Friday, March 10, 2017

Baby Lock Love of Sewing Challenge Part 4

It’s been so much fun participating in Baby Lock’s Love of Sewing Challenge this week. Miss Destiny and I have had a wonderful time making beautiful borders! I hope you try it out and see for yourself just how quickly the Destiny II can make this seemingly complicated task SO simple. No more guesswork; just click that connect button!

Just for fun, here are a few more photos because seriously, y’all, Baby Kate was just too cute in her little fancy princess dress. Besides...photographing a toddler is hard work - got to take advantage of all the good photos!

First we had to catch Kate and she was like, ready set go!

She’s a master escape artist…

And then we had to actually keep her in one spot.

Rachelle was pretty much in charge of catch and release and re-catch. She did a great job and - whew - thankfully is young enough to be faster than Kate.

I couldn’t resist putting a border along the top of Kate’s little dress. And making a faux leather gold metallic bow for a wee crown! 
The day was beautiful, perfect weather. Only one problem: it was HOT. Oh my goodness. Wouldn’t you know I had planned on the girls wearing faux FUR coats with their sparkly gold printed outfits. We did get a few fast pics before the melt down.

I had been saving this blue faux fur for just the right project for these dearies because - look! - it exactly matches their eyes!

Des was rather taken with the fur. He announced that Gramma needed to use it to make a blanket for him! 😊 He wanted to get in on the action too, little monkey. Usually you point a camera at him and he scoots!

The corset belt covers a knit band elastic waist. This gives the wearer some growing room. (Important when you’re making samples possibly to be worn by different girls!) I applied fusible woven interfacing to the lining. Then I sewed the lining and gold print fabric right sides together along the top edge. Next, I turned the belt right side out and embroidered the border through both layers along the bottom edge. I then finished the two back edges and added the button holes. 

It looks really nice peeking out from under the jacket – of course the jacket was too hot to wear, but high-waist skirts are in fashion again, right?

It was way too much fun making borders and zapping them together with that Connect Tool. I had to invent a DOUBLE border to really give Miss Destiny a work out. I was totally mind blown. Perfect placement. Every. Single. Time. (Fair warning, dear friends: Once you’ve played with Destiny II, you are going to “need” her to come stay with you!)

Want to see the whole border collection I used? Click HERE to find them.

Don’t forget to go download the free designs! Click HERE to find those. (Hurry, they will expire March 31, 2017.)

Okay, that’s it, I’ll stop with the photos. (Yes, I have more, but I’m sparing you!)

This was an amazing adventure right from the kick off at the very beginning of this twelve week challenge. And best of all, there are still two weeks left! Can’t wait to see what’s next, how about you? Bookmark this link: and check back next week, more fun to come!

Thanks for reading!


Lydia Maria (photos)
Riley Blake Designs (fabrics)

State of Georgia Botanical Gardens

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Baby Lock Love of Sewing Part 3

Are you ready to finish your project? Yes, of course you are. Let’s do it! :-)

The first step to finishing up a cutwork border design is trimming the tails and removing the stabilizer. So, first things first, let’s get that done.

Use your little snips with curved blades or the snips with a crook on the end (you’ll see those in my video) to trim away any long thread tails on the wrong side. Don’t cut off the knots, but do clip off the tails. If you accidentally clip off a knot, go ahead and apply a drop of seam sealant before you proceed.

I like to cut away as much of my wash-away stabilizer as I can. I use my big scissors to rough cut off the large parts around the border, and then I use my little trimming snips to trim away most of the remaining stabilizer closer to the border’s edge. THAT is optional. You can always just dump the whole lot in a tub of water and soak the entire stabilizer away. So why do I bother to cut it away? Ha! I’m always in a hurry to get something finished, don’t you know! Removing as much stabilizer as possible greatly reduces the soak time, and the stuff floating around in my rinse water (which tends to make the fabric a bit stiff) is greatly reduced as well.

Before soaking, I like to go ahead and serge (or zigzag) any remaining raw edges. It isn’t necessary to serge tiny bits of exposed raw edge – just the big strips. Do not cut off any extra bits of fabric extending past the ends of your border; you’ll need those later. Be sure to leave a good seam allowance where the fabric pieces need to be joined.

Once the stabilizer has been cut away, the rest must be soaked away with water. (Check the stabilizer package to see what water temperature is recommended.) I find that the following does the trick for most of my cutwork projects: two fast cold soaks, followed by a longer cool soak with a drop or two of laundry detergent, and then a final cold rinse. Then I roll up the fabric in a bath towel, squeeze out the excess water, and hang it up to dry. After that, a good press from the wrong side with a steam iron (using a press cloth to protect the embroidery) finishes it up perfectly!

