Creative Ways To Pick Your Thread and Fabric Colors

Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s blog feature on creative ways to choose thread and fabric colors! My name is Lindsey Griffin and I am a part of the Creative Team at Anita Goodesign. Sometimes planning and prepping a project or machine embroidery design can be a daunting task. This week I’ll walk you through some creative ways that I have found to help me plan my fabric and thread colors prior to stitching out a design.

There isn’t a “right” way to plan which fabrics and thread colors to use for an embroidery design. We at Anita encourage you to try new things and eventually form your own method. In this week’s blog post, I hope you enjoy learning tips and tricks I have picked up along the way to find my own method.

The “Anita” Way to Pick Thread and Fabric Colors


First and foremost, at Anita, the general method of planning fabrics and thread colors for any embroidery collection is to start with a colorway. Now, keep in mind that in all of this, we assume you have access to many fabrics and thread colors. If you are working with any limited resources, you will need to keep those constraints in mind during the inspiration process —And as always, you can never have too many craft supplies.

Different Ways of Finding Inspiration

Even if you have specific designs in mind, finding inspiration can be difficult. Of course, this is one of the many benefits of being an All Access member, because our job is to provide All Access members with extra inspiration for each collection. If you love the fabrics and thread colors we used for a collection, you can follow along with the collection’s tutorial and numbered machine steps to create a similar version, or you can always do your own thing!

The Pinterest Way

Anita Goodesign Pinterest

One of my go-to methods for finding inspiration starts with searching for color palettes on Pinterest. When I have a broad idea of colors that I might want to incorporate, I simply navigate to and start searching. For example, if I really like mustard and olive green together, I will search; “color swatch yellow and green”, or “color palette yellow and green”. After finding a suitable color palette on Pinterest, you can plunder through your craft supplies for matching fabrics and threads.

The Instagram Way to Pick Thread and Fabric Colors

Instagram Color Palette

This method of finding color inspiration is my most recent favorite. All you need is a device that supports the Instagram social media application and has a camera —I just use my iPhone. Before you start, double check that the Instagram app is updated to the latest version, otherwise the filters may not work properly.



I am going to walk you through how to add a special camera filter to your library of filters. Once you save the filter, it will be super easy and simple to find it again in the future. There are many types of filters on Instagram and other social media apps, but I found a special one that picks up colors from an image or video and arranges them nicely alongside the screen as a color palette. This will allow you to simply point your camera at anything that you like the colors of and save it right to your phone’s camera roll.

Anita Goodesign Instagram

Once you are signed in to your Instagram account, click the home button and then the camera button on the top left corner.


thread and fabric colors

When the camera is opened, swipe the bubbles along the bottom to the left until you see the “browse effects” bubble. This brings you to the Effects Gallery. The specific effect, or filter, that I prefer to use is called “Palette01” by “ya.molli”. Type this information into the effects gallery search bar. Click “Try It”, or “Save It” to save it to your library or filters/effects.

Instagram Saved

Once it is saved, the bubble on the bottom left should change to “Saved”. Finally, navigate back to the camera, and the “Palette01 by ya.molli” bubble should be somewhere along the bottom among the other bubbles.

Final Results Instagram

Now you are ready to point your camera and watch as the color swatch alongside the screen changes and pulls colors from what the camera sees. So whenever you see something you like the colors of, just take a picture of it using this filter/effect. From there, all you have to do is collect fabrics and threads that match the little squares. Even better, you can share your color inspiration on your social media. Be sure to tag us so we can see all the glorious inspiration at work!

Color Palette Template

thread and fabric colors

Of course, putting pen to paper never gets old! Personally, I love optimizing and organizing everything that I do, so here is how I prefer to find inspiration through using a more tangible method. You can create a basic template with squares that are meant to be filled in with colors that you want to use in your embroidery design, or just a blank piece of paper.



But wait, it gets better! For this method to be even more productive, spend some time with your fabric and threads that you already own. Grab a comfy chair, and all your coloring utensils (markers, crayons, colored pencils,…etc.). The goal is to match your coloring utensils with fabrics and threads that you have in your craft supplies.

Once you match a coloring utensil to either fabric or thread, set that coloring utensil aside. Continue doing this matching process until you have a decent amount of coloring utensils. Now, during your planning and inspiration process, limit yourself to using only the coloring utensils that have a coordinating fabric/thread. For someone raised to “make do and mend”, this method is better for the environment and your wallet!

Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!

Patch it Up! The Art of Machine Embroidery Patches

Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s blog feature! It’s Annie again with another blog post. This time, it’s all about machine embroidery patches! We love a a cute patch to accent and decorate anything with a bit of modern edge, from bags and jackets, to jeans and shoes!

