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Embroidered Morning Glories Quilt

How to Add Machine Embroidery to Your Quilt Project

Adding my machine embroidery designs to my pieced quilt designs has been an obsession for a very long time. I have finally gotten it right and I want to share some of my techniques here with you!

Tips for Success When Embroidering Quilt Weight Fabrics

  • Use starch to stabilize your fabric and press flat. I like to soak my fabric in 50% liquid starch and 50% water but HEAVY spray starch works fine - just give it time to soak into the fabric fibers before you slap the hot iron on it! Because the starch will also make piecing more accurate (especially for bias cut fabric), consider starching and pressing before cutting anything. Press the work crisp and flat before embroidering.  Press all seams to the side (not opened) unless this causes too much bulk in one area.
  • Use a small gauge needle such as a 75 sharp for embroidering starched quilt weight fabric.
  • Change the needle every couple of hours. 
  • Make sure your tension is not too tight.
  • Use 3M® brand double stick tape on the back side of your inner embroidery hoop to minimize hooped stabilizer slippage. Keep the tape clean and avoid touching it with your fingers.
  • Be selective when choosing your machine embroidery designs. Meandering vines work well because they can cover a lot of distance without a lot of large stitched fills. Test the designs on starched quilt weight fabric first to verify that the design will work and that your machine’s tension is set correctly for quilt weight cotton.
  • Piece your quilt top only as large as necessary to lay your embroidery designs. Include an extra inch to the outside edge of the piecing so that you can square the sides and clean up the edges after embroidering before you sew on additional fabric. Hold the embroidery designs back from the future outside seam line at least a half inch. 
  • Avoid placing an embroidery template where there are multiple layers of fabric such as in the exact center of a pieced star design (or spider web) because that small gauge needle will break when it hits that gob of seam allowances.
  • Plan that final pieced border before you add the preceding strip border!
  • Read and follow the instructions for how to work with paper embroidery templates.