What is it?
In the world of flooring, you would use underlay underneath a carpet or laminate/wood floor to provide cushioning and support to the floor covering. In the same way, Underlay in the machine embroidery world is the foundation underneath a satin stitch or a solid fill stitch which provides support to the stitches that you see.
A satin stitch or solid fill stitch with underlay stitching will have much better coverage than the same stitch without underlay stitching.
If you look in the BERNINA Embroidery Software, there are 5 options for underlay for a satin stitch outline and 3 options for a step stitch fill.
For a satin stitch outline, the options are:
- Center walk
- Edge walk
- Double Zigzag
In the diagram, the top row is the finished satin stitch, actually without an underlay. The second row is a combined Edge Walk with Zigzag. The third row is a Double Zigzag. The bottom row is a Step underlay.
I usually use either the Double Zigzag or a combined Edge Walk with Zigzag.
For a step stitch fill, the options are:
- Edges Walk
On the left is the step underlay, on the right is the zigzag underlay combined with an edge walk.
I very rarely do any kind of solid fill stitch, preferring to use appliqué shapes instead. If I do want to use a solid fill stitch, I prefer to use the step underlay. Notice how the underlay stitches are at right angles to the fill stitch.
One place where it’s always a great idea to add underlay stitching (if you’re creating your own designs in embroidery software) is for lettering. You will need to adjust the length of the underlay stitches to fit the size of your letters. The results will be much more clearly defined with underlay stitching than without.
From 12:01am on July 13, 2017 until 11:59pm on July 15, 2017, enjoy 25% off the Heather Feather Border Collection.
Use promo code “A2Z-U” at the checkout
Heather Feather Border Collection $70.00
(Delivered as a digital download. Optional CD available at the checkout)
What I love about this collection… The Heather Feather Border Collection was an engineering challenge – create an AccuQuilt GO! die that contains shapes that can be used to create a feathered border in various lengths. Having determined a few things in advance:
- the feathered border would fill an 8″ wide border on a quilt
- the repeat would be 8″ long
- the feathers could stop at a square end OR go into a mitered corner
… I got on a plane travelling from Phoenix to London Heathrow (about 10 hours in the air) and started drawing. I can’t honestly say that the whole thing was complete by the time I got to London, but it was a great start!
The Heather Feather Border Collection can create mitered borders that are 32″ wide, 48″ wide, 64″ long and 80″ long. You can put whatever you want in the center!
For the Heather Feather Border bed runner, simple squares in the center are a nice contrast to the detail of the border. At 80″ long and 32″ wide, this is the perfect fit to grace the end of a queen or king sized bed.
A couple of other colorways were on the design board to begin with. In the end I chose to simplify the colors from 10 to 3 – and use thread colors on the appliqué shapes to add some variation. The fabric colors shown underneath the two diagrams below are from the Stof Quilter’s Shadow collection.
The Heather Feather Border (32″ x 32″) in traditional Christmas colors of red, green and gold makes the perfect setting for a Christmas tree:
The Heather Feather Border (32″ x 32″) in black and grey with teal thread accents makes the perfect setting for a mirror. Or it can be used as a photo frame! I don’t believe there’s a rule that says you have to have a quilt in the middle 🙂
These border designs don’t always need to be used for quilts. I was delighted to discover that my friend Nicci Brazzell has been using the Heather Feather Border designs to decorate a pair of pants!
Did you know … that the original design for the Heather Feather quilt had an embroidered appliqué border? The trouble with it was that each piece was unique – and there weren’t enough hours in the day to get it stitched.
So what happens if you combine the Heather Feather quilt center with a Heather Feather Border? Magic! My friend Jean wanted to add an embroidered appliqué border to her Heather Feather quilt, so we came up with this design, adding an extra border between the center and the feathered border to make it all fit together. As far as I know, Jean has all the fabric picked out and ready to go. If you’d like to see this quilt finished, please give Jean some encouragement in the comments below!