Sometimes, we want to embroider a cute design onto our jackets, shirts, or bags, but maneuvering and hooping those projects might seem too daunting. When you want to quickly and easily add a little decoration to liven up a big bag or maybe even a beanie hat, machine embroidery patches are the best option.


Instead of removing various seams in your project so you can flatten in out in the hoop, all you have to do is stitch the patch design of your choice onto a non-fraying fabric such as felt, then attach it to your project. There are various ways to do this, so we’ll be going over each way in this post!

Before we get into attaching a patch, we first need to go over how to make a patch. Here at Anita Goodesign, we are crazy about patches. So much so that we have several collections dedicated to just that! If you take a look at the “Patch” Technique filter on the shop page of our website, you’ll be able to see all the collections we have for you to choose from.



One of our favorites is Fashion Explosion 2. It has so many designs and themes to choose from that you’re sure to find a patch for everyone you know! Some of our patch designs are meant to be stitched onto felt and tear away stabilizer, like the designs from Fashion Explosion 2. Others, such as Sew Many Patches, were specially digitized to be stitched on to only tear away stabilizer. Follow the step by step instructions included with the design pack to see exactly how to stitch your patch.


Once you have your patch (or patches) stitched, now we can get to attaching them! There are various ways to attach your patch, depending on where you want to attach, and how you want to attach it. If you are attaching your patch to the chest or back area of a jacket, it might be easiest to sew it in place using a sewing machine.To do this, simply pin the patch in place onto the garment or bag. Then, in your sewing machine, sew along the outer edge of the patch onto the felt base fabric using matching or clear thread (see below).

sewing machine, machine embroidery patches

Machine sewing is a great option to attach your patch quickly and be sure that the patch will stay in place for however long you want. One other great thing is that you can remove the patch at any point without damage to the patch or your garment by just snipping the bobbin stitches that are visible from the inside of the garment.



If you want to attach your patch to the pocket or sleeve of a jacket, a sewing machine might be a bit more complicated than you’d like. No worries, you have other options! You can also hand sew your patch on using either a simple running stitch, or you can attach it with a decorative blanket stitch as well. Just pin your patch in place, then start hand sewing around the edge of the patch using a needle and matching thread (see below).

machine embroidery patches

Not too keen on hand sewing? That’s where iron on adhesive can come into play! Fusible adhesive such as HeatnBond is a great option to attach a patch or appliqué to a garment without the need of sewing it in place. The UltraHold variation of HeatnBond is what we recommend to attach your patches. Keep in mind that the UltraHold is not meant to be sewn through once set. To use the fusible adhesive on your patch, first cut a piece of the HeatnBond to be slightly larger than the patch, then lay it on the back side of the patch, paper side up (see below).


Next, using a hot iron, press the HeatnBond onto your patch. No steam is necessary to  adhere it (see below).


Lastly, lay the patch on your garment or bag, face up, and press in place (see below). It might be help to iron the patch from the front and backside of the garment.


Once you have your patch attached, you’re good to go! You can add your patches to anything you desire!

Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!


Using Self Adhesive Tear Away Stabilizer

Hi everyone! My name is Lindsey Griffin. I work at Anita Goodesign as a traveling Educator, as well as part of the Creative Team. I hope you enjoy reading about how we like to use this type of stabilizer with our designs.

What is Self Adhesive Tear Away Stabilizer?

tear away stabilizer

Self Adhesive Tear Away stabilizer is a stabilizer that is one part Tear Away and one part sticker paper. It can be found in your local quilt shop, or online. There are different brands that produce their own version. Each brand has its own unique product name to go with it. For example, Sulky calls theirs Sulky Sticky, Floriani calls their Perfect Stick Tear Away, and Exquisite calls theirs Peel n Stick.


When to Use Self Adhesive Tear Away Stabilizer

anita goodesign, machine embroidery

We use this kind of stabilizer whenever we are working with clothing or hard-to-hoop items, like bags and shirts. Having the adhesive feature helps stick the material flat on top of the hoop. For example, if you wanted to embroider a design onto a t-shirt, you don’t need to deconstruct the shirt. Simply stick the area you wish to embroider onto the adhesive stabilizer while keeping the excess material away from the embroidery area while running the design. Additionally, you can also use this type of stabilizer when embroidering on delicate materials like silk. This way, you avoid ruining your material via hoop burn.

Step by Step How to Use Self Adhesive Tear Away Stabilizer

Step 1: Hoop the Stabilizer


To begin, hoop one piece of any Self Adhesive Tear Away stabilizer with its paper side facing upwards. Just like a sticker, peel away the paper layer to reveal the adhesive layer. To start pulling the paper layer, you may find it easier to score the top layer with a seam ripper or other sharp object. Be careful not to pierce through the adhesive layer.

