color to choose, etc. Lots of things to think about and each scenario is different. Just remember – you are in control and can use anything, and the flexibility of the settings on the Opal 670 means you can do just about anything you want.

I love doing grids on the diagonal, but it’s a bit more challenging if you’re trying to match up wavy lines. It can be done – it just takes a bit more fiddling. Experiment and see what neat patterns you can create. Using the decorative stitches and contrasting thread means you can create some amazing covers for zippered pouches, quilting on placemats and even quilting on large projects!

The next step is to prepare the applique shapes; see the link in the material list at the top of this post. We won’t trim the fabric until all the applique is done, as the applique process can sometimes shrink up the base fabric.

I traced the hearts onto the fusible web. I chose to do a big and small heart, but you can do whatever you want – it’s your cushion cover.

Rough cut the shapes out of the fusible web and, following the instructions on the packaging, fuse them to the wrong side of your applique fabric. I used a piece of parchment paper over my shape to protect the iron from the fusible.

A heart shape cutout on paper on top of pink fabric is partially covered with brown parchment paper. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

Using parchment paper to protect the iron from errant fusible web

Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the applique shapes out on the traced lines.

A black outline of a heart on white paper on top of pink fabric. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

The traced shape is now fused to the applique fabric.

Position your hearts on the background fabric in a pleasing arrangement. Note in this picture the hearts are sitting on the background before I quilted it. Be sure to quilt the background first. Why? It’s much easier to do those grid lines very quickly without stopping and starting around the applique shape.

Two pink fabric hearts on white fabric. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

The applique hearts and the unquilted background

Here are my two heart shapes fused to the quilted background. I decided to put them on top of each other, but you can use only big ones, or only small ones or one or multiple hearts. It’s your cushion – go wild.

Two pinks fabric hearts on white fabric. Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 computerized sewing machine

The hearts fused to the quilted background

And there you have it. The applique is now ready to be stitched, which I’ll do tomorrow. And I’ll also put the zipper in and sew the cushion cover together.

It’s been so easy to work with the Husqvarna Viking Opal 670. I’m so excited about this sewing machine and I hope you’ve all had a chance to dig yours out or at least pop to the dealer to check it out. I’m at a sewing retreat and this is the only sewing machine I brought! It’s been a real pleasure to sew and quilt on it and I’m not done. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see how it performs with applique.

Have a great day!!

Ciao!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: Why are you so afraid of Y-seams in your quilt designs?

Go to part 4: Raw edge applique – it’s all in the way you move

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