Customizing a Quilt Block in Embrilliance Essentials
Embrilliance Essentials is the perfect tool for customizing designs. For the Fuzzy Wuzzy Ducky Quilt appliqué blocks, the duck is appliquéd to the precut quilt block and then before unhooping, the batting and backing are attached to the bottom of the hoop and the echo quilting is added.
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For design flexibility, the echo quilting and the appliqués are separate designs in the Baby's First Quilt collection. The echo quilting designs require a 150mm x 150mm sewing field while the appliqués and the corresponding continuous quilt blocks all fit a 100mm x 100mm sewing field.
For the appliqué block in the quilt, I also skipped the hubs on the duck's wheels. While this is certainly an easy thing to do at the machine by skipping a color change, you do have to remember to do it! I prefer to do as much preliminary preparation at the computer to streamline the sewing part.
I precut all my quilt blocks for this project, cutting my blocks a little larger than necessary to allow squaring up before piecing. However, the precut blocks were not large enough to hoop in the normal manner. Instead, I chose to baste the block to the stabilizer. Suitable stabilizers include no-show mesh, wash-away fiber or wash-away tear-away.
Rather than have the machine baste, which is not an option on some machines and inconvenient on others, I prefer to add basting in software. Furthermore, I want the basting stitch to be a specific size. I want to be able to sew it first on the stabilizer so I can precisely position my block and I want to baste again to secure the block to the stabilizer.
Finally, I need to combine and potentially align the echo quilting with the appliqué. This step turns out to not be as hard as you might think. The echo quilting was created around the appliqué and the center points of the designs should precisely align.
">Now that we know what we have to do, lets see how to do it in Essentials.
- These screen shots are from the Mac version. The Windows version looks very similar. You can click the images to see a larger version.
>The designs used here are from Baby's First Quilt, which includes 10 applique designs for 100 x 100mm sewing fields, 10 continuous line coordinating quilt blocks for 100 x 100mm sewing fields, and 10 coordinating echo quilting designs for 150 x 150mm sewing fields. The collection includes an instructional PDF booklet on applique basics and full size templates for each applique design.
Step 1: Open the Design
Open the design in Essentials. I like to turn on an appropriate hoop for the final design as reference so I have the 150mm hoop selected. Even if your machine doesn't have this hoop size but it will sew an area larger then this I select a hoop for working. Keep in mind the hoop has no impact on the design, it is simply reference.
Step 2: Baste
Add a basting stitch. (Utility > Basting Stitch). Notice that Embrilliance creates the basting block right around the design and positions it behind the duck, right where we want it.
Step 3: Resize Baste
Select the basting stitch by clicking it either in the work area or in the Objects Pane and set the size to 149mm x 149mm.
If the Proportional Scaling lock is closed (locked), you may need to unlock it so that you can set both values if the baste is not already perfectly square. Be sure to press Enter after entering the value and not just tab to get to the next field.
When resizing, Essentials maintains stitch length and density (spacing) of the original design. Thus enlarging adds stitches and shrinking reduces stitches.
The basting box should now max out the sewing field area of the hoop.
This is the baste that will be sewn directly on the stabilizer.
Step 4: Make the second baste
Select the baste if it is not already selected and Copy and Paste it. You won't see a change in the work area but you will see a second black basting box in the Objects Pane at the end of the list.
Now we need to change it's color to force a stop on a single needle machine so the fabric can be placed and move it into the correct position before the duck.
Step 5. Change the Color
Double click the color swatch and pick any color that is different than the first color (black) and the first color of the duck (black).
Keep in mind you may not have to actually change thread at the machine, these color changes are simply to force the machine to stop so we don't have to remember to stop it manually.
Step 6: Move the Basting Block
Select the second baste block in the Objects Pane and right click to bring up the contextual menu and choose Move Earlier.
Alternatively, you can select and drag the object to the position you want it to sew.
Step 7. Merge the Echo design
Choose Merge Stitch File either from the File Menu or by clicking on the icon on the tool bar and select the echo quilting design.
Notice it comes in perfectly aligned.
If for some reason you accidentally move an object and can't undo, you can realign them by either dragging the objects or selecting all designs (don't do this if you have ungrouped a design!) and clicking the Center Designs in Hoop button on the tool bar.
Step 8. Check the Color Sequence
Before sewing the echo quilting at the machine, you'll need to add the batting a backing fabric under the hoop. I used fusible batting and ironed it to the backing fabric. This compressed the batting and provides a stiffer item.
I remove the hoop and pin (from the front) this section batting side toward the stabilizer on the bottom of the hoop. Make sure the pins are well outside the range of the presser foot and needle.
To get the machine to stop, check the last color of the appliqué design and make sure it is a different color than the echo quilting. To do that, click the arrow next to the design to open it and view its individual objects.
Notice that the last color is the wheel hubs. I removed these from my project block and replaced them with buttons. If you wish to do the same, select this object and press delete.
Whether you delete or not, the last color is still different from the echo quilting so at this time our design is complete.
Step 9. Save & Sew
Save both your working file and whatever format you need for your machine and you're ready to go sew!
How Easy is That?
I think you can see how easy it is to combine and customize designs in Essentials. Once you know what you want to do, the tools are there to quickly and easily just do it.
While the buttons and icons can seem overwhelming at first, if you know what you want to do, simply hover your mouse over various items to get a tooltip to help you. Essentials allows you to be creative and see the design before you sew it.
You can actually stitch it out on screen to see if it sews in the order you want it to. Give yourself some play time and you can master this "essential" embroidery tool in short order!
Don't Have Essentials?
If you don't have a good customizing program, download a free trial version of Essentials and give it a whirl. If you own a Mac, this is hands down the best program for native Mac OS without having to "do Windows."
Windows users will find the program simpler, more intuitive and less expensive than comparable programs. For video tutorials on Embrilliance products, check out my YouTube Embrilliance Playlist.
Baby's First Quilt
Baby's First Quilt is a set of appliques with coordinating quilt blocks and optional echo quilting blocks for quilts or other items. The set includes designs suitable for both boys and girls.
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- Fuzzy Wuzzy Ducky Quilt
- Tips for Machine Embroidered Applique
- Tips for Cutting Fabric Appliques with the Brother Scan n Cut
About the Author
Lindee Goodall is a veteran master digitizer who's won awards for her beautiful designs, been a guest on numerous PBS sewing shows, written articles for a variety of home and industry related magazines, and is a Craftsy instructor.
Lindee G Embroidery is her second company, following Cactus Punch, which was founded in 1994.