Step 2: Stick Material to Stabilizer


Here we show how to embroider a shirt using Sulky’s Sulky Stick +. Stick the area you wish to embroider onto the adhesive stabilizer while keeping the excess material away from the embroidery area while running the design. See the Tips & Tricks section below for some helpful hints on how to keep the excess material safely aside during the embroidery process.


Step 3: Stitch Design

machine embroidery designs

Once your excess materials alongside the hoop are secured, you are ready to stitch out your design onto the shirt, or other item. When you are finished stitching out the design, remove it from the hoop, and gently tear away the excess stabilizer from the back of the design.

Tips and Tricks

machine embroidery tips

Depending on what item you are sticking to the stabilizer, you may need a little extra help keeping the embroidery area free of excess materials that may get in the way during the embroidery process. If there is a bulk of excess fabric sitting around the hoop, you may want to consider rolling it up along the side of the hoop and securing it in place with tape. Feel free to also use pins or temporary adhesive spray to further secure the material inside the design area. If you are running a stitch intensive design, you may want to add an extra layer of any normal Tear Away stabilizer hooped under the self adhesive stabilizer for added support.

Ta-da! Now you know how to use self adhesive tear away stabilizer. We hope this blog post answered all of your questions and inspired you to try it out for yourself. Happy stitching!


Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!


How We Plan Our Embroidery Collections: Creating a Colorway

Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s blog feature on how we plan our embroidery collections! My name is Drea Goodine and I am the manager of the Creative Team at Anita Goodesign. I love creating new projects and coming up with new themes or ideas.

Getting Started with Planning Embroidery Collections

The biggest thing to remember is something a teacher told me many years ago – “There are no mistakes in art.” We consider embroidery in all its forms to be art, and often times the best way to see if something works is to try it out. Don’t allow yourself to overthink and get stuck! Some of the combinations we have been unsure about at first have gone on to become the biggest hits. The beauty of thread and fabric is also that it can be reinvented if you don’t like what you start with.

Our first step is looking at the artwork to review the overall style. For example, if the collection is realistic (think The Last Supper), then I know we will use a realistic color palette. If the collection has a more whimsical feel (think Here We Grow Again), that allows for more creative freedom in selecting colors.



Once the artwork has been digitized by our fabulous in-house team of digitizers, the next step is to review the techniques used. If the collection uses raw edge or is freestanding, I immediately begin thinking of materials that won’t fray (felt, leathers, etc). A quick check for appliqué gives me information about adding texture and dimension to the project. Then comes the fun part!


In our fabric room, we keep a few Fat Quarter Bundles with varied color palettes. We also have swatch charts from several companies showing their offerings of cottons, felts, and other fabrics. This is where we often start for inspiration, and just looking around usually gives an idea of what might be fun to try. If there are realistic animals (think Ol’ Anita had a Farm), research is done to make sure the animals are representative of what actually exists. Throughout the collection, we often hop on the internet to reference photographs of people, places, and things to get accurate ideas for shading and colors.


We are very fortunate at Anita Goodesign to have large thread racks that are sorted by color. With design in hand, I then start building a colorway with thread. My process is to pick a shade of each color – even if it is not in the initial design (remember, there are more to come!). I begin with black (or the representative shade, it may be dark grey or dark brown instead of true black), then white (again, this may be cream or beige instead of true white), and work my way through the rainbow.

Then, I go back and find one more shade of each color so that I have both lighter and richer tones, which will be needed for shading. One tip here – once turned into stitches, thread translates differently than it does on the spool. Two colors that you think might be far enough apart to show often times will disappear and blend into one another. We recommend using complementary shades that are farther apart in color than you initially think, this ensures all the shading will be visible.


Typically, for embroidery collections we prefer to stick to neutral bases such as black, navy, white, beige and the like to allow the embroidery to shine. Sometimes there is previous inspiration or we have found a fabric that we love, and we shake it up a bit by using something more bold. For quilting collections with embroidery, base fabric is chosen more carefully and often is colorful depending on the theme (think light blue to represent sky for Farmstead). For folded fabric and appliqué-heavy quilting, we often use a fat quarter or half yard bundle for inspiration and tend to pick threads in reverse.

With thread in hand, I head to the fabric room. We keep all our fabric in one room, where it is organized into containers. Cottons and the like are sorted by color, and specialty fabrics such as silk or lycra are sorted by type. If I am looking for a yellow fabric in the collection, I take both shades of yellow thread into the fabric room to look. I repeat this process until I’ve built what is needed for the collection.

