I’ve been eyeing a special attachment for my Bernina sewing machine for quite some time. I was at Mill House Quilts in Waunakee this past week, where they have all the newest Bernina sewing machines along with a great assortment of attachments and feet. Then I saw it, they had it in stock!, so I finally decided to buy it — the Circular Embroidery Attachment. (cue the trumpets) Ta da!
I have lots of ideas of how I want to use the attachment (none of which included embroidery–hehe), so I got online to find a few YouTube videos to visually see how to attach it to my machine and how they used it. Here are some great links if you’re interested:
The attachment comes with 2 screws and a nifty small screwdriver, and attaches to the bed of my machine with one screw in the hole on the right of my pressure foot. One video suggested taping the other end near the pin to be sure it doesn’t wiggle (which I did—see blue painter’s tape in the second photo below).
There’s a sharp pin under that plastic nob on the left of the tape (see above). You carefully take off that plastic bit and poke the center of your fabric through the sharp pin and replace the plastic bit, and that’s all there is to it. You place the fabric under the pressure foot and “step on the gas” and it glides around in a circular pattern all on its own with little help from you. You do need to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t wrinkle and bunch up, but if you’re doing the project I’m doing, it’s not necessary. The directions recommend using a open embroidery type foot, but since I’ll be sewing through a few layers with batting I’m using my walking foot.
The pin is on a sliding mechanism so that you can adjust the size of the circle you want to sew. The distance between the pin and your needle x 2 = the size of the diameter of the circle. So for this particular project, I measured and slid the pin at a distance from the needle so the circles would measure around 8-1/2 to 9 inches.
So here’s my first project using the Circular Embroidery Attachment – A Four Circle Table Topper.
I went through my stash of unused layer cake squares and chose 8 coordinating fabrics (4 peach/pink and 4 mint green), and cut 4 squares of batting to match.
Then I layered them starting with the batting on the bottom, mint fabric face up, then peach/pink fabric face down (so the 2 fabrics are right sides together).
Line them all up and use your ruler to find the center and mark a dot lightly with a water soluble marker (or other washable mark). Then take it all over to your sewing machine and put the pin of the circular embroidery attachment through all the layers at that center mark and feed the right end (edge) of the fabric under the pressure foot.
It’s so easy! It walks (sews) itself around in a perfect circle and comes back to exactly where it was started. LOVE IT!
Here’s my short (very short) YouTube video showing how it works on my machine…(my very first one)…
After trimming around the edges with a pinking shears (or pinking rotary cutter if you have one), you cut a small slit along an edge being sure to only cut the top fabric. Be sure the cut slit is in a spot where the fabric will eventually be folded over (so the it will be hidden). Then turn the circle inside-out, using a blunt ended tool (like a bamboo paper folder, purple-thang, or bamboo skewer) to be sure all the edges are nice and crisp, and press. OH, you might want to use a tiny bit of water to get rid of the water soluble mark you made in the center…you don’t want to permanently heat set it into the fabric with your iron.
Use a ruler and a water soluble marker or chalk, draw a square box within the finished circle (being sure that the cut slit falls beyond the square in the outer edge (see top of the photo below). Each of the corners of the square should just touch the edge of the circle. I was lucky enough that my square ruler was a perfect fit.
After making four of these, place them on a flat surface and see what arrangement you like best, turning up two edges on each one to expose the fabric underneath… it’s important that the “flap” that has the cut (used to turn them right side out) is in one of the seams so it’s covered. Then it’s similar to sewing a 4 patch together—Take the 2 upper circles and match them BACK to BACK using the drawn lines as a sewing guide, pin, and sew them together edge to edge, do the same with the lower 2. Then sew the top 2 with the bottom 2 and it will look something like this..
Iron the flaps down and use your favorite decorative stitch around each edge of the flaps (petals) to finish.
I chose a blanket stitch in green variegated thread, but you could opt to use a straight stitch, any decorative stitch, or just tack the flaps at each center point. You could even hand sew them down if you wanted to. You need to at least tack them down (or sew them) to be sure that the cut you made to turn the circles inside out is completely covered.
And here it is, all finished
What’s nice about this pattern is the quilting is done as you go, and the back is as interesting as the front…
So it’s completely reversible.
And no worries if you don’t have the attachment…you can create these table toppers by tracing a circle (using a platter or template) onto the fabric and carefully sewing on the line. That will work, but I’ve found this is a time saver, I can make any size circle, and just looks a bit better too.
I think they make a wonderful gift—Mother’s Day is coming up.
So I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and that you’ll try making a reversible 4-circle table topper. I have them for sale in my Mulberry Patch Quilts Etsy Shop if you’d like to purchase one instead, along with lots of other ideas for Mother’s Day.
I’ll be posting other ideas for using my Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment in the future…hope you’ll come back again! And be sure to post a comment below on how you use your circular attachment—any tips or ideas?
Until next time,
Mulberry Patch Quilts