Use the right size needle to ensure machine embroidery success

Yesterday on QUILTsocial I started a badge design using a machine embroidery design found online. Today I’ll finish designing my badge and stitch it out using the Brother Dreamweaver XE.

The Dreamweaver XE

Here is the badge design that I created so far, but now I need to add text. My business partner Nellie Holmes and I own Upper Canada Quiltworks and last fall we opened our studio/classroom/retail space in downtown Brockville, Ontario. We’ve been wanting to make some aprons to wear at the studio, so I thought it would be fun to make badges that could be sewn onto the aprons.

The badge design

I can add text to the badge design using the same steps I used for the ribbon labels. I’ve added the words Quiltworks Studio to my design. Now I need to add a satin stitched outer frame which will cover the single line of stitching and the edge of the felted wool. First, I press the ADD key to add another element to our design.

Design with text

I go back into the frames section of the embroidery designs page and select the thick satin stitch circle frame.

Thick satin stitch frame

Now I’ll select the SIZE button on the embroidery screen so that I can make this outer frame the same size as the single line frame.

Select SIZE

The thick satin stitch outer frame has been sized so that it completely covers the single stitch line that was initially added to the design.

Outer frame

I’ll use felted wool as the base of my badge, but you could easily use felt or denim. You just want some type of heavyweight fabric for this project.

I place the wool felt square on top of the Sulky Sticky + stabilizer (the same as that used in the ribbon embroidery project) and then secure the hoop in the carriage of the Dreamweaver XE. Since my wool is fairly thick, I’ll use a 90/14 embroidery needle.

Wool felt in frame

When I press the LED pointer button, the Dreamweaver XE will sense the thickness of the fabric and will adjust the presser foot height to accommodate it. Oh my!

The LED pointer

I’ll stitch the spool embroidery design and the single stitching line frame.

Stitched design

I remove the frame from the carriage and trim close to the stitching line with small sharp scissors, being careful not to clip the stabilizer or the stitching.

The closer you can clip, the better, as the satin stitched frame will be able to cover the entire edge of the wool.


The text is stitched next, then I change the thread and started the satin stitch frame. Part of the way around I noticed that my needle was almost slicing through the stabilizer.

Here’s the edge of the badge that was stitched using a 90/14 embroidery needle. I decided to switch to a 75/11 embroidery needle to see if that worked better.

Edge using 90/14 needle

Here’s the edge of the badge stitched using a 75/11 embroidery needle. As you can see, it’s leaving small holes, but it isn’t slicing through the stabilizer like the larger needle and there’s no chance of the badge moving before all of the stitching is done.

Edge using 75/11 needle

Here’s my finished Quiltworks Studio badge! I can’t wait to show Nellie – now we just need to make those aprons!

The finished badge

Now, after seeing how easy this is, I want to make a bunch of badges with cute quilt sayings on them to give to my quilting friends. This one ended up 5″ across – I think a 3″ badge would be awesome AND if arranged right, you could probably fit 3 or 4 on one piece of stabilizer.

I hope you enjoyed these new embroidery techniques! Have fun making your own embroidered ribbons and badges!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: How to import and modify an embroidery design on the Brother Dreamweaver XE

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1 comment

Brenda West March 10, 2019 - 7:59 am
Oh my this looks so cool. One day - I will have a machine like this. Love the work you do and your machine. Thanks for the information. You make it all look so sweet.
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