The importance of making a sample embroidery stitch-out

Welcome back. Starting a new project is always great fun, and gathering the supplies and having everything on hand, as we did yesterday, makes the embroidery a lot easier. I’ll be using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85 sewing and embroidery machine to explore the stitching process for the design I created yesterday.

The more creative the process, or the more challenging, the better it is. And if there’s a learning moment or two, that’s like the icing on the cake. I’ll give you a heads up: things don’t always turn out how you plan them, especially when taking the design into your own hands. Making errors and figuring out how to fix them is the perfect way to learn. I thought I’d share some of those learning experiences with you today.

Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85

My cushion covers are 20″ and 22″, as I noted yesterday. I embroidered one of the covers with a large flower I created from several embroidery design components.

Using several embroidery designs from the mySewnet Library, I created the design for the flower in the mySewnet Embroidery Software. First, I needed to get the design into the Designer Sapphire 85.

I could have put the design on a USB stick and uploaded it using the USB port on the Designer Sapphire 85. However, the Designer Sapphire 85 is Wi-Fi enabled, allowing me to send the design directly via mySewnet, the cloud-based storage system.

As a precaution, you must accept the design coming from the software. In order for the magic to happen, you need a mySewnet account. The computer where the software resides, as well as the Designer Sapphire 85, need to be logged into the account. It’s super easy!

A pop-up message to accept the design sent via mySewnet

Here’s the design in the Embroidery Edit screen. The gray area in the center shows the overlap when using the Husqvarna Viking Designer Majestic Hoop.

The giant flower embroidery design in the Embroidery Edit screen

It was time to hoop the fabric. I used the Designer Majestic Hoop, which is one of the largest hoops on the market. The stitching area is 360mm x 350mm, or 14¼” x 13¾” if you prefer Imperial measurements. It’s a turnable hoop, so I stitched one half of the design, rotated the hoop, and stitched the other side. I could have used a smaller hoop, but the large hoop allowed me to stitch the large flower without rehooping.

I decided not to hoop the fabric. I didn’t want to get shiny marks in the corners of the hooped area. So, I only hooped the Inspira Tear-A-Way stabilizer. I used metal clips to help stabilize the hoop because of the large open area.

Tear-a-way stabilizer hooped in a large embroidery hoop

A note of caution when using the Designer Majestic Hoop: you want to ensure the screws on both sides are adjusted the same (the distance between the clamps should be equal). Otherwise, your image could end up distorted.

The screw for adjusting the hoop tension

Here’s something I learned: there’s an A-side and a B-side to the Designer Majestic Hoop. I’d never really thought about it before, but it makes sense. The embroidery machine knows which side is which. If your design is symmetrical and on a loose piece of fabric, it won’t matter, but if the position of the design is essential to you, you need to pay attention to how the fabric gets placed in the hoop.

The number on the back of the hoop designates the A-side.

Instead of hooping the fabric, I floated it. I found the center of the fabric and finger pressed it.

The center is marked with finger creases.

A small ridge at the center of the sides and top and bottom of the hoop makes it easy to center the fabric within the hoop. I laid the fabric on the hoop and matched up the creases with the ridges. I pinned the fabric to the stabilizer in a couple of places to hold it temporarily, so the fabric didn’t get out of position as I moved from my hooping area to the embroidery machine.

The centering ridge on the edge of the embroidery hoop

You’ll want to ensure there’s nothing in the way of the embroidery arm as it moves. The Designer Majestic Hoop is huge, and you don’t want the hoop bumping into anything. I cleared everything away from the tabletop — I didn’t want to have an accident and have to start over.

Ensure the area around the embroidery arm is clear.

As you move to Embroidery Stitch Out, it’s crucial to review all the items on the Welcome to Embroidery Stitch Out screen. Be careful on the Designer Sapphire 85, as the screen is not quite large enough to see the entire menu, so be sure to use the down arrow (not shown in the photo) to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the menu. There you’ll find an essential option for using the turnable hoop – Side Sort. Make sure you select it! You wouldn’t want to be switching back and forth.

The Turnable Hoop – Side Sort selection

I selected the Baste Around Hoop option to secure the fabric to the stabilizer, and I removed the straight pins as the basting took place.

The fabric has been basted to the stabilizer.

I did have to turn the hoop during the basting process. The instructions appeared on the screen, and it was super easy to do.

At this point, I was ready for the stitching. This design is an applique design with placement and tack-down stitches. I stitched only the outline, and I should have removed the placement and tack-down stitches in the mySewnet embroidery software, but I didn’t. And I should have skipped over them in the stitch-out process, but I didn’t. That created a problem, which you’ll see shortly.

Starting the embroidery stitch-out

After the first half was complete, I rotated the turntable hoop to start the second half. There’s a registration mark in the center of the design to help line up the stitches for the second half. You can use Design Positioning on the Designer Sapphire 85 to get the second half of the design exactly in position if it’s a wee bit out.

Stitching the second half of the giant flower embroidery design

Here are the petals of the giant flower. The petal is one of three in a set of flower petals for machine embroidery applique. I don’t think the designer intended it to be used as I did, but that’s okay – I like breaking the rules! See those heavy lines at the end of the veins in the petals? Those are the placement and tacking stitches. They should have been eliminated (either in the software or skipped over during the stitch-out process). I needed to find a way to conceal them in the next step. I also had a wee mishap splitting the design in the software for the stitching process. There’s a tiny gap, which was easy enough to fix after the fact.

