I was staying with family in Tavistock and a visit to Quilt Direct and the Bernina Studio. I was given the opportunity to make something (anything I wanted), and the first thing I thought was of my friends newborn baby born 16th February at 27 weeks old. Tony and I had not yet found a gift to give to her and so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to make something special.
At first I wanted to make a quilted blanket, however with such a short time frame (a matter of hours), I was wisely advised maybe something a little quicker would be more suitable, and so a pillow was decided upon.
The first step was to design something to go on the pillow, and her mummy absolutely adores cats, so that was the focus. I also wanted something that would stand out for her. A design was chosen on the Bernina Designer software and personalised.
Next was to choose a fabric – PINK OBVIOUSLY! We then watched in awe as the Bernina 700 embroidery machine ……… created the stitches on my chosen fabric as if by magic. It took around 45 minutes to complete the design and I already knew the pillow was perfect (PS I have never picked up a needle never mind use a sewing machine).
So the next stage was to machine stitch the backing fabric on (which I chose a lovely rainbow design, almost like a rainbow sky). I also promise I am happy on the photo above, this is absolute concentration face. Katherine helped and guided me through the next steps of cutting the fabric to the right size, and setting up the Bernina 570 sewing machine to attach the back to the front. The next step was to get straight lines (and for someone who can’t even walk or drive straight this was a challenge), however Katherine attached a seam guide on the machine bed which helped to ensure the lines were straight giving a perfect finish.
The pillow then needed to be stuffed before being hand finished (waaa).
A coffee was needed at this stage, made by the lovely Ali. The pillow was stuffed and then hand sewn using a ladder stitch (demonstrated by Katherine first) and was fairly easy to follow.
We also decided to add a label, so Mia could always remember who made the pillow for her! The writing was stitched on machine… and the border was made using a pattern on the machine, giving these lovely little hearts!
And voila! The finished product. I can’t believe I actually managed to make something that was so lovely and I know will mean so much to my dear friend. I am certainly not saying it was easy, but was made far more doable thanks to the help of Quilt Direct! Thanks again, I am sure we will be visiting again soon (from Newcastle Upon Tyne).
To give our Ladies’ Room at the Bernina Studio the personal touch we embroidered a set of hand towels using the Bernina 700 Embroidery Machine and the new Bernina Midi Hoop with ratchet closing.
It’s all in the preparation! We printed a template of the design (or you could use a stitch out of the outline) then used a ruler and a fabric marker to mark the centre point of the design on the towel.
The next task was to apply the stabiliser to the back of the towel. We chose OESD Cutaway. We lightly sprayed the cutaway with 505 Spray Adhesive and smoothed it onto the back of the towel making sure we had covered the full design area. Then the hooping….we placed the bottom hoop with ratchet open wide on a non slip surface and the inner hoop with template next to it.
Placing a towel in the hoop is made easier with the new style deeper hoops with a ratchet system, but the principle is the same whichever hoop you are using (there are other methods for hooping that we can show you in the future). Pick up the towel & inner hoop with the template aligned with the center marks on the towel and carefully place inside the outer hoop with out losing the centre alignment of the template and marked centre on the towel (we know, easier said than done). Ensuring the towel is flat and smooth but not too tight in the hoop, tighten the ratchet. It is important to ensure that the inner hoop and towel is set a few millimetres deeper than the outer hoop, this stops the outer hoop vibrating on the bed of the machine leaving your design etched on the bed of your machine.
Because the towel has a deep pile, it was necassary to cover the towel surface with a water soluble stabiliser so the pile did not poke out through the stitches (more on the Washaway Stabiliser soon). Now we were almost ready to stitch….over to the machine and the Creative Consultant.
By using the Creative Consultant and choosing the type of embroidery followed by the type of fabric, we were presented with the best settings and needle size to use for optimum stitch out. We used a new Bernina Ball Point needle size 80, and 40wt threads (R&A Rayon, Mettler Polysheen and a Superior Polyester).
Now for our design, we downloaded this from the internet onto a USB stick. You need to use a small capacity USB formated as FAT32 and for most Bernina machines the design needs to be in .exp format.
Almost ready….first of all we opened the design on the machine by going to the Open a Design folder. Selecting the USB Option, we then located the design on our USB which we had inserted.
Once the design was selected, we did a little shuffle on the editing screen to align the centre of the design to match the cross hair on the towel… told you hooping was never easy! We also had to mirror image the design so the deer had his feet towards the bottom of the towel. Finally we selected the stitchout tab and in order to ensure that the washaway stabiliser stayed in place, we selected a basting box around the design .
The basting box needs to be stitched out slowly ensuring the water soluble stays flat and in place. We used Washi Tape and we also recommend OESD washable tape to encourage the washaway to stay put – we used OESD Washaway Toppping and Madeira Avalon to the same effect. We were only using one colour of thread in our design so the choice of bobbin thread was easy! We matched top and bottom the same rather than a bobbinfil.
The most important bit, the sewout, can be seen in our video below.
After removing the embroidery from the hoop, we trimmed away the cut away stabiliser surrounding the design and then trimmed a few connecting stitches.
Most of the water soluble was removed easily around the design but a gentle spritz of water helped with the removal of excess and placement marks.
Our embroidered towel design was complete. All we had to do then was wash and dry them……sigh. If you come to our Bernina Studio perhaps you will see the towels for yourself !
We hope you feel we have given you enough information to have a go at a stitch out a design on a towel. We are available for one to one tuition in the Bernina Studio or you can join us at one of our Bernina Tuition Days.
Tips: Do not use an adhesive backing on towels as peeling away excess will pull the pile. Always use water soluble on the top of your design to keep the pile from peeping through on the finished embroidery. Keep the design fairly simple but dense, or the pile will creep through the stitching over time. Monograms work really well. You can test out a design on an old face cloth. The embroidery designs we have used are from the Embroidery Library. Choose your thread with the way you wash towels in mind. Some threads do not like biological washes or high temperatures.
Products we used for this project:
Maderia Avalon Film Wash Away Stabilizer
OESD Washaway Topping
Superior Rainbows Polyester Thread
OESD Embroidery Wash Away Tape
Omnigrid 18″x 3″ Ruler