Friday, May 27, 2016

Oh My Stars!

My house seemed woefully short of Memorial Day decorations this year. (Good thing I have a room full of machines that can fix that, eh?) So I made a little quilted flag from some of my favorite red, white and blue Riley Blake fabrics using a dollar design from my Single Designs category in the shop - click HERE to see this pretty Memorial Day design!

Lydia (Telafante blog) had made the cutest felt star banner with the star design from the Happy Day Motifs for baby Kate, and that gave me an idea for the perfect finish to my flag. 

I wanted my stars to look PERFECT on the back, exactly as they did on the front. Truly double-sided, in other words. But our embroidery machines make a knot on the wrong side at the beginning and end of a design. Not so pretty on double sided things, argh.  Want to find out how I fixed that? Read on!

First of all I began with Baby Lock’s Ultra Soft Fusible hooped fusible side up in my 8x12 Destiny hoop. I cut two pieces of white wool/rayon felt about an inch larger all around than the stitching field of my grouped star designs.

I stuck one felt piece to the back of the hooped Ultra Soft, centered within the design area, held fast with just a wee bit of temporary spray adhesive. Then I smoothed the other felt piece on top, directly over the one on back. You can see through the Ultra Soft enough to line them up.

Next, I threaded my machine in top AND bobbin with matching regular sewing thread. I used blue for some stars and red for the others. These designs are simple bean-stitched outlines (hence the name “Motifs”) and they have an applique outline for the purpose of knowing where to apply them should you wish to do that. For this project I didn’t need that first stitch sequence, so I simply skipped ahead for each star directly to the bean-stitched outline.

I turned my End Color Trim and Jump Stitch Trim functions OFF. 

Once the hoop was in the machine, I pressed the GO button until the machine traveled to the beginning point of the first star design. I stopped the machine, raised the presser foot, and then lowered and raised the needle while I held the top thread tail so I could catch and pull up the bobbin thread. (It’s helpful if you don’t cut the bobbin thread in the little cutter next to the bobbin case; just catch it and leave a tail - then you’ll have more thread to catch.)

As soon as I could see a bit of bobbin thread appear above the fabric, I used my tweezers to pull a nice long bobbin thread tail to match the top thread tail. Then I lowered the presser foot and began stitching the first star (after advancing to the bean-stitched outline first).

I held on to the thread tails while the machine stitched out the first star, moving them aside to keep them out from under the path of the presser foot.

When the design finished, the machine stopped with the needle down. I raised the needle, raised the foot and pulled the top thread until I had a nice long tail again. I clipped the thread tail at the felt, right under the needle. Then I lowered the needle into the felt, holding the top thread tail, and then raised the needle again. Pulling on the top thread tail firmly, I tugged until I got a little loop of bobbin thread pulled above the felt.

I pulled the loop nice and big, noticing which end was attached and which end could still be pulled, and then carefully clipped the end that could still be pulled right at the felt under the needle. Now I had two thread tails on top of the felt once again. With the original two I began with, that made four thread tails. That star was finished!

In moving on to the next star I quickly realized I needed to begin with a long bobbin thread tail again, so I removed the hoop and pulled a longer tail from the bobbin again. Then I repeated the same steps to complete my next star.

Once again pulling the bobbin thread up, holding the two thread tails while that star stitched, etc.

After all the stars were stitched I rough cut them out, being careful not to cut my thread tails. Then I threaded all four thread tail strands into the eye of a needle and wove the thread tails between the layers of felt to hide them, clipping off the excess.

My star was as pretty on the back as it was on the front - see, here's the back:


Two strands of Sulky’s Petites 12 wt. thread became hanging cords, attaching my pretty stars to my little flag with simple knots on the ends.

Find the Happy Day Motifs HERE - lots more pretties you can make with those designs!

I don’t know about you, but I’m seeing stars :-)

Happy Stitching, y’all!



  1. Thank you for your kind words!

  2. Thanks a bunch Evy! I always wondered how to do this and now I know:)