Line up your border ends – right sides together – and take a quick whip stitch by hand at the very edge to secure the two layers together. This will keep the bump of that thick embroidery from shifting when you sew the seam. Try not to sew too far into the embroidery.

Make use of Miss Destiny’s brain and extra eyeballs! Here are some tips:

Turn on the Width Control in the machine menu.

Put your fabric under the needle, lower the presser foot, and choose your stitch. I’m using the straight middle stitch with my “N” foot because I can see what I’m doing with that foot. Now press the Camera icon. You’ll see the fabric under the foot with your proposed stitching line on top. See that little magnifying glass icon with the + inside? It’s at the bottom of that camera view window. Press that icon. 

Now you’ll get a close-up view where you can see exactly where the foot is placed. Press the “Needle Drop Position” button. Woo-hoo! Now you’ll see PRECISELY where the needle will drop and where the machine will begin to stitch.

Not lined up where you need it to be? No problem! Click the magnifying glass at the top of the camera window (photo below on the left) to enlarge the view so you can see even better what Destiny is seeing. Now just move the Speed Control lever back and forth to move the needle. HOW COOL IS THAT? Oh my goodness. I love this feature! Talk about a bird’s eye view – this is awesome!

Now you can sew that seam together precisely.

Press open the seam allowance selvages and tuck up the extra ends.

Whip stitch those ends under nice and neat by hand. I like to whip stitch a small distance up both sides of the seam allowance selvage edges too, just to keep everything under there in place. Grab only tiny bits of the fabric with the needle so that your stitches won’t show from the right side.

There, a prettily finished seam in your border!

Thanks for reading this final project post for my week with Baby Lock’s Love of Sewing Challenge on the Destiny II. I hope you were inspired! Stay tuned for Friday's post-post, a short collection of photos and a few more garment details just for the fun of it!


Monday, March 6, 2017

Baby Lock Love of Sewing Challenge Part 2

Let’s make a continuous border using that super-cool Connect Tool feature on your Baby Lock Destiny II. It’s so easy!

Easier than catching a toddler, that’s for sure! Hopefully you have already had a chance to watch me demo this project in video. If not, click on over to the Baby Lock Love of Sewing Challenge page and watch it first HERE

This is what you will need to follow along and make a border of your own:

Download the free border designs HERE. (This download will expire on March 31, so do it soon!) Print out the PDF design templates also included.

You will need Baby Lock Dissolve-Away Mesh (self-adhesive or non) or another brand of wash-away fabric type stabilizer.

Choose your fabric. For this project, I used Riley Blake Designs Sparkle Cotton Gold Medium Dot and Sparkle Cotton Gold Quatrefoil.

Find an embroidery thread in a color of your choice for the border. I used Sulky’s Rayon #942-1070 which matches the gold on this pretty fabric very nicely. (Just so you know, most rayon embroidery threads work best with non-sticky wash-away stabilizers.) Wind several bobbins with the same embroidery thread.

Then locate the positioning stickers that came with the instruction manuals for your machine. (They look like crazy 8 targets; you should have several sheets.)

I highly recommend that you start with pre-shrunk fabric. So, go get that accomplished! Load the design and thread the machine with the same color and type of thread in the top and bobbin.

Hoop your fabric on top of two layers of wash-away stabilizer. Make sure you have enough room to work on one edge of the fabric. The design should load facing to the right, which means you will be working on the right raw edge of the fabric. I found it easiest to cut all the fabric pieces for my skirt, join all the seams except the center back, and finish (serge or zigzag) and press the seam allowances open. You may also find it helpful to cut a long piece of stabilizer to begin. As you work you will be moving down the stabilizer, adding extra as needed by overlapping the ends about 4”. Try to keep your border designs about the same distance away from the raw edge as you started with.

If this is the first border design you have tried, start with the 4x4 design and use your 5x7 hoop. That will give you room to maneuver and check your work; you’ll also see results quickly.

Take advantage of that extra set of eyeballs in your Destiny II by scanning the fabric in your hoop. You will be able to see EXACTLY where you need to place the first border design. You can scan either before or after you set the design; just press the little camera icon. Once the design is on screen, you can move it where you want by touching and dragging it with your stylus or using the on-board arrow keys. Place it approximately as shown in the photo above on the right. Make sure it is completely on the fabric, but still close to the raw edge.

Next, press “Edit” and look for the Connect Tool – the little button on the lower right that looks like a film strip. Press that button and then press OK.

Sew the first stitch sequence of the design. This is the cutting line for the border. You will notice that it stitches twice; this helps keep the stitching intact as you trim when using this design on fine fabrics such as quilt weight cotton.

