Applique and Machine Embroidery

I love both, but am often frustrated by the size limitation of in the hoop embroidery. So, when a while back, I wanted to make this wall hanging of an underwater scene I started thinking of ways around these limitations.


Then it struck me, why not embroider the various items in the hoop and then applique them to the background. It worked very well.

The whole idea started when I first saw the blue fabric. It made me think of a reef scene. The plan was to make the picture and to write a pattern to sell. Well, the picture got made, but there was never enough time to finish writing the pattern. So I decided to explain a few of the steps here. Perhaps, it will inspire some others to step out of their comfort zone. This method can be used for many different types of pictures. How about a garden scene, or something for a child’s room?

I started with Timtex or Peltex for the background instead of batting. This gives a nice solid base and best of all it is easy to stitch through. I fused the blue “sea” fabric to the Timtex. For the bottom part I cut different shapes from various greens, blues, browns, and even purple scraps of batik fabric to get some color variations. I overlapped all of them a bit so no white Timtex was showing. These were also fused down. I stitched around all the edges with smoke colored monofilament thread to make sure everything would stay in place and stitched some curved lines over the blue fabric.

All embroidered designs came next. I first studied a lot of photographs on the web and then drew my own versions in CorelDraw and digitized them in my Bernina Designer V7 software. If this seems too complicated you can, of course, buy and use ready to embroider designs. I stitched all of them on wash-away stabilizer, the mesh type, not the film. The fish also had a layer of Mylar, to give them a bit of shimmer. If there is any interest in how this is done, I may go into a bit more detail in a future post. The only design that had any fabric was the green seaweed and it barely fit into my largest hoop, but I could have made the pieces shorter and overlapped them to give them more height.

After all the designs were embroidered, the stabilizer washed away and the designs dry, it was time to play with the layout. Because these were all separate pieces it was easy to move them around until I was pleased with the layout. I then stitched them one by one to the background with monofilament thread and a narrow zigzag stitch. I had planned to stitch all around each piece, but ended up stitching them down only in some places which gave the whole image a bit of a 3-dimensional look. I suppose you could also glue or fuse them down, but I have not tried that so I can’t comment on how that would work.

After I had added a narrow black binding to the piece I decided that I really wanted the whole thing a bit bigger. So I cut another piece of Timtex a couple of inches larger on each side than the original. I fused matching fabric around all sides to simulate a border and placed it under the front piece. I was able to stitch the two pieces together just next to the black binding of the front piece and had no problem stitching through all layers. I folded the border fabric to the back and covered the back with another piece of fabric that I sewed in place by hand.

Here are a few more pictures of the embroidery.

fish 1         fish 2

If you have any questions, please ask in the comment section.

My email address is on my website: You can find it in the Contact tab.



New digital quilting designs

Athletic Shoes 2       Athletic Shoes 1  SP-016-Athletic-shoes

First of all a quilting pattern I designed for Diane Bennett-Meyer in Australia a month or so ago (maybe a bit more – time passes so quickly). Diane needed a special design for a quilt she made for a teenage relative who just loves a certain brand of shoes. The quilt turned out great, cheerful and colorful and the quilting looks great too. Diane was so pleased with the result that she sent me these photos. Thank you Diane. I am sure the recipient will be very happy with the gift.

Then I have some designs I released just a few days ago:

SCF-503-Carols-Feathers  SCF-502-Danas-Feathers  SCF-507-Friedas-Feathers-rev

SCF-505-Friedas-Feather-Block  SCF-504-Friedas-Feather-Triangle   SCF-506-Friedas-Feather-Frame

As a Thanksgivings Special these 6 feather files are available as a package for only $30.00 through December 6, 2014 or as singles at the regular price of $10.00 each.

Details can be found at or enter the item number in the search box on my website.


All designs and other content are copyright protected and/or Georgette Dell’Orco.

Quilt borders – seminole piecing

Hanging Gardens

Sometimes, once a quilt top is finished, all we want to do is add a plain border or two. Many times they frame the quilt top very nicely, but a pieced border can add something special. Pieced borders do not have to difficult if you use Seminole piecing and there are many variations possible depending on the width of the strips used.  Hanging Gardens, the quilt shown above is one example.  I designed and pieced that quilt several years ago for Cozy Quilt Designs and the expert instructions were written by the owner, Daniela Stout, my daughter.

Here is an example of how the border was pieced:

seminole piecing

Complete instructions are, of course, included in the pattern, but if you want to learn more about Seminole piecing, I highly recommend the article at .

Have fun, experiment, and spice up your quilts with that extra touch.

Thread Painting

Last week I posted a link to the beautiful embroidery art of Meredith Woolnough. Not everyone has the talent, creativity and the patience of Meredith. However, according to Nancy Prince free motion embroidery or thread painting as it is commonly known can be achieved with some practice.  As luck has it, Nancy has lots of information on her website  and great videos on YouTube:

stitches with attitudes

Stitches with attitude:

First Flowers

First Flowers:

Intro to thread painting

Intro to Tread Painting:

There are more videos on YouTube by Nancy Prince and other artists. Too many to list them all here’

However, there is one artist I definitely want to mention and that is Cathy Franks. I first saw her work several years ago on The Quilt Show and I was blown away. Cathy’s method is more or less the same, except she does it on a longarm.  One of Cathy’s techniques is to thread paint on water solvable stabilizer that is later dissolved and the painting is then treated like a appliqué and stitched to the background fabric.

Here is one of her pieces:

Cathy Franks

Thread painting by Cathy Franks and a short video with Linda Taylor in which Cathy explains her technique: .

There is more eye candy on her website.

Although I could never aspire to reach the expertise of the above ladies, I have used the technique of stitching on water solvable stabilizer and then appliquéing the finished piece to a background with good results. The difference is that I did the embroidery on my BERNINA  embroidery machine. I made several items and then arranged them on a background and stitched them down with monofilament thread. That way I solved the problem of placement and avoided rehooping. I was quite pleased with the final result. I will show you a picture at a later date as soon as I have the time to finish writing the instructions and the pattern.

My October quilting designs available on my website for all popular computerized quilting systems.

FL-320 Hunters Star Block
FL-321 HS Leaf Border
FL-322 HS Star Border
Example of a possible layout
SCF-480 Fun with Spirals v1
SCF-481 Fun with Spirals v2
SCF-482 Fun with Spirals v3 and v4


SCF-483 Fun with Spirals v5
SP-016 Athletic Shoes

And finally a stitched designs of last month’s Hol-087 Christmas Quilt with close-ups

HOl-087 Christmas Quilt


IMG_1732 IMG_1744