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Stippling options built-in the quilt expression 720 make creativity soar

by Sarah Vanderburgh

Are we having fun yet? Adding stitches to the quilted tote bag is like adding decorative touches to a special cake – it’s hard not to add all of the desired elements! In yesterday’s post, I completed the front of the quilted tote bag adding lots of spectacular built-in stitches from the PFAFF quilt expression 720. Today there’s a little more piecing to construct the back panel and then a few more stitches to add before quilting the bag panels.

Back panel of quilted tote bag

Back panel construction


from background print

  • two 5 x 17½″ strips

from purple batik

  • one 3½″ x 12½″strips
  • three 2½″ x 12½″ strips

from gray

  • three 4½″ squares

from light purple

  • three 4½″ squares

from stabilizer cut three 4½″ squares

Add decorative stitches to gray

For the back panel I decided to play with a few more decorative stitches and added them on the diagonal to the three gray squares. I tried out several sample stitches before I made my final selections and you might want to do that as well – you have enough gray fabric and stabilizer that you can cut out a few more to practice on.

I used the Sequencing program again and added a stitch before, after and between two words. My first try I had two stitches at both the end and the beginning and the sequence stitched out too long for my block. I was able to go back into my sequence, tab through the stitches I wanted to keep and delete the first stitch in the sequence – without having to delete everything and start again!

Editing a sequence.

Sequence stitched out.

I had so much fun on the front panel adding sewing related stitches, that I had to add the sewing machines! To keep the theme going I added one of the stacked stitches – a needle and thread – to the final gray square. After stitching, trim the extra stabilizer away.

Sewing machine stitch 6.3.1!!!

Assemble the back panel

1. Sew gray squares to light purple squares in pairs, two with gray squares on the left and one with gray square on the right; press seams to the light purple square. This matters if your stitches have a definite direction – otherwise you really are stitching a light purple square and gray square together three times:)
2. Sew pairs of squares together in rows, starting with a pair with gray square on the left. Press seams to the row below.
3. Sew one purple batik 2½″ x 12½″ strip to each side of the unit. Press seams to the purple batik strips.
4. Sew purple batik 3½″ strip to the top of the row and the 2½″ strip to the bottom. Press the seams to the purple batik strips.

To complete the back panel, sew one background print 5″ strip to each side of the unit. Press seams to the background print.

Back panel assembled

Quilt the panels

Now it’s time to quilt the panels before sewing them together. I only pinned batting to each panel before stitching because there will be a liner added to the bag as well.

Once pinned, it’s time to go back to the PFAFF quilt expression 720 and explore the stippling stitches. There’s a whole menu to choose from!

Menu of stippling stitches

I did practice stitching out several of the stippling stitches with the same batting I’m using in this project. In the end I didn’t use all of them, but will use them in another project I’m sure.

Sample stippling stitches

On the back panel I used purple thread for my quilting. I stitched in the ditch between the rows of gray and light purple squares, using the red guide on the presser foot to keep my stitches straight and hidden.

The guide marks came in handy again as I lined up the vertical seam between the gray and light purple squares, this time to use the stippling stitch 2.2.4.

Guide on presser foot

Stippling stitch 2.2.4

Several stippling stitches

For the front panel of the bag, I switched to a blue thread for the quilting. I added stippling on the front too after sewing around the outside edge of the gray border with an embroidery stitch. I stitched down the two middle seams of the small shoo-fly blocks and in the ditch around the middle shoo-fly. Then I went around the inside edge of the middle shoo-fly block with a small stippling stitch – hard to see, but it gives the bag a bit more body and texture.

When I used the stippling stitch, I traveled between areas on the panel by switching between the stippling stitch and the regular sewing stitch. This happens regularly when quilting, traveling from one area of the quilt to another but in this case, I had adjusted the stippling stitch and wanted to keep using my custom stitch when I got to my next blue fabric area – so I saved it in the personal menu! Then I was able to easily select between the regular stitch and my custom stippling stitch by pressing the stitch menu icon beside the Color Touch Screen.

Stippling stitch with width and density adjusted

Stippling stitch saved in personal menu.

I also gave in to the nagging realization that the bottom two half square triangles on the middle shoo-fly really did need some stitching to balance out the tapered butterfly stitches. Another stippling stitch to the rescue!

Quilted tote bag

There’s not much left to do! Both panels are now quilted, thanks to the large selection of stippling stitches on the PFAFF quilt expression 720. I have to admit that after all this stippling I’m motivated to get out a quilt top and quilt it! But that will have to wait a little bit longer as I want to finish this tote first. Tomorrow I’ll add the finishing touches and put the tote together.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: The PFAFF quilt expression 720 and its spectacular built-in stitches

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