Remove the hoop from the machine and place it on a hard, flat surface. (Ahem, this is not your lap!) Remember to hold the hoop by the hoop – not by the fabric in the hoop – while you take the hoop in and out of your machine.

Make two straight cuts from the raw edge up to each end of the stitching line. Then use your little trimming scissors to cut away the excess fabric along the stitching line. Cut close, but don’t cut the stitches! (Click HERE to find the best trimming snips for this job.)

Put the hoop back in the machine and sew the next stitch sequence. This is a narrow zigzag underlay that helps to stabilize the edge of the fabric AND gives you a chance to check your trimming work. If you see any bits of fabric extending past this little zigzag line, you will want to trim them off. If your trimming looks good, go ahead and stitch the final sequence to finish the design.

Now, this is the magic part! This machine will use its great big brain, perfect vision, and the positioning stickers you will place to perfectly connect the next design. SO COOL.

Your Destiny II screen should say “Embroidery is finished. OK to connect next pattern?” Press OK. It will then tell you not to take the fabric out of the hoop and to press OK to select the next pattern. Press OK again. Now the machine will take you back to the home screen where you can go back into your saved designs and locate the same border again.

Choose that design and set it.

Before you go any further, be sure to press the CONNECT TOOL button at the lower right hand corner of the screen. Ta-Dah! Miss Destiny will automatically put the design next to the one you have already stitched. If you like where it is joined, press OK. If you want it to be somewhere else, use the tools provided on this screen or the arrow keys to move it where you want it to go. For this project, I wanted a long, continuous border, so I needed my designs to join end to end just as shown on the screen.

Once you press OK, the arm of the machine will move. Next you will get a screen that shows you the location for the first placement sticker.

Place the sticker on the fabric in the hoop in the exact spot that is shown on the screen. Watch the screen rather than your fingers as you place this sticker. I found it helpful to use a pair of tweezers to hold the sticker while positioning. Once you have the first sticker in position, press OK. Follow along on the screen to place the second positioning sticker. Press OK. NOTE: Depending on where your fabric is located in the hoop, your machine may have you place the stickers horizontally or vertically. Don’t worry – either way will work!

Your screen will now show you a picture of the two border designs connected with the positioning stickers in place. It will tell you that now it’s time to take the hoop out of the machine, take the fabric out of the hoop, and re-hoop the fabric. Take care not to disturb the stickers as you do so, and be sure to keep the positioning stickers within the stitching field when you re-hoop. I found this very easy to do by using the clear plastic hoop placement grid to locate the stitching field and make sure I was putting the stickers and the next design within it. (Use the printed paper template of the design to give you an idea of where it will stitch.)

Put the hoop back in the machine. Oooooooh, you don’t see a picture of what’s in the hoop anymore, do you? Well, I promise that Destiny knows exactly what she’s doing, but it is nice to see, isn’t it? So right now, before you go further, go ahead and press the camera button to take a picture of what’s in your hoop. Voila! Now you see that the two designs are connected EXACTLY how they should be. (If you watched Nancy’s Zieman’s Love of Sewing Challenge videos, you will know that you can press the zoom button on your screen and blow up that shot really big so you can check Miss Destiny’s work. That’s pretty neat!)

Stitch the next border design just as you did the first, and keep on going until you have completed as much border as you need. You can use the 6x10 hoop and the 5x7 border design to cover more ground faster. If I were creating a wider design I’d probably use the bigger hoops, but as this border is narrow, the 5x7 and 6x10 hoops work great and conserve stabilizer.

WOW. Look at the perfect joint! Let me tell you, I’m so blown away with Destiny’s connect feature that I may end up putting borders on everything! (Watch out, hubby, better hide your pants.) I had to see it to believe it, but her eyes really do see so much better than mine, and her brain gives mine a much-needed rest. :-)

Baby Lock once again puts the LOVE into the Love of Sewing, because Miss Destiny takes the guesswork out of stitching and replaces it with fun!

Up next, a wee bit about the finishing touches for border embroideries and some out-takes – because I had way too much fun making these projects and you deserve some grins, right?

Thanks for reading!


Click HERE to see the entire Scallop Cutwork Border collection by A Bit of Stitch! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Baby Lock's Love of Sewing Challenge!

Wow! This has been such a fun adventure with Baby Lock! I’ve so enjoyed seeing the wonderful features of Miss Destiny detailed with such fun projects by each sewist so far, and I’m really excited to see the rest - how about you? It’s my very great honor to be this week’s Love of Sewing Challenge participant, and I can’t wait to show you how much fun I’ve been having with the Destiny II.

