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!

DSC06390

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).

DSC06381

DSC06369

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).

DSC06380

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.

DSC06373

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.

DSC06377

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.

DSC06378DSC06379

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..

DSC06383

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

DSC06386DSC06387

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

RoundTT3

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

RoundTT4

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.

IMG_6336IMG_6337

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

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Have you ever made a “One Block Wonder”?  You put 6 layers of the same fabric on top of each other lining up the patterns exactly, and then cut them into triangles and sew each group of 6 triangles together into a hexagon.  It’s so much fun.

I’ve discovered a wonderful internet site with a free tool to help you in your design process:  You can find it here:

http://oneblockwonder.com/design-helper/#

Once you’re at the site, you’ll see this screen under the tab “design helper”.

OBWblog1

Just upload a photo of your fabric by pressing “Choose image” and finding it on your computer…

OBWBlog2

Then press “MAKE HEXIES”, and this is what you’ll see!

OBWblog3

The software magically changes the fabric into what the OBW quilt might be!  It’s set at the usual 3.75 inch triangle size and 40” wide fabric, but you can change those parameters if you need to.

I gave it a try with a fabric I recently made into a OBW lap size quilt. Here’s the fabric:

OBWBlog4

After uploading the jpeg, I pressed “make hexies” and this is what appeared…isn’t it fun?

OBWblog5     OBWblog6

The first screen shot is random, but the second screen shot was made when I pressed “by color”.  Then press “snapshot” to get a jpeg that you can save to your computer (right click).

I realized that the photo showed less than 40″ of my fabric, so I tried changing the parameters to about the size of the fabric on the photograph.  Let’s see if it changed the outcome:

OBW3

To compare the program’s outcome to my actual fabric quilt, here’s the OBW lap quilt on the design wall in my sewing studio…

OBWblog6a

And here’s the same OBW quilt after it was quilted and finished:

OBWblog7

Not exactly as the program’s projection, but not far off.  I had an inkling the fabric would work when I bought it, but if I had used the program it would have confirmed it worked.

In some ways the program spoils the surprise you get when cutting the fabric up into triangles and sewing them back together, which is half the fun.  But at the same time I think it helps you decide before you buy if the fabric will work.  …And when you need to buy several yards of the fabric (quite an expense), you want to be sure it will work.

Here are some more examples showing some fabrics I have on hand, and how the program says they might look as OBWs.  The original jpeg of the fabric is in the upper left-hand size (note they’ve shown where the cuts will be for triangles), and the lower section shows the triangles sewn together and how they might look when sewn together…

KaffeFassettLotusLeaf  KonaBay LAV1-09  199STrendtexFabr

The first is a Kaffe Fassett Lotus Leaf, the second is a Kona Bay fabric, and the third is a fabric by TrendTex that I’ve had for ages and didn’t think would work at all.  It actually looks  pretty good.

I’m not sure about the width of fabric and the photo.  For example, if the fabric is 40″wide, but the photo only shows 20″ of it, should I  change the parameters to 20″ instead of 40″? I’m not, but one thing do know –it’s a lot of fun to play with.  And it’s a great tool for getting some idea how the fabric will or won’t work.

For example, here’s a fabric I KNOW won’t work well –it’s too much of the same colors, doesn’t have enough movement, and the print is too small.  The photo I took was of 20”, so I changed the width of fabric in the website program to 20”.

Let’s see what the program does with it…

PhenFall

YUP, as you can see–although it’s pretty,  it doesn’t work.  It’s too much the same.

So why not take a moment to give the new website tool a try?  Take a photo of your fabric, and play.  Or if you don’t have a photo, go to their “Menu” tab where they have some sample fabrics to try.  Have fun…

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts