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Continuous Embroidery

The Advanced Embroiderer’s Bucket List

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The Advanced Embroiderer’s Bucket List

  1. Continuous embroidery

    Since we love embroidery, we also love LOTS of embroidery!  Filling a border or quilt strip with continuous embroidery is number one on the advanced embroiderer’s bucket list.  There are several ways to attack connecting designs end to end but they all result in the same great look – luscious colorful stitches, stacked end to end.  Read more here on how to connect designs, end to end on any machine.

  2. Linked Embroidery  Linked embroidery takes continuous embroidery one step further. Linked embroidery is when you want to take a single design and turn it into something like this.Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogEileen's Machine Embroidery BlogEileen's Machine Embroidery BlogLinked embroidery involves overlapping the designs in a continuous and predictable pattern.  Again, there are a few ways to do this but one of my favorite techniques is explained here: watch another technique here:!
  3. Continuous AppliqueEileen's Machine Embroidery BlogThe wave border on the Seashell quilt is made of two fabrics: the quilt top is white and the appliqué is the blue batik– both are 43” long.  A fun but challenging technique, continuous appliqué gives the illusion of a giant hoop when in reality it’s multi-hooping on a home embroidery machine. It’s a quite a bit easier with a flat magnetic hoop like Snap-Hoop but here’s how you do in a standard hoop:
  4. Stitch a matching set of terrycloth towels.Eileen's Machine Embroidery BlogIt always cracks me up when a brand new embroiderer tells me she bought an embroidery machine so she could monogram towels. I know it looks so simple but boy can it stymie the best of us. Let’s break it down: terrycloth is bulky, loopy and easily damaged by pulls; life expectancy is long and includes frequent laundering; plus towels comes in sets that are expected to be exact replicas of each other and coordinate with other items (hand and bath towels, shower curtains, trash can liners, etc).
  5. Embroider a RibbonEileen's Machine Embroidery BlogNow that you’ve stitched a perfectly-matched set of towels, wrap them in tulle and swaddle them with an embroidered ribbon. If that doesn’t scream personalized – then nothing does!  Select a sheer ribbon, use water soluble stabilizer and hoop on a cutting mat to get the ribbon square in the hoop. Add a personalized message and voila! Instant gift card!
  6. Reverse appliquéEileen's Machine Embroidery BlogHow do you do reverse appliqué? Add the appliqué fabric to the wrong side of the garment and trim the garment away.  Sounds scary but if you’ve mastered ordinary appliqué then this is a no-brainer.
  7. CutworkEileen's Machine Embroidery BlogIt’s beautiful, timeless and time-consuming. Each opening is cut away by hand before the beautiful satin stitches are added.  But oh wait, it’s not that time consuming anymore. Today, your machine can transform with a cutting device.  Learn how Bernina and Baby Lock and Brother 10-needle owners do it.
  8. Insert a Zipper with the Embroidery MachineEileen's Machine Embroidery BlogMany sewists struggle with inserting a zipper between two pieces of fabric.  No wonder, it can be a daunting task.  If you use your embroidery machine, be confident that you’ll get professional results. Just remember to keep the zipper tab AWAY from the embroidery foot. Download the zipper design here.
  9. Design and stitch an embroidery layout for a jacket (front bodice or jacket back and other details such as collar points, cuffs, hemline, etc). You’ll have to rely on your fashion design skills to pull this off. Keep in mind that wherever the embroidery is placed, you’re bringing added attention to that area of the figure. All fashion should be flattering so if the embroidery is going to accent a figure flaw, then change it up! Frame the face, create long, slimming vertical lines or sprinkle designs delicately across the canvas.  Have fun but remember, you’re trying to improve the jacket.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  10. You tell me. What did I overlook? If you need a refresher on the newbie and intermediate bucket lists, just click here and here.   Leave a comment and tell me what task you think should be added to the Advanced Embroiderer’s Bucket List.  The winner will receive Stitcher’s Hardware with a Feminine Twist.

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

I’d love to hear how you use appliqué – is it for beauty or function? Leave a comment and you could win a copy of Applique FUNdamentals.

The winner is…Diane Crane  “I use applique for both beauty and function.  I especially love making baby items that are both beautiful and useful, such as burp cloths, baptismal blankets, and sweet onesies.”

Congratulations Diane!





  • Sarah

    I quilt and love to use appliqué, I use it for both beauty and function. I save scraps from quilts in case of accidental tears or rips, the saved scraps of fabric can be used to patch the tear or rip. Pieces of scraps can be sew in behind the quilt label just for such accidents. Machine applique quilts are beautiful and quick.

  • Helen Dyckson

    Continuous embroidery seems like a challenge to me, although I want to try it. It looks so beautiful on garments. Also my husband has a cowboy hat and he wants me to embroider his Army unit on a ribbon to put around it.

  • Dell

    You can also do buttonholes in the hoop, plain or there are really cute designed ones available.

