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Quilting with Embroidery Designs

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Many embroiderers feature their favorite designs on quilt blocks ... but did you know you can actually quilt with embroidery designs too? Lightweight designs are perfect for stitching through all layers of a quilt to create that essential puffy look. We'll show you how!

Project Needs & Notes:

- Finished quilt top
- Hi-loft polyester batting
- Fabric for quilt back
- Bias tape
- Nylon monofilament thread
- Temporary spray adhesive
- Curved quilting safety pins
- Air or water erase pen

Designs featured in this tutorial include:
M18425, Art Nouveau Floral Quilting - Daisy (Double Run)
M18435, Art Nouveau Floral Quilting - Hummingbird (Double Run)
M18440, Art Nouveau Floral Quilting - Lily (Double Run)
M18455, Art Nouveau Floral Quilting - Poppy (Double Run)
M18445, Art Nouveau Floral Quilting - Lily of the Valley (Double Run)

Designs Used

Begin by cutting out all the fabric pieces, and piecing together the quilt top. Make sure to keep the size of the embroidery designs in mind while designing the quilt to be sure there is room for them.

It is important to make sure there is enough fabric around the embroidery area to accommodate the hoop. For best results, make sure the hoop is not going over the edge of the quilt top. If the fabric is not hooped securely, it will create shifting problems in the embroidery.

If the hi-loft batting isn't fresh out of the bag, it has probably expanded. For best embroidery results, press the batting under something flat and heavy like a board or books for about 30 minutes to compress it again.

Using expanded batting can make the embroidery shift, causing separation between the lines of stitching.

Once the quilt top and batting are ready, spray the batting with temporary adhesive and smooth it onto the back side of the quilt top. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of batting sticking out on all four sides of the quilt top.

Then spray the opposite side of the batting and smooth it onto the wrong side of the backing fabric. Again make sure to leave about a 1" of extra fabric around all four sides of the quilt top. Then use curved safety pins to pin all three layers together all across the quilt.

A template, or printout of a design, is an excellent tool to help with placement. Print a template of the design from your embroidery software. If you do not have embroidery software, Wilcom's TrueSizer is a free program to use.

Arrange the design where you would like it on the quilt. Mark the center points and the vertical and horizontal axis lines of the design.

Remove any safety pins from the embroidery or hooping area. Then hoop all three layers together, lining up the marks on the fabric with the marks on the hoop. Make sure that everything is hooped very tightly and that there are no wrinkles.

As the stitching will also been seen on the backside of the quilt, wind a bobbin with the desired thread color. In this tutorial, we matched the bobbin thread with the thread being used on the front side of the embroidery.

Load the embroidery file onto the machine, and move the needle until it is above the marked center point. Then embroider the design.

When the embroidery has finished, simply unhoop the quilt and replace the safety pins that were taken off earlier. Then repeat the previous steps to print templates, mark the fabric, and embroider the rest of the embroidery designs.

Once all the desired embroidery designs are finished, go on to quilt all the layers together as desired. For this quilt, we simply used the "stitch in the ditch" technique to quilt through the layers. This means sewing in the seams between all of the quilt blocks.

While quilting through the layers, use the same colored bobbin as before. This will allow the back of the quilt to look pretty and finished just like the front.

Once all the quilting is finished, trim away the extra batting and fabric from around the quilt top.

Then add some binding around the edges to finish the quilt.

There are a couple different kinds of machine embroidery quilting designs. The first is single-run embroidery designs. This type of design is similar to traditional hand-stitched quilting, and the stitching only passes over the sewn lines once. The single pass gives the embroidery a softer, lighter look, and the designs will be less pronounced on the fabric.

The design shown here is E9304, Bird and Flowers Quilting Square 1 (Single Run).

The second is double-run embroidery designs. This is where the stitching passes over all the sewn lines twice, allowing for complex designs that still have few trims. The double pass of the stitching also makes the design stand out more on the fabric.

The design shown here is M18440, Art Nouveau Floral Quilting - Lily (Double Run).

When using double-run designs, shifting is more common due to the layering of the fabric and batting. If this happens, there will be lines in the design that are next to each other instead of on top of each other (it can be seen in the photo on the left side in some of the curling detail). To minimize such shifting, make sure all the layers of the fabric and batting are hooped firmly.

Also make sure the rest of the quilt (everything that is not hooped) is not interfering with the hoop's movement. Using hair clips to roll up the rest of the quilt and hold it out of the way can be helpful.

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