A to Z of Machine Embroidery and Quilting
I used to mark my background fabric directly using various types of fabric marking pen. That is until the time I left a marked quilt in the back of my car and the marking pen got heat set into the fabric. I live in Phoenix, AZ and now I know better. I also know that lipstick, chapstick and Crayola crayons don’t survive well in a car in a Phoenix summer – and they can make a very big mess!
When I’m talking about marking quilts for machine embroidered appliqué, there are two things to consider:
- I typically want to be able to stitch a design in a very specific place on my background fabric, and I need to mark that place before I start stitching.
- The kind of machine embroidered appliqué I do uses precut appliqué shapes which are backed with fusible webbing. This means that heat (usually high heat) needs to be applied in order to fuse the appliqué in place.
I’ve already discovered – the hard way – that heat and marking pens don’t always go together. So I came up with a technique to mark my background fabric which ensures that there’s no risk of the marking becoming permanent.
The answer: Use thread!
If I want to stitch a design in a very specific place on the background fabric, then I need to be able to mark that place accurately. This is especially important if I have a larger design that has been split into two or more pieces, and I want for all pieces to be aligned correctly when I’m finished.
I nearly always use two pieces of stabilizer when I’m doing machine embroidered appliqué. One piece goes in the hoop. The other piece gets basted onto the back of the background fabric. It’s this piece that comes in very handy when I need to mark the background fabric.
There are two steps to my marking process:
- Mark the stabilizer as specified in the instructions that come with the Sarah Vedeler Designs design collection using a 5mm mechanical pencil or an extra fine Sharpie Pen.
- Pin the stabilizer to the back of your background fabric and then stitch along all lines marked on the stabilizer using a stitch length of between 4mm and 5mm. Any shorter and it will take forever to get these stitches out. Any longer and they won’t be doing a great job for you. This is a really good way to use up bobbin thread – it’s the bobbin thread that will show up on the background fabric, so make sure that it’s very visible (no black thread on black background fabric!)
To see this in action, click here to watch my Machine Embroidered Appliqué Back to Basics Part 2 video. Follow the same steps for any Sarah Vedeler Designs design collection – but be sure to mark the stabilizer as specified in the instructions for the specific design collection.
From 12:01am on July 5, 2017 until 11:59pm on July 7, 2017 enjoy 25% off Festival Tote
Use promo code “A2Z-M” at the checkout
Festival Tote $25.00
(Delivered as a digital download. Optional CD available at the checkout)
What I love about this collection… I’ve seen some gorgeous versions of this tote bag that people are using!
In August 2015 my daughters and I went to Sweden to visit my family who lives just outside of Stockholm. Since Sweden is so close to Norway (distance being relative!) I decided to combine vacation with a teaching trip and flew to Norway to spend a weekend with my Norwegian friend Merete of Merete’s Quilteloft and some of her friends. The ladies had gotten together previously to make the Festival Tote – and they’d done a great job!
I always love to see photos of the things you make using my design collections. Seeing them live, in person and being used makes my day!
Not only is the Festival Tote double sided with pockets on the front and the back (you decided which is which!), there are two versions of designs for both the front and the back.