I’ve learned so much already: How to color sort multiple designs - wow, THAT’S a game changer! The fact that the Destiny II has TWENTY-FIVE buttonhole options, and the Digital Dual-Feed system has DIFFERENT feet that snap on and off just like regular feet… woo-hoo, that’s amazing! How beautifully the IQ Designer creates one-of-a-kind machine embroidery designs. (I mean really nice, approved by my picky self, ha!) And, oh my goodness, I had no idea there were so many cool applications for the Sensor Pen and Guide Beam – just go watch Joi Mahon show you those; your mind will be blown wide open. Plus, I think even I can handle that perfect quarter inch seam now (ahem...this from the lady who thinks seam allowances are optional...) as well as resizing all those pretty fonts in Miss Destiny and picking my favorite motifs from the FOUR HUNDRED FORTY-TWO built-in decorative stitches, whew! To top it all off I think I may have to make a quilt, because that free motion stitching open toe foot that Amy Ellis demoed is just calling my name. So much fun stuff to do – y’all don’t mind if I take the rest of the year off and just play, do you? :-)

You can see all the projects on Baby Lock’s Sewlebrity Love of Sewing Challenge page - watch the videos, get the instructions, and make the pretties! 

Stay tuned this week while I show you how much fun you can have making continuous border designs with Destiny’s Connect Tool. I promise you will never be intimidated about connecting designs again, because Miss Destiny’s great big brain and extra set of eyeballs make this the easiest thing you have ever done!

Yes, really! Here’s the link again: 

Join the fun!


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wing it! A cut work pillow tutorial

I love cut work, don’t you? Especially when my embroidery machine is doing most of the work! Here’s a fun project if you’d like to follow along - let’s make a winged pillow!

I used my new “Winged” cutwork designs for the flap on this pretty pillow. Click HERE to see that set. However, you could use any suitable border cut work designs that you may have on hand. Here’s what you will need to make a pillow cover for a 15” pillow form:

31” x 17” quilt-weight cotton for the pocket portion (where the pillow is inserted)
18” x 18” quilt-weight cotton for the flap
18” x 18” quilt-weight cotton for the flap lining (use same fabric or contrast print)
Baby Lock’s Ultra Soft Fusible (enough to cover the wrong side of the flap fabric)
Wash-away stabilizer (Vilene, fabric type, either sticky or non-sticky)
Border embroidery designs (with corner design)
Embroidery thread
Sewing thread
15” pillow form

Don’t you love it when you find just the right fabric for the project you want to make hiding in your stash? This pretty “Joie De Vivre” print from Art Gallery Fabrics by Bari J was exactly what these designs needed! However, because this fabric is only quilt-weight rather than the heavier fabric that these designs are intended for (such as wool, canvas, or home décor weight), I needed to add something to give the fabric extra sturdiness. Baby Lock’s Ultra Soft Fusible worked perfectly!

Let’s get started!

Back one 18” x 18” piece of quilt-weight fabric (the one that will become the right side of the flap) with a layer of Ultra Soft Fusible. Take your time fusing it so that it is well adhered. Please note: the flap fabric needs to be sized so that the pointed flap design layout will easily fit within.

Back the other 18” x 18” piece of fabric (the one that will become the flap lining) with one layer of wash-away stabilizer placed on the RIGHT side of this fabric piece. Two notes! If you use a heavier fabric such as wool, canvas, or home décor linen, you won’t need to add the Ultra Soft Fusible; just back the fabric with the wash-away stabilizer. If you wish to use a sticky stabilizer, go for it. Just bear in mind that sometimes sticky stabilizers can cause more thread breakage as the needle tends to get gummy during stitching.

Now lay the flap lining fabric wrong side up (wash-away stabilizer underneath) on your work surface, and place the Ultra Soft Fusible backed flap fabric right side up on top of it.

Print paper templates of all the designs you will need for your design layout. Audition them on the flap fabric sandwich. Use either a light coat of temporary spray adhesive or cellophane tape to hold them in position while you work. By placing your hoop’s clear plastic grid on top of your design template layout, you can tell how many designs in your layout will fit in the chosen hoop. For instance, I can tell in the photo above on the right that my corner design and one 5x7 border design will fit in my Destiny’s 9.5” x 14” hoop.

Loosen your hoop screw generously and hoop the fabric sandwich, using the hoop grid to correctly align the design you will stitch first. Make sure the designs fit within the stitching field, which is noted by the grid marks on the hoop grid. Tighten the hoop screw a bit, and then remove the grid and all templates except for the first one you will stitch. I started with the corner design as I find it easiest to align border designs by working first one way and then the other.