Embroidery Collections – Keeping it Consistent

Now that the colorway is built, for our reference (and since we have multiple people stitching out designs) a chart is made with tiny fabric swatches and their matching thread colors. A list is written of all the threads we used, and this is the blueprint of the collection. Any designs that are digitized after this colorway is made will follow the same pattern, that way once everything is completed they look like a cohesive set. We don’t deviate from the colorway once it’s set, and often times that can result in thinking outside the box for the coloring of various elements. Different colors can substitute for the norm – don’t be afraid to try a pale grey instead of white, or a different shade of green that you’re used to.



Another very important tip is to make sure details that carry through the collection are the same colors. For example, if each realistic design has outlining, that should all be the same shade of grey that was initially chosen. If a more whimsical collection has flourishes in the background, we would select one to two colors for those details and carry them through all the designs. Maybe we incorporated metallic silver into the colorway, then we find something in each block or design that can be metallic. Another tip we use to make sure things are cohesive is to rotate all the colors equally whenever possible. If a collection has flowers, even if your favorite color is pink, you don’t want six pink flowers, one yellow, and one blue – that’s going to look odd when put together so we try to keep it even.

I hope the sharing of our preparation process has provided you with some inspiration to get started on your next project. Don’t forget to share your creations with us on all of our social media pages!

Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!

How to Choose Embroidery Thread Types

How is it already August? Welcome to this week’s blog post regarding all things thread! Are you excited to learn how to choose embroidery thread types? My name is Melissa and as a member of the Creative Team, I’ve learned about some fun variations of the thread you use for your embroidery designs, and some insider tips you may not have known!

Visual Variety: A Little More on Machine Embroidery Thread Choices

Choosing the threads and materials we use to incorporate into our designs has always been one of the most fun elements of working at Anita Goodesign. As an educator, I often get asked at events the types of threads we use in our designs to get such stunning stitch outs. Now, I wanted to touch on a few of the major embroidery thread types that you’ll find floating around our work spaces, and what changing it up could mean for the look of your designs!

Embroidery Thread Type – Polyester

The most commonly used thread type in the Anita office is polyester thread. This thread type provides great resilience at high speeds, stitches out beautifully, and is known for its high sheen due to the lubrication on the thread. For our polyester embroidery threads, we love Floriani due to their massive list of 300 colors. When you create as many embroidery designs as we do, a large color selection is key!


As another fantastic embroidery thread type for frequent embroiderers, rayon has a stunning look to it when stitched out just like polyester thread, but with a slightly less “plastic” look to it. Rayon has a wonderful way of stretching to how it is stitched, allowing it to lie flatter to the fabric while also maintaining a lovely sheen! 



Insider Information: Rayon creates less friction and overall wear and tear in your machine. For this reason, Robinson-Anton’s Super Strength Rayon is the most used thread type within the artwork of Stephen Wilson Studio.


Pretty easily summed up as clear thread, this special thread type is mentioned frequently in our quilting or project instructions to help finish off your designs. Most commonly purchased in clear, this thread also comes in a darker, smoke shade. When used within embroidery designs, you can create a unique, overstitch look to your embroidery with the clear thread, and it’s ideal for sewing shut openings when turning projects or finishing off a quilt.

Embroidery Thread Type – Cotton

cotton, machine embroidery designs

Quite literally spun cotton, this thread provides s such a lovely, homey look to your designs. With minimal shine, cotton is a great way to take your stitch outs back to the basics with softer looking textures. We love cotton on farm or animal themed designs, baby items, or even hand stitched collections to mimic the thread look in hand embroidery.


embroidery thread types, glow in the dark

Break out celestial designs or fun, kid-themed stitch outs for this thread type! Charge it up under a light, then watch your stitches illuminate in dark spaces! We don’t venture into glow in the dark too often, but when we do, it’s always a fun time.

Back in our April 2018 All Access, we released a design set called Prehistoric Fossils and the Creative team had some fun hiding in the fabric room with a flashlight testing the glow on our dinos! Stitch out stars or other spacey designs in this thread for a truly out-of-this-world look!

Embroidery Thread Type – Twist

machine embroidery, machine embroidery designs

Quite literally, this thread is a twisted pairing of two (or more) embroidery thread colors, combined to create a fun, color shifting look in your designs. Certain shades can even convey the look of animal fur or other textures, so definitely give these a go for anything nature-inspired or animal themed!


embroidery thread types, variegated

Variation is the spice of life, right? This thread is sure to change up your normal looks for something more unique. Variegated thread is created through a special dying process to the thread, allowing for multiple color variations or specs to appear in the coloring. These threads are fun for unexpected color surprises, tie dye looks or even a subtle ombre effect. Not a fan of synthetics? These threads also come in metallic and natural types as well!

Metallic Thread

metallic thread, anita goodesign

Who doesn’t love a good sparkle?! Metallics create one of the most sought after looks, whether it be for the holidays, a celebration, or just to add a pop of flair to your embroidered project or design. Some people, on the other hand, hate metallics because of their finicky needs when running in machines.



Some top tips I’d love to share for metallics are to keep your machine speed a little lower than what you’d normally run it on. This will help with friction and breakage in the thread, as well as allowing you to keep an eye in how it’s looking when running.

To help further with the breaking problem, try standing your metallics up on a thread stand at least a foot away form your machine (yes, a whole foot or even two is fine)! Letting the thread travel a bit before reaching your tension system will allow for any kinks or curls to unwind on its path to your machine.

Holographic Thread

machine embroidery thread types, holographic

Lastly, this fun variation of a metallic look is EXTRA sparkly! We love holo thread for a totally different look in our designs, or when we’re feeling a little extra excitement is needed! Created with plastic, this thread actually performs best when running at a higher tension level since it is so slippery and smooth!

The increased tension will help the thread have more “grip” in your machine’s tension system, allowing it to lay the stitches smoothly. This thread’s tensile is actually quite impressive so don’t be shy to try this special thread in anything that needs that extra “wow” factor!

This concludes this week’s blog post. So many embroidery thread types, so little time! Which one will you use for your next machine embroidery project?

Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!

What Machine Embroidery Stabilizers To Use & When

Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s blog feature on machine embroidery stabilizers! My name is Lindsey Griffin and I am a part of the Creative Team at Anita Goodesign. One of the bits of knowledge I have picked up while stitching out our collections is what stabilizers to use and when. I hope you find the information you are looking for here on this week’s blog feature!

Hooping Machine Embroidery Stabilizers Correctly

Before we get into what stabilizers to use and when, I would like to take a second and mention that it is just as important to know HOW to use the stabilizers correctly. By this, I mean how to hoop it correctly in your embroidery hoop. When hooped correctly, your stabilizer should sound like a rubber band snapping when you flick the center. In other words, it should be as tight as possible.

Wash Away (water soluble) Stabilizer

Used with designs that we don’t want any excess stabilizer to exist throughout the entire design when finished.

wash away stabilizer

General Use: We prefer to use Wash Away (or water soluble) stabilizer for our cutwork, some free standing, and lace designs.

How to Identify: The texture of wash away is similar to No Show mesh, however, there are minor differences. Wash Away stabilizer usually has a dotted pattern throughout and will rip easily.

Tips & Tricks: If you are stitching out lace, or any free standing embroidery-only design onto Wash Away stabilizer, we suggest that you double up and use two layers. If it is very stitch intensive, consider 3 layers. If you are washing out the stabilizer for a design with multiple free standing pieces, you may want to consider throwing them in a mesh laundry bag and running a warm water wash cycle. After you have rinsed away the excess water soluble stabilizer from the design, be sure to lay the designs flat to dry.


Tear Away Machine Embroidery Stabilizer

Used with designs that we don’t want any excess stabilizer around the edges of the design.

Machine Embroidery Stabilizer, Tear Away

Tear Away Stabilizer

General Use: Also used on free standing projects, however, only use this if it’s ok that the stabilizer gets permanently trapped within the free standing project. A more common way of using this stabilizer is to hoop it along with any base material for embroidery designs that we intend to tear away the stabilizer from the design edge.

How to Identify: Tear Away stabilizer looks a lot like paper, however, it can vary in weight. If you are stitching something more stitch intensive, you should consider using a heavier weight rather than a lighter one. Also, keep in mind that since the Tear Away stabilizer remains under the stitching, you might want to consider a black stabilizer while using dark materials and a white stabilizer when using materials that are either lighter or darker.

Tips & Tricks: After removing the excess Tear Away stabilizer from a free standing design there may be small fibers along the edges of the design that remain. We use either one of two methods to remove these fuzzy fibers. You can either use a flame (from a candle) to singe the fuzzies away or color the fibers with any alcohol-based marker that matches the thread color.

No-Show Mesh Stabilizer

Used with designs that don’t need the excess stabilizer removed at the end.

No Show Mesh Machine Embroidery Stabilizers

General Use: We prefer to use No Show Mesh stabilizer for our quilt blocks, tapestries, and zipper bags. No Show Mesh is known for its stability while staying flexible enough to be used in projects that require assembly after an embroidery design is completed stitching.

How to Identify: It can look similar to Wash Away, however, when looking closely, you will notice small lines or dashes. To double check whether its Wash Away or No Show Mesh, try ripping it. If it doesn’t rip, then it is No Show Mesh stabilizer.

Tips & Tricks: There is also a fusible kind of No Show Mesh that has a shiny heat transfer side.


Sticky Back Machine Embroidery Stabilizer

Used when embroidering garments and other un-hoopable items.

