Looking for an adorable, easy, and quick project for a special baby gift? This quilt is just the ticket! You can finish this quilt in just two good days and it will work well for both boys and girls.
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As with the “It’s A Girl” quilt, I used a quilt-as-you-go technique for this one created with designs from Baby’s First Quilt. This means each block is appliquéd and quilted before piecing the blocks together.
Once the the quilt is pieced the only finishing required is the binding. You can watch a YouTube video on this technique here.
My finished blocks are 5 1/2″ with 1″ wide finished sashing. I appliquéd the ducks with polar fleece and at the placement step for the fabric, I inserted a piece of ribbon. I also skipped the embroidered hubs on the wheels and sewed on small black buttons.
Although you can easily skip color changes at the machine, I find it easier to delete the color altogether in a program like Embrilliance Essentials so I don’t have to remember any extra step during sewing. You might want to reconsider the buttons if you’re making this for a baby.
This quilt is relatively small, only 32″ x 32″ so it can easily fit in a carry bag. To make it bigger, just add more blocks!
I modified the designs somewhat for this project. For example, I used Art and Stitch from Artistitch to add the echo quilting to the duck. I also enlarged the quilt block 130%. Although not part of the original collection, after making this project I have created echo quilting designs for each of the appliqués and added them to the original collection.
The echo quilting blocks do require a 150mm x 150mm sewing field while all the other designs in this collection fit a 100x100mm sewing field.
In this blog post, I’ll show you how to appliqué with templates and how I created the blocks for the quilt. You’re on your own putting the quilt together but you can see the process in the YouTube video for the It’s a Girl quilt.
HOW TO APPLIQUE
This collection includes full-size PDF templates and instructions on how to appliqué. Here’s my favorite method for machine embroidered appliqué.
WORKING WITH TEMPLATES
The included templates are for pre-cutting your fabric pieces. Using pre-cut appliqués saves sewing time since you don’t have to stop the machine to trim away excess fabric. Also, using precisely cut appliqué pieces gives a more professional result—no more pokies!
To use the included PDF templates, my favorite method is to lightly fuse a piece of fusible tearaway to a piece of printer paper. Just a quick hit with a dry iron across the top and bottom 1/2″ is enough to secure it.
I use Sulky Totally Stable; the 8″ wide rolls make it easy to whack of an 11″ piece that fits the printer paper. You can also use freezer wrap for this.
Make sure you print at actual size from Acrobat! The program often wants to shrink the page to the printable area. If you don’t print at Page Scaling: None, your templates will not be the right size.
Loosely cut out appliqué pieces and then fuse to the frontof your fabric. If your fabric cannot tolerate heat (like fleece); use a TESA (temporary embroidery spray adhesive) to adhere the template. I prefer the fused templates because they are less likely to shift during cutting.
Depending on your fabric, the next step is to apply a fusible web product. My favorite is Steam-A-Seam II from the Warm Company.
This product is a double stick pressure sensitive. Peel off one protective sheet and lightly fuse it to the back of your fabric.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE TEMPLATES OR RESIZE THE DESIGN?
Obviously if you resize the applique design, the templates will no longer be accurate. And you can’t just size them by the same percentage as the design for an accurate result.
Instead, you’ll need to remake the template. This is an easy customizing job and can be done with just about any applique design.
Simply open the design in a customizing program like Embrilliance Essentials, isolate the placement line(s) and delete the other stitches. If the placement lines overlap, ungroup the designs and move the sections apart. Print at actual size!
A full step-by-step tutorial is included here: Creating an Applique Template with Embrilliance Essentials.
This step requires care and precision. If you don’t cut your pieces accurately, the machine may not catch the fabric or you may have excess fabric exposed on the outside edge of the satin stitch.
Cut each piece just to the outside edge of the printed line. The printed line is the exact same line as will be stitched on your hooped fabric for a placement guide.
AT THE MACHINE
In a basic appliqué, the first color stop is a placement guide. This is simply a run a stitch that outlines an alignment guide for placing the appliqué. In this collection, the placement guide is most often colored black in the stitch file.