Baby Lock Destiny owners – you can use your on-board camera to scan the fabric/template in the hoop and then align the design with the photo on your machine screen! Just grab the design right on your screen and drag it in place or use the “move” tool in the edit box. Use a bigger hoop than you need so you'll have plenty of move room. Otherwise (non-camera users), use your move tool to locate the design correctly and check your placement by using your machine’s on-board design perimeter finding tool. Just click on the center location, drop the needle to be sure it ends up in the center, and then check the north, south, east and west points. Dropping the needle (unthreaded) into those points will show you if the design is correctly positioned. If not, you can adjust and check again.

Follow the design instructions to stitch out the first design. You will want to use the same color and type of thread in the top and bobbin.

I found it much easier to trim away the top Ultra Soft backed layer first and then trim away the lining layer. It’s a bit of a challenge NOT to cut into the stabilizer, but if you use little scissors with short, curved blades you can do it. (Click HERE to find the “snips” I love to use!) If you accidentally cut into the stabilizer it’s okay. You can patch it with a bit of extra stabilizer stuck to the back. Use cellophane packing tape or masking tape to clean up the fuzz so you can see how well you are trimming. Like most cutwork designs, these designs require you to cut very, very close to the stitching!

Baby Lock Destiny owners – this is where you machine will shine! The next border placement will be a snap because you can scan the fabric in the hoop and drag or move the next design easily into place perfectly. I LOVE THIS FEATURE!!!! Makes borders so easy! :-)

Otherwise, follow the same steps as before using the printed design template for the next design to be stitched and your machine’s on-board design perimeter tool to correctly place the design. Finish stitching the border on the pillow flap, and then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for removing the wash-away stabilizer. (I like to rough cut away as much of the stabilizer as I can and then give the fabric two long soaks followed by one last short soak in water that has a tiny bit of detergent in it – sometimes a drop of fabric softener too. Then I give it a quick rinse, squeeze it in a towel, and hang to dry.)

Once the flap fabric is dry, you are ready to construct the pillow. For a 15” pillow form you will need a piece of fabric cut about 17” wide and 31” long. My finished design ended up being exactly 15” across from side to side at the top. If your design is different, you may need a different sized pillow; make sure to adjust the measurements accordingly. You’ll just need one piece of fabric big enough to wrap around the pillow with at least ½” seam allowance at both short ends.

Cut away the excess flap fabric above the border design, leaving at least ½” for the seam at the top of the pillow. The pillow pocket part needs to adequately cover the flap from side to side, as shown above on the right.

Sew a quarter inch hem on one short end of the pocket fabric.

You will need to sew your pocket fabric (the un-hemmed end) to the flap, but before you do, check where this seam needs to go according to the finished edge of your embroidered border. As you can see in the photos above, I needed my seam to sew across a tiny bit of the finished border – the ends of the feathers – so I made sure that’s where my seam would go before I began sewing.

Just to be neat and pretty I decided to make a French seam. To do so, place the flap fabric and pocket fabric WRONG sides together and sew with a ¼” seam allowance. Trim that seam allowance a bit (to about 1/8”) and press. Then fold the fabrics right sides together and sew again ¼” away from the first seam, enclosing the selvages. You can see in the photo below on the right that the finished edge is very neat and clean!   

Now it’s time to fold the hemmed end of the pocket fabric up and over the wrong side of the flap and sew up the pocket side seams.

If you have used border designs that may extend into the seam allowance area as my feather borders did, make sure you push that part out of the way and secure before you stitch the side seam (see photo above on the left).

Finish the side seams as desired; you may wish to serge or zigzag stitch the selvages to make them tidy. Turn the pocket portion right side out. Insert the pillow form and pull the flap down over the front. If you wish to add a bow, audition the placement of it. I found that it was necessary to sew one part of the bow about 1” below where the point of the flap rested in order to make the flap lie nicely when the bow was tied. If you are using ribbon or a narrower tie, you may not need to sew it that far down.

Sew the bow pieces – ribbon or fabric ties – to the pillow. One piece needs to go on the pillow pocket front part. You can hand or machine sew that piece in place. The other half needs to be attached as close to the tip of the flap (on the wrong side) as you can get it. That piece will probably look best hand sewn in place.

I made my ties 1.5” wide by sewing 3.5” bias cut strips of fabric into casings with a ¼” seam allowance, pointed at one end and about 22” long. I used Robert Kaufmann’s “go create and Shimmer” fabric by Jennifer Sampou in gold. It exactly matched my embroidery thread color! Satin ribbon ties would be lovely too.

Tie up your pretty winged pillow and show it off!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this project!