Sticky Back Machine Embroidery Stabilizers

General Use: Essentially, you can use this interchangeably with Tear Away stabilizer, but its intended use is for un-hoopable items. For example, if you want to embroider on a shirt, you could use Sticky Back stabilizer to stick the shirt to the hooped stabilizer, rather than having to hoop the shirt along with the stabilizer.

How to Identify: Sticky Back stabilizer looks just like a sheet of sticker paper.

Tips & Tricks: An easy way of peeling back the sticker layer of the Sticky Back stabilizer is to score the top layer with a seam ripper. When sticking material onto the Sticky Back stabilizer, we prefer to add pins around the edge of the design area.

When to Increase Layers of Any Type of Machine Embroidery Stabilizer

Generally, when you have a large stitch count or if the embroidery is very dense, then you may want to consider adding extra layers of stabilizer to prevent pulling. If you are using multiple layers of either Tear Away or No Show mesh, you may want to apply temporary adhesive spray between layers to hold the layers in place.

And there you have it! Everything you need to know about machine embroidery stabilizers and when to use them. I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post. Don’t forget to check back next week for even more machine embroidery tips and tricks!

Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!

How to Show Off Your Machine Embroidery Designs

Welcome to Anita’s Blog! It’s Melissa here with another fun post regarding one of the best questions we all wonder at one point or another: What should I add my machine embroidery designs onto? Hopefully, some of the projects I’ll show here can help inspire you to pick up your thread and start stitching—after all, it’s never too early to get started on holiday presents!

Coming up with new and exciting projects can be a real challenge, whether you’ve been involved in the embroidery world for more than a couple years or a totally new stitcher! At Anita Goodesign, the Creative Team is in charge of helping come up with fun and unique project ideas to present our embroidery on, and sometimes we have to stretch our imaginations or even try various projects before we know what works. Now, I wanted to share with you some of the top picks for presenting your favorite machine embroidery designs, whether it be for yourself or a loved one!

PLEASE NOTE: Each of the project ideas presented here are examples of items we chose to present various collections on, and many of the pictured project examples are included in the tutorials they are from. Definitely be sure to check out those collections for further instructions!

The most popular embroidery project ideas are the ones done on items that don’t require too much extra construction (or deconstruction)! The list below is just a small handful of project ideas that can be done with most of our embroidery and appliqué designs to help you get inspired.

Sew Sassy Machine Embroidery Designs

Anita Goodesign Sew Sassy, Machine Embroidery Designs

Featured on a canvas banner flag, this cute collection was full of sewing puns and phrases that anyone who crafts is sure to find sew relatable! Although the banner flag instructions were not included, the construction of your own flag is relatively simple. Stitch out your chosen design on a large piece of base fabric. Once you have added your design, simply draw out the flag’s shape with tailors chalk on the desired material and cut it out. For a more rustic look, you can skip finishing off the edges, or clean it up with a small binding in the same coordinating base material.

Fiesta Word Clouds


Depending on the size of the design you are looking to use, small projects are a great (and quick) way to make presents for others or to quickly dress up your own space. In the case of our Online release of Fiesta Word Clouds, we immediately thought of throwing a fiesta for Cinco de Mayo and how we could incorporate the embroidery-only designs into practical projects.

We ended up with two great ideas: drink napkins and cork coasters! The napkins were used as the sample images for the collection’s release, while the cork coasters were turned into an All Access content article in the month of April 2020. Using a sticky back stabilizer (or alternatively, a wash away stabilizer with pins) you can secure your linen napkin in the hoop and position your design on screen to stitch accordingly.



For the cork coaster project, I actually came up with this idea upon learning about the auto-appliqué feature in the Baby Lock Solaris we have in office. Some newer embroidery machines offer wonderful built-in features, and for the Solaris, one of those features includes the option to turn a machine embroidery design into an appliqué.

By using this appliqué feature and rerunning a few of the tacking steps to add a back fabric, we can easily turn any 4×4 design into a satin stitched cork coaster. Several other machine brands and models also feature a similar auto-appliqué option, so if you’re unsure of your machine’s capabilities, consult your owner’s manual or drop a call to your local dealer!

Double Exposure Animals Machine Embroidery Designs

Anita Goodesign Double Exposure Animals, Machine Embroidery Designs

Generally you’ll see us suggest placing your machine embroidery designs within a frame or shadowbox to add as decor to a room. For our Double Exposure Animals collection, to switch things up, we scrapped the idea of the traditional shadow box presentation and instead went with something more natural: a slice of wood!

We stitched out the design on black felt, trimmed it tight and applied the design to the wood with hot glue. Swing by a local hobby shop or do a quick search online to snag a Basswood plaque, which can come finished or unfinished depending the look your are wanting. This project idea is also great for anything with a “rustic” or nature theme, so keep that in mind for a great Father’s Day gift idea!

Lace Bridal Figures

Anita Goodesign Lace Bridal Figures

Know of a granddaughter, niece or other special friend that’s getting married? What better way to show your congrats than to gift a personalized item. For our Lace Bridal Figures, an entire wedding ensemble could be recreated with the different chic designs, and one of the project ideas we pictured included a celebratory lumbar pillow for the new bride-to-be!



Instructions weren’t included for this project idea, but we did include this tip: easily stitch your bridal party out on felt, then trim each one tight to the stitch line. Then, you can use a heat-activated adhesive (like HeatnBond) to affix it to a base fabric and stitch them in place. In-machine text options can elevate your gift to an even more personal level by adding something special for the bride or groom, such as the couple’s shared last name or their wedding date.

Retro Kitchen Aprons

Anita Goodesign Retro Kitchen Aprons

Get to whipping up something amazing with this 50s-inspired bean stitch collection. To present these charming and kitschy designs, we came up with the idea of a waist apron, featuring a pocket that had one of the machine embroidery designs added to it. The best part? This collection is an Anita’s Express, so it shouldn’t take all day to turn around a finished apron! You can use the instructions included in this tutorial to create or customize your very own apron featuring any design you already own on the pocket.

Hand Stitched Cork Bags

Anita Goodesign Hand Stitched Cork Bags

We all love a good bag, and this collection gives you just that! Our lovely, hand stitched designs were done in 3-ply bean stitches, illustrating scenes of springtime flowers. One of our favorite materials to create projects with would have to be cork fabric. Cork is a wonderful “fabric” option that can come in rolls or sheets, and provides a sturdy-but-flexible base for embroidery stitches, including hand stitched designs.

To create something truly different, this project tutorial included full instructions on how to add these designs to cork fabric, then craft a fully lined zipper bag! You can easily walk through the tutorial steps to create a cork bag of your own with any design or customization you choose.

Baby Bibs Machine Embroidery Designs

Anita Goodesign Baby Bibs, Machine Embroidery Designs

With babies come messes, so keep those little onesies clean by covering up with an adorable baby bib. This collection includes the full instructions on how to create a baby bib from start to finish, and even provides 10 designs to choose from to add on.

By using merging features available on many different home embroidery machines, you can customize your baby bib to have a child’s name, or even add a fun phrase. A bib is the perfect quick and easy gift for baby or the mom-to-be.

Wildlife Reflections

Anita Goodesign Wildlife Reflections, Machine Embroidery Designs

I don’t know about you, but I have a weakness for cute throw pillows! They’re wonderful since you can change them up year-round (or even with the seasons) and are fairly easy to construct from start to finish. In this stunning collection, wild animals from the ocean to the skies are depicted in symmetrical, circular-shaped designs. When the Creative Team first spotted the shape of these designs, our minds immediately went to a circular throw pillow!

This gorgeous release includes all the instructions on stitching out your design on a decorative fabric, then will guide you through the cutting and sewing needed to turn it into a perfectly-sized circle throw pillow. My personal favorite was the golden-hued velvet pillow we created for a sample in this collection, which featured the cuddly-looking llamas! You can easily use these instructions to craft up round pillows for other design collections as well, so don’t be afraid to experiment with unique pillow shapes.

Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!

The In’s and Out’s of Mix and Match Quilting

Hey everyone and welcome to this week’s blog feature on mix and match quilting. My name is Annie Doar and I am a part of the Creative Team at Anita Goodesign. In the office, I can be found stitching out designs, snapping step-by-step pictures, and writing some of the tutorials and content found in our monthly All Access issues. I can’t wait to show you all more ways to create and have fun with machine embroidery!

One thing we LOVE to talk about in many of our quilting collections is something called “Mixing & Matching,” but what exactly is it? Well, fear not, because I’m going to break it down piece by piece!

The first question to address is “What quilting collections can be Mix and Matched?” You may have noticed that several of the quilting collections we release are labeled as “Mix and Match Quilting” or “Mini Mix and Match Quilting.” These are the collections that are perfectly sized to be used together.  Each collection will feature our standard size guide that can be seen below.

Design Size Guide

You can use this guide to determine the size of the block you need to stitch based on your hoop size, your materials, and how big you want the finished quilt to be. For example, if you only own an 8” x 12” hoop, then you can stitch the blocks that are “A” size and smaller. The larger the block, the larger your quilt will be and the more fabric you’ll need.

Once you’ve determined what size block you can stitch, you can then find the two (or more!) collections that you would like to Mix & Match! Just make sure to use the same size block throughout. If you use the “A” size from one collection, be sure to use the “A” size from another collection so their seams match up. Sometimes there are exceptions to this rule, such as using 4” x 4” quilt collections alongside 8” x 8” quilt blocks, but I’ll go into more detail on that later.



