We are so excited to have partnered with OESD Embroidery to release our first ever machine embroidery collection, Scout! Scout by Cotton+Steel is comprised of 31 designs, including mix and match patch designs that let you create your own fun patches, as well as 3 large statement designs in two sizes.
note: designs not to relative scale
We wanted Scout to give you tons of creative possibilities, so we made the patch borders and the patch designs separate files. This means you can stack them to make patches, or use them independently to make all sorts of things (follow along on Instagram for lots of inspiration!).
Today we are going to focus on the patches, and share a full tutorial for the best way we’ve found to create patches using Scout.
HOW TO MAKE EMBROIDERED PATCHES
To make embroidered patches, first pick a patch border and a center design. There are two sizes of patch borders (3″ and 1.5″) and two shapes in each size (round and hexie). Designs 7-18 fit in the larger 3″ patch borders, and designs 19-27 fit inside the smaller borders.
- Patch background fabric (quilting cotton – our basics work great!)
- Patch backing fabric (quilting cotton – our basics work great!)
- Cotton+Steel Thread in colors indicated by thread chart (thread chart comes with your embroidery files!)
- Water soluble stabilizer (we used OESD StitcH20 WashAway)
- Sewable lightweight fusible web (we used OESD SoftWeb)
- Heavyweight fusible web / sealant (we used OESD Fuse and Sew CutAway)
- Scout by Cotton+Steel embroidery files
- applique scissors (not required but super helpful!)
- Embroidery machine and hoop (we are using a BERNINA 560)
Cut a piece of patch background fabric and backing fabric, both about 6″ square (this does not have to be exact, or even pretty.) Cut a 6″ square of SoftWeb.
Following manufacturers instructions, fuse web to wrong side of background fabric. Peel off paper.
Place backing fabric with wrong side against glue. You’re basically making a double sided fabric sandwich. Press to fuse. (note: you could use the same fabric for background and backing if you want!)
Cut two pieces of water soluble stabilizer and hoop them as a double layer. (Hoop size will vary depending on your machine, but the patches fit in about an 80mm-120mm hoop. For BERNINA machines you can use the 100×130 hoop.)
MAKE THE PATCH BACKGROUND
**Note: because of the wide range of machines out there, stitchouts scenarios will all look a little different. The BERNINA 560 can stitch/edit one design at a time, so we will be stitching out the border first, then the center. If your machine can combine designs, by all means combine the border and the center and stitch it all out together. Just make sure that you layer them so that the border stitches out first!**
Thread your machine and your bobbin with the color you would like the patch border to be. Load the border file of your choice and center it.
You’ll notice it has three thread ‘colors’ in the file. These aren’t actual color changes, they are steps in the freestanding applique process that will create the patch background.
Stitch out color one into the stabilizer. This is the placement mark.
Put your prepped fabric on top of the mark facing up. It will just be kinda floating on top of the stabilizer. Make sure it extends over all the edges of the placement mark.
Stitch through color two, gently keeping your hands on the fabric so that it doesn’t shift around. If your machine allows you to use the foot pedal in embroidery mode, this is a great time to use it for extra control.
The fabric is now attached to the stabilizer. Remove the hoop from the machine and carefully trim the fabric as close to the stitching as your can, without cutting the stabilizer. It’s ok if you even accidentally cut some of the outer stitches. Applique scissors are really useful for this! Do NOT take the stabilizer out of the hoop, everything has to stay in the exact same place for the next step.
Put the hoop back into the machine and stitch through color 3. This will create a beautiful satin edge.
EMBROIDER THE PATCH
Leaving the hoop in the machine, load your center design of choice and center it. If both your background and design are centered in the hoop, the placement should be pretty close, but use whatever positioning aids your machine has to make sure you are happy with where the design will stitch out on the patch. The BERNINA 560 has Absolute Check, which will toggle through all four corners of the design and show needle placement for each, and let you nudge the design around if you want.
Stitch out the center design, following color change prompts.
Now you can take your patch out of the hoop. Trim any jump stitches if necessary and cut it out of the stabilizer.
Rinse the patch to get rid of excess stabilizer. It helps to gently squeeze/pinch the dense thread bits under the water to make sure it’s flushing out all the stabilizer.
Let the patch dry. It might dry all wrinkly – that’s ok! Just press it from both sides with lots of steam to flatten.
FINISH THE PATCH
Trace the patch onto the paper side of the Fuse and Sew Cutaway.
Cut out the circle a little bit inside the lines.
Place the circle with glue side down against back of patch and press, following manufacturer’s instructions.
When cool, peel paper away.
Admire your new patch!
HOW TO MAKE FUSSY CUT PATCHES
You can use just the border files from Scout to make some awesome fussy cut patches from your favorite fabrics! The process is mostly the same as above, with one small difference that helps you get a perfect fussy cut placement.
First, prep your fabric and stablizer the same way, and stitch out the placement mark.
Using a water soluble or washable glue stick, dab some glue over your chosen motif. (We are using this glue stick.)
Place your patch fabric under the hooped stabilizer, and use the stitched border to place your motif. If you need to, you can hold it up against a window to see it better. Remember that the satin edge will take out another 1/8″ or so from inside the circle. When you’re happy with the placement, press firmly to stick.
Carefully put the hoop back in the machine, making sure that the fabric on the underside doesn’t get folded or wrinkly. Stitch through color 2, again making sure the fabric doesn’t move. This is another good time to use your foot pedal if possible.
Remove the hoop and trim the fabric from the back, as close to the stitching as possible, without cutting or moving the stabilizer.
Replace hoop and stitch through color 3 to finish.
Remove, trim, rinse and fuse backing as above. Patch!
Protip: If you’re making the small patches, stitch multiples in the same hoop to save on stabilizer!
ALTERNATIVE PATCH METHOD
The above method using water soluble stabilizer is the best way to get a clean, professional edge on your patches. But let’s say you just downloaded Scout, you ordered some stabilizer, but you want to make a patch LIKE RIGHT NOW. If you want, you can stitch the entire thing into prepped fabric, and just trim around the edge and have there be a little raw fabric edge there. Ideally you would hoop tearaway stabilizer behind the fabric, but we didn’t have any tearaway on hand so we just hooped up some prepped fabric and stitched both a border and center design, ignoring any fabric trim commands.
You can see that without any stabilizer the embroidery got a little puckered, but we’re talking about a i-need-to-make-a-patch-right-now-it’s-an-emergency situation so we weren’t too upset.
Trim around the edge close to the threads, being careful not to cut the threads. Press and finish with glue backing as above.
If you’re the kind of person that is bothered by that little bit of fabric showing on the outside, and also the kind of person that has permanent markers in lots of colors, you can use one to color the fabric edge the same color as the thread border.