Embroidery, Quilting, Sewing - Tips & Hints, Inspiration

Ideas for Heirloom Inspired Quilt Blocks

This heirloom-inspired quilt features warm, tone-on-tone fabrics and threads, providing a monochromatic, vintage appearance.  Machine embroidery, along with a variety of decorative stitching techniques have embellished the quilt blocks.  Fabrics used in the quilt are dupioni silk, cotton, batiste, silk organza and cotton organdy.  Rayon, cotton and metallic threads provide added interest throughout the entire piece.  Read on for more details about five different techniques used in this quilt.

Skill
Monochromatic Heirloom Quilt

Tip #1:  Embroidered Quilting

Use an embroidery machine to effortlessly create the look of stipple quilting!  Some SINGER® embroidery machine models feature this “stippling design” as one of the many included embroideries!  This design, shown in the four corners and in the center of our quilt, was stitched using rayon thread in the top of the machine for a softer sheen, with bobbin fill thread in the bobbin.  If you prefer a more matte look instead, use an all-purpose thread in place of the rayon.  

To embroider the quilt square, hoop lightweight cotton or silk dupioni along with a backing of light weight batting or even flannel, which helps to give the finished block a bit of loft. 

Before embroidering the design, select the “baste-in-hoop” feature to have the machine sew a removable basting stitch around the entire design area, to help further secure the fabric and backing together and prevent shifting during embroidery.

The “stipple” embroidery design shown on our quilt can be found among the included designs of the following SINGER® embroidery machine models:

  • SINGER® | Futura™ XL-420 and XL-580 sewing and embroidery machines
  • SINGER® | Legacy™ SE300 and SE340 sewing and embroidery machines
  • SINGER® | Superb™ EM200 embroidery-only machine

Embroidered Quilt in High Contrast Stitching

Stitching on cotton fabric with high contrast thread, to illustrate technique

 

Tip #2:  3D Embroidery

Add more interest to your quilt blocks

with three-dimensional embroidery!  These floral designs were embroidered on silk organza, then attached to the quilt using a button as the flower center.  Rayon thread was used in both the top of the machine and bobbin for the embroidery, since the thread is visible on both sides. 

3D Embroidery Flowers

Hoop a water soluble stabilizer such as INSPIRA® Aqua Magic™ Wash-A-Way stabilizer.  Hoop the stabilizer alone, then place the organza (un-hooped) on top of the stabilizer.  Select the “baste-in hoop” feature to help hold the fabric and stabilizer together. 

Since the floral designs used on the quilt shown were digitized specifically as appliques, the machine will stitch the outline only of the flower and stop, giving you the opportunity to trim away the organza from around the outside of the flower shape before stitching the rest of the applique stitches.

When the flower design is finished embroidering, remove from the hoop, trim away excess fabric stabilizer from around the flower, then rinse the flower to remove any remaining stabilizer.  When all the flowers are thoroughly dry, they can be applied to your quilt block.

For added interest on our quilt, the fabric of some main blocks was first embroidered with a coordinating embroidery design, and then the various flowers were placed on top of these embroidered blocks.

3D Embroidery Flowers with Embroidery Background

 

Tip #3:  Monochromatic vs. Full Color Embroidery

Embroidery designs are often seen stitched out in exciting, vibrant colors. However, the very same designs can take on a whole new look by sewing them in either all one color, or in colors very similar to one another. This will result in a very sophisticated, elegant appearance. Many of the designs on our quilt are floral designs that are typically sewing with green leaves and colorful petals, but they take on a more vintage, heirloom appearance when stitched with a more monochromatic color palette. Experiment with your embroidery designs to find the combination that appeals most to your design aesthetic.

Full Color vs Monochromatic Embroidery

 

Tip #4:  Twin Needle Stitching

A twin needle can be used to create interesting texture in fabric, further adding to a vintage, heirloom appearance.  Sew intersecting rows of tucks for interesting texture on the fabric!  This technique works best with lightweight fabrics such as batiste, silk, and organdy.

Twin Needle Stitching on Quilt

Twin needles are available in wide range of sizes for various applications, but for the blocks on our featured quilt, a 2mm twin needle was used along with a Pintuck Foot. When sewing with a twin needle, the Pintuck Foot creates evenly-spaced, raised tucks in the fabric. The foot has a series of evenly-spaced grooves on the underside which allows for perfectly parallel rows of raised tucks that will not be flattened when sewn. Increase the upper thread tension or add a cord for more pronounced tucks. 

Twin Needle and Pintuck Foot

 

Tip #5:  Decorative Machine Stitching

Most machines have a selection of decorative stitches that can be used for embellishment, but many of these stitches offer opportunities for even more versatility.  For example:

  • Try using a topstitching needle and a 30wt or 12wt cotton thread to give stitches more dimension.  When sewing decorative stitches with thicker threads, use simple “open” stitches and avoid very dense, satin-type stitches. 
  • Use metallic threads for a little extra bling!  Try sewing a Blanket Stitch or a Ladder Stitch on your main fabric, then use a tapestry needle to weave a narrow ribbon in and out of the stitches!
  • Use a Hemstitching needle (sometimes called a Wing needle) to create small holes in the fabric – a technique commonly used for heirloom sewing.  The Hemstitching needle is typically used with the Entredeux stitch, but experiment with other “open” stitches to create unique effects.

Decorative Machine Stitching on Quilt