Freehand Embroidery

Freehand EmbroideryFreehand embroidery can make stunning accents on collars, pocket flaps, cuffs and lapels or can be used to create a very wearable jacket or vest.

Instead of a layer of batting between layers, I prefer one layer of baby-weight cotton flannel which has been preshrunk in hot water and put under a hot air dryer.

Because the embroidery process shrinks up the fabric a bit as it quilts, cut out the garment from the pattern pieces, cutting 1 inch beyond the cutting line all around the pattern piece.

Each piece will have 4 layers:

  • fashion fabric
  • cotton flannel
  • cotton lining
  • ¬†and lightweight stabilizer

-Create a sandwich with the fashion fabric on the outside, followed by a layer of the cotton flannel, then a layer of soft cotton and finally a layer of lightweight stabilizer.

-In addition to hand basting layers together around the perimeter of the cut-out pieces with long hand basting stitches; secure layers together with two rows of diagonal stitches which intersect in the middle of the piece.

-Unless you are following the design on the face of the fabric for embroidery, inexperienced free motion quilters can benefit from a drawn out design on the right side of the fabric (air-erasable pens work well here).

-If you want a very pronounced design, use a thicker thread on top of the machine and regular thread in the bobbin.

-Switch to a topstitching needle ‘N’ needle, which has a larger coated eye that prevents the thread from shredding.

-Tighten the top tension to #5.

-Lower the feed dog and put on the darning foot.

-Slide the 4-layer fabric sandwich under the darning foot with the stabilizer against the lowered feed dogs and the fashion fabric on top facing you.

-Even though lowering the darning foot will not hold the fabric securely in position, the foot must be lowered for the stitch to form properly.

-Turn the hand wheel and bring both threads to the top.

-Knot the 2 threads by hand and then create 6 machine knots in place before starting the embroidery process.

-Cut off the ends of the thread so that they will not get caught in the stitches.

-Depress foot pedal full throttle and begin moving the fabric under the needle.

-Even though the machine is sewing very fast, move your fabric slowly or your stitches will get too long.

-With practice, you will get the hang of it.

-After all machine work is completed, pull off the stabilizer.

-Overlay the pattern piece onto all of the embroidered pieces.

-Cut pieces to size and proceed with garment construction.