See what I mean? There was a huge learning curve in this process!

The outline of the flower

There was also a center to add to the flower. I didn’t want the design stitched in two parts, as it would have been if I’d used the Designer Majestic Hoop. I removed the piece from the hoop and used the Large Metal Hoop to do the center. Since the metal hoop is a single-piece hoop, I didn’t have to insert my fabric into the traditional two-part hoop.

I needed to find a way to cover the placement and tacking stitches, so I printed out the flower center template to see if it covered the center of my embroidery designs.

Flower center template

I folded the template in half to see if it fit. My center isn’t a circle, so I needed to try a lot of different angles. Hmm – it was too short along one side, but easy to fix. I scaled the design in the software, so it was about 10% percent larger. I tested it again – or so I thought!

Testing the size of the center embroidery design for coverage

There’s a lot of valuable information on the templates, so it makes good sense to print them out. The first page(s) gives you the diagram of the embroidery design – be sure to print it out in the appropriate scale to suit your needs. The diagram can help you position the design(s) correctly on your project. The second part of the printout includes all the technical information about the design, including size, thread colors, etc. You’ll be glad you printed it out – you can learn a lot from this.

Technical information about the design in printed format

Even though I scaled the center larger, I still wanted to print it out at 100% (of the new size) to make sure it would work.

Retesting the larger flower center

Everything seemed okay, so I marked the center of the fabric, using the center reference marks of the previous design. I like to use white chalk for marking. The lines stay put, but are easy to remove. Make sure you test your marker and know which one will work best for you and your project.

You’ll notice the metal hoop also has ridges along the sides, top, and bottom to assist with hooping. It was easy to line up my chalk lines with those ridges to get the piece exactly centered.

Alignment ridges on the side of the large metal hoop

I used six magnets to hold the fabric and stabilizer in place. There are three different metal hoop sizes, and I used the largest. Each one comes with four magnets. I borrowed two from one of the other hoops for a bit more security. Remember, the recommendation is to use no more than eight magnets on any hoop, as the extra weight is not suitable for the embroidery unit. They are strong – eight will be sufficient!

The project is hooped in the large metal hoop.

Wow – the needle is pretty much right in the center. Things are going well!

The fabric is centered in the hoop.

Because I made this design up as I went along, the center was a bit unsightly. I created my original design using the petal motif, so I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, and I had errantly stitched the placement and tacking stitches.

The center was also supposed to be appliqued, and I figured I could use applique to cover up all those unsightly stitches. Perfect!!! I decided to use the same fabric as the background so it would all blend. So far, so good!

Using the same fabric to create the background of the flower center

I noticed the placement stitch line didn’t completely cover the placement lines along one side. When I scaled the design up, I must not have checked all the edges of the circle. I should have stopped and resized the center, but I forged ahead.

I used what I thought was a matching green thread to do the satin stitch on the applique shape. After looking at it, I realized it was too bright. Not the best thread choice. It sure helped to have the automatic needle threader on the Designer Sapphire 85! It made changing thread colors a snap.

The needle threader makes thread changes easy

Things seemed to be going okay. Not perfect, but okay. Except, I realized the thread color still wasn’t quite right. Once I had chosen a third thread color and threaded the machine, I walked away. And when I came back a couple of hours later (it didn’t take two hours – I just had something else to do), I noticed the center had started out okay, and then for some reason, it had shifted. It’s almost as though the hoop hit something. But what?

The finished embroidery – a tad wonky

Hmmm – do you see something’s not quite right? By this time, I’d accepted the fact this would end up as a sample stitch-out! There were a lot of little details I didn’t pay enough attention to, or just skipped.

Would you consider this a failure? No way! In fact, I’m happy with the results. Despite all the things I did wrong, the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85 did a great job! It was a very enlightening experience, and here’s what I’m taking away from it:

The good:

  • It’s easy and fun to create new designs by mixing and matching components of different collections.
  • I know I can hoop a project and get it lined up perfectly.
  • I purchased excess fabric, so I’m not worried about running out.
  • I solved a couple of problems I had created – like appliqueing over the center to hide the placement and tacking stitches.
  • I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do when creating a design from scratch.
  • I learned more aspects of machine embroidery, including the Designer Majestic Hoop and splitting designs.
  • Making a stitch sample is a good thing! With a sample, you’re not afraid to try different things to see what works best.
  • Overall, I’m thrilled with the way the cushion cover looks.

The bad:

  • Devote dedicated time to the project is a must. I tried to hurry parts of it along, which didn’t work out so well.
  • Understand what you’re doing. Sometimes, we only learn by doing and making mistakes.
  • Check frequently to ensure everything is stitching out correctly. I did not do this, because I was trying to do two things at once!
  • Watch the thread colors.

I’ll restitch this one later this week. I want all five cushions done. I need to do a bit of thread shopping as the colors I have aren’t working for this project.

So please pay attention to what you’re doing – it’ll save a load of time in the future. And those of you who are more experienced are probably having a good laugh. Well, I am too. It was another great day of learning!

I hope you enjoyed that humbling journey with me! Be sure to come back tomorrow for another adventure with the Husqvarna Viking Designer Sapphire 85.

Have a great day!


This is part 2 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 1: Overcoming sewing challenges during a pandemic

Go to part 3: Creating beautiful cutwork designs on the Designer Sapphire 85

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