This is because on some machines, if there are consecutive color stops of the same color, the machine mergers the colors and just won’t stop.
I most often use the same thread that will cover the fabric edges. Refer to the color guide for actual colors. Also, do pick colors that go with your fabrics!
Carefully place your appliqué piece(s) within the stitching line. The fabric should just cover the stitching line.
If you used a fusible web, use an appliqué iron or mini iron to tack the fabric into place within the center of the appliqué. Don’t overly fuse the edges at this point.
On my quilt, I added a short piece of ribbon underneath the appliqué, holding it in place with short, narrow pieces of Steam-a-Seam II.
The next color stop is the tack-down and possible the cover stitching. I prefer a zigzag tack-down because it catches the fabric better and it is less likely to push the fabric out of place during stitching. Watch the machine and manually stop the machine after the tack down and check your work.
If there is any fabric sticking out beyond the tack down or if any fabric fibers have been released, now is the time to trim them so they aren’t exposed after the final cover stitching.
For the quilt, after the applique is completed, I added a piece of backing fabric with a square of fusible batting applied sliding it under the hooped design before stitching the echo quilting.
RECREATING THE QUILT BLOCKS
Because I was working from my stash and had limited fabric quantities, I precut my quilt blocks to 8″ square before embroidering. The means the blocks were too small to hoop.
To accommodate the blocks, I hooped Sulky Soft and Sheer (no show mesh) for the appliquéd blocks. You could also use Sulky Fabri-Solvy (water soluble fiber) for the stabilizer.
For the appliqué blocks, I hooped the stabilizer, stitched the basting line as a placement guide, placed the top fabric and then basted again. Once the duck was appliquéd to the top fabric, I slid the backing fabric with a fusible batting applied to id under the hoop and stitched the echo quilting.
For the quilted blocks, I resized the quilting design up 130% resulting in a design slightly smaller than 5″ square. I prepared the fabric by fusing a layer of batting between the backing fabric and top fabric.
Although this is technically not an “approved” hooping method, I found that my 130 x 180″ hoop was just small enough to catch the sides of the my quilt sandwich block.
Since the design is not going to cause a lot a distortion, I sewed successfully embroidered the design with no extra stabilizer.
If this had not been the case, I would have hooped Sulky Fabri-Solvy and just pinned the quilt sandwich block to the stabilizer keeping the pins well outside the stitching area.
Depending on your machine tensions, you may find that if you use a different thread color in the needle, it will appear solid or nearly so on the back of your quilt.
PREPARING THE DESIGNS:
- Open the appliqué design in a customizing program like Embrilliance Essentials and add a basting stitch. You’ll notice Essentials places the baste at the beginning of stitch sequence in black. With the basting block selected, resize it to 149 x 149mm.
- Copy and paste the basting block, change it’s color (to force a stop), and move it behind the duck.
- Import echo quilting. Make sure it is a different color than the last color of your appliqué design.
A full step-by-step tutorial is included here: Customizing a Quilt Block in Embrilliance Essentials
Centering all the designs (2 basting blocks, 1 appliqué, 1 echo quilting) should reposition all the parts properly if you accidentally get one out of alignment. The different colors are to cause your machine to stop.
The first basting block is sewn directly on the hooped stabilizer. The second one attaches the top block fabric to the stabilizer.
When the machine finishes the appliqué and before it starts to sew the echo quilting, position the batting and backing fabric on the back side of hoop, aligning it with the top block. Pin to hold in place keeping the pins well outside the stitching area.
ABOUT THE COLLECTION
Baby’s First Quilt embroidery collection includes ten 100 x 100mm applique designs, ten 100 x 100mm coordinating continuous line quilt blocks, and ten 150 x 150mm (only included with formats that support this size or larger).
It also includes full-size printable applique templates and instructions for applique. The quilt pattern is not included. The first 100 downloads gets all this for only 83 cents per design!
Not shown above are the newly added echo quilting designs.
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- Creating an Applique Template with Embrilliance Essentials
- Tips for Machine Embroidered Applique
- Tips for Cutting Fabric Appliques with the Brother Scan n Cut