    • eileenroche

      You’re right, Dell, buttonholes are a must and we listed them on the Intermediate’s Bucket List.

  • Carol Seavitt

    Mirror matching. Love the designs alignment tool; BUT, getting the design to match perfectly is still a challenge that I haven’t been able to accomplish as an intermediate. Throwing it over to the expert side now.

  • Clem

    Profit of these nine items I have done…….none….yup, I admit it….I have been afraid…hesitant, leary, and more that I cannot think of right now. I would love to try any and all….hummmmm…do I have fabric stash? Practice towels?… YES! Ok, no more excuses….gotta try these. I have monogrammed a set of towels, but it was easy. I used the built in designs on my machine, added ribbon where the natural band was and Voila! Mistakes did not show!
    Oh yeah! I also did a jacket back for construction workers…the “slight” mismatch did not show unless the guys stood side by side. (company name, excavator, city, phone number).

  • Clem

    Oops….auto correct and did not self check…*profit should read…out of…..sorry! Lol

  • Liz Fox

    You are so great to get us out of our comfort zones. I have to admit, though, I am still early in Bucket List for Beginners, so I have a long way to go. The continuous sort of scares me because I think I’ll be 3/4 of the way through it and then goof big-time. I like the idea of adding separate material so in case I blow it, I haven’t wrecked my item. (That’s why I embroider the pockets to go on totes.

  • Debbie

    Clubs and Classes are a great help to customize you to a variety of items you might not have tried on your own.

    I took a class in the early 90’s before embroidery machines were made easier. We embroidered on air for cutwork and battenburg lace with water soluble stabilizer. We did a reverse applique design on a sweatshirt.

    I used various pre-programed designs that included a zipper, embroidery on towels, and greeting cards. I made a lanyard for a graduate embroidering on ribbon. Did the continuous embroidery on the side of jeans. Embroidered an antique car on two jackets for a friend from a photo.

  • Nancy N

    How weird to find out I am somewhat advanced! Guess it was all of those Designs in Machine Embroidery magazines I have read!

  • MarciaW

    Though I am far away from the advanced list, I would think that monograms on the V (corner on the diagonal) of linen napkins and tablecloth so all are uniform might be somewhat advanced.

  • Judy Wentz

    Although I am fairly new to machine embroidery, I have no excuse for not trying some of the thinks on the advanced bucket list. I just finished watching your Craftsy lessons on Machine Embroidered quilts. It is excellent! I am on vacation right now, but plan to try to make the Embroidered quilt that you included the pattern for in the class. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn more about machine embroidery. Just a very satisfied customer.

    • eileenroche

      Hi Judy! Welcome to the blog and thank you for taking the Craftsy class. It’s quite fun over there on Craftsy!

  • Gail Beam

    I have never done continuous buttonholes in the hoop, although I have done some single ones. I have yet to try a continuous design. lol

  • Beth R

    Embroidery on unique fabrics or materials, such as on ultra-suede or silk or other fabric that requires special consideration in selection of the design or the stabilizer. If the fabric cannot be washed, for example, but you are doing a cutwork design on it, using heat-dissolvable stabilizer is an option. Or using specialty threads to create texture or special effects.

    • eileenroche

      Oh my, the Advanced List could be so much more complicated when you add unique fabrics. Thank for the reminder, Beth!

  • Pam

    Use of the embroidery machine to create bobbin work on various items.

    • eileenroche

      Excellent suggestion, Pam! Thanks for adding it to the list.

  • judy williamson

    Everything except basic embroidery is advanced to me! I can’t wait until I retire and can try all of these and more. I still haven’t tried cut-work or in-the-hoop designs yet. I have designs for both but am hesitant about trying.

  • judy

    I would like to begin with applique for baby items. Since I have a mega hoop for my Designer 1 would like to do baby quilt with the little to do things on them but do as much as can be done in hoop.

    Done a few towels with Monogram issues with getting the backing and topping off wwithout pulling the towel out of shape. Suggestions appreciated. Judy

  • nancy

    I think unique fabrics is a good addition to the list. I would also like to learn more about bobbin works — best threads, etc. I seem to be using thread that is really too heavy. Thanks. Nancy

  • Donna G.

    Another great “bucket list”! I’ve been machine embroidering for years and continue to be amazed at the innovations and ideas. I’ve just started trying my hand at embroidered cutwork and so far I love the results. I’ve signed up for your class at Craftsy and can’t wait to get started on that! I have your book Machine Embroidered Quilting and Applique in my sewing library, and think this will complement the Craftsy class nicely. Thanks Eileen for your continued enthusiasm for, and commitment to, machine embroidery!

  • Jane Anderson

    I really need to do more with embroidery buttonholes. My latest project included embellishing fabric photos with digitized designs. I made nametags for a bus trip that included several different types of media techniques including embroidery.
    Jane in KS

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  • Lori E

    I’d like to try couching with the embroidery machine. I love the look of couched yarns and trims, but haven’t actually found many designs suitable for use with an embroidery machine.

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