DIY Four Circle Table Topper with Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment

DIY Four Circle Table Topper with Bernina Circular Embroidery Attachment

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!

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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).

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

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Iron the flaps down and use your favorite decorative stitch around each edge of the flaps (petals) to finish.

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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

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What’s nice about this pattern is the quilting is done as you go, and the back is as interesting as the front…

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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.

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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,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Chickadee Mountain View Art Quilt

Chickadee Mountain View Art Quilt

I’ve been wanting to create a second art quilt using a pattern by McKenna Ryan as the inspiration.  It’s a peaceful mountain scene featuring a branch in the foreground with Chickadees.

The challenge for me was to try to find just the right fabrics for each portion of the scene by auditioning them one by one.  I wanted choose the best fabric to give  the contrast needed in the composition.

I started by creating the background, including the borders (so that the branch could be appliqued to extend into the borders.

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Then I draw each part of the landscape onto a sheet of Seam-a-Steam 2 Lite.  (I’m so glad this product is back on the market again.)  I love it because it a double-faced fusible that has paper on both sides.  You peel one side off, and it’s “sticky” so it clings to the fabric you want to use, but it repositionable.  Then you fuse it with the iron, and wait for it to cool down before cutting and peeling off the second paper to fuse it to the background.

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I started with the background and then cut and fused the individual items to it, starting with those furthest back and ending with those closest to the foreground.

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I “auditioned” several fabrics before deciding on which ones to use, and which ones didn’t work.

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The log cabin and trees were fun to pull together.  For the chickadees, I created each bird separately and fused the pieced together as one and then set and fused them to the branches.

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Here’s the chickadee & log cabin after they’ve been quilted with a bit of thread painting.

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After everything was fused down, I quilted and thread painted with different colors of thread.  My favorites are Aurofil and Sulky Blendables.

Here’s the result after quilting and binding.

 

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I immediately put it for sale in my Etsy shop, and it’s been sold and is on it’s way to it’s new home in Toronto, Ontario.

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

The Process…

Creating a landscape or art quilt is a little intimidating…because I’m never quite sure how it will turn out.  Sometimes I get “stuck” trying to think of an idea, or imaging the fabrics I’ll use.  So I tend to procrastinate instead and make another baby quilt (much easier because it’s so much more predictable).

So, to get inspired,  I went through a bunch of my photos one night last week and pulled up several that just might make a good landscape project.  So, I decided to start with this one…

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I took this photo last fall when we were taking a hike at Aztalan State Park, near Lake Mills, in Wisconsin.  There was something about the bright reds in the foreground, and the depth, that really appealed to me…

Using the photo as a starting point, I started pulling out all my fabrics.  I have bins full of fabrics–some that I’ve hand-dyed over the years, some purchased, … all sorted by color.  It takes hours to go through them and  pick out ones might work–and makes quite a mess!  But it’s fun.

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Then comes cutting.  After laying down the background fabrics (I found just the right blue/greysky & hand dyed green for the grass), I decided to cut up “confetti” with my rotary cutter for all the fabrics I’ll use for the bushes and tree leaves.

Here’s the tray full of little bits of fabrics in a range of colors…

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After that, I started sprinkling the fabric “confetti” onto the background fabrics, a little at a time–moving them around with a sharp stiletto.  You have to be sure to add lights and darks to make the landscape come to life and look more like the real thing.

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After it’s just so…I have to cover the area I’m working with a mesh fabric (tulle) and pin it heavily before taking it to the sewing machine–so all the little pieces don’t fall out…

Once there, I set up my machine for free-motion quilting with cotton variegated thread (I love the Sulky Blendables) and quilt through all the layers to make sure all those little pieces stay where I want them to!

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Each area (the foreground, the tree and bushes on the left, and the tree on the right) have to be “sprinkled” and sewed separately.

Aztalan State Park has stockades that were put up (like telephone poles) to simulate what the area was like when the Mississippians lived there 900-1200 AD.  To create the detail, I decided to cut a strip of fabric into tiny logs and place each one by hand .  I think it made a difference.

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Here’s a close-up of cutting the fabric “logs” and placing them on the fabric background.

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And a close-up of the trees…see the “confetti” under the mesh tulle?

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Photo of the free-hand quilting over the leaf fabric in the foreground.

Clean up

Have to keep my cleaning wand close at hand!

It’s a messy job…so many little bits of fabric get everywhere!

After several days of working at it, it was finally finished.

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But I felt something was missing …  So I added some flying geese.

After binding, hand stitching the back, adding a label and a hanging sleeve, it was finally finished…

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This will be uploaded for sale at my Etsy Shop sometime this week-end!

Come see it at Mulberry Patch Quilts.