If you scroll through our website, you might see some quilting collections that automatically look good together. For example, our Porcelain Blocks quilt and our China Blue quilt have a very similar color palette and share a similar theme of delicate and intricate floral sprays and motifs.


Combining these two collections is very easy to imagine since the colors pair well together and it will result in a beautiful quilt that is quite stunning, as you can see below!

Anita Goodesign Fine China Quilt, Mix and Match

But now we need to talk about how to Mix & Match two quilting collections that don’t obviously coordinate, and might take a little more legwork to make something brand new. To do this, I’m going to be using the On-Point Flower Print quilting collection and the Porcelain Tiles quilting collection.


If you take a look at the designs included in each collection, your first thought might be “Oh these will never work together!” While they both feature busy, floral motifs, they look more different than similar. The On-Point Flower Print blocks are chocolate-y browns, warm yellows, and reds, while the Porcelain Tiles are bright and bold with almost every color of the rainbow. 



A more inconspicuous difference is their size and orientation. As I mentioned earlier, typically you want to use quilt blocks that are the same size, so their seams match up, but pairing these two quilting collections is an exception to that rule. The Porcelain Tiles come in two sizes: 6” x 6” and 4” x 4”, while the On-Point Flower Print comes in five sizes.

To make our Mix & Matched quilt work, I decided to use the 8” x 8”, “A” size block from On-Point Flower Print, and the 4” x 4” size blocks from Porcelain Tiles. This works best with 4” x 4” blocks that have symmetrical patterns because you can just repeat the same block four times to make an intricate 8” square block like so.


Once you’ve turned the 4” square porcelain tiles into an 8” square quilt block, the next thing to tackle is its orientation. The orientation of the On-Point Flower Print designs are turned 45˚ on their points so they look like diamonds, while the Porcelain Tiles are just a standard squared orientation.

Since the Porcelain Tiles are symmetrical designs, you can easily turn it 45˚ so it is on its point as well. This can be done with any block that features a symmetrical and centered design, as you can see in Geometric Fringe Quilt below.


Now that you have the construction of your Mix & Match quilt mapped out, begin to focus on planning your colors and stitching out the blocks you will need to piece it together. Since the Porcelain Tiles have a bright and colorful palette and the On-Point Flower Print blocks have a much more subdued and tonal palette, they tend to clash beside each other. If I pieced the blocks together as they are, the result would be a jarring quilt top with mismatched quilt blocks.

Anita Goodesign Porcelain Flower Print

Instead, I decided to stitch the On-Point Flower Print using some fun and bright colors that were used in the Porcelain Tile blocks. I stitched them on the same white base fabric that was used in the Porcelain tiles, then I used various shades of blue for the leaves of the design, and reds and yellows for the floral elements.


The result is a fun new twist on the On-Point Flower Print quilt. You could make an entire new quilt using just those recolored Flower Print blocks, but for our purposes, I wanted to show you just how stunning these blocks are alongside the Porcelain Tile blocks. If you compare the quilt above that has the clashing colors to the new quilt below, you can see what a world of difference coordinating colors make!

Anita Goodesign Porcelain Flower Print After, Mix and Match Quilting

Once you’ve figured out the colors, the sizes, and the orientation of you quilt blocks, all that you need to do now it stitch them and piece them together. Mixing & Matching multiple collections is a great way to make a quilt that is personal and just as unique as you are! Take the creativity into your own hands and customize every quilting collection we have to your hearts desire!

Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!

How to Master Quilt Backing (Works for Wall Hangings too!)

Welcome back to our blog! It’s Melissa from the Creative Team here, back with a new topic to cover. This week’s post, centered around quilt backing, was driven by our customer submissions. Give this one a read, then use these helpful hints when working on your next quilting project for stunning end results.

Normally with any Anita Goodesign Mix & Match Quilting Collection, we will include step-by-step instructions on how to stitch out the individual blocks for the design. Depending the type of collection, like large releases or even tile scenes, we will even go into detail on piecing these quilt blocks together into your finished quilt or wall hanging. For collections that don’t directly show how to finish your quilt, we’ve often referred readers to the About Us PDF that we include with every collection and All Access issue. In that document, there are many helpful resources, such as a chart assisting with block size choices, a fabric chart to help calculate yardage, and even the Finishing Your Quilt Instructions.

In this week’s post, I wanted to go into a little more detail on our finishing instructions to help guide you through adding on a back fabric with no lumps or bumps. Hopefully, with a little extra info on how and why we back our quilts the way we do, you’ll find it much less intimidating to finish up your projects…rather than letting them sit for months (which I know many of us are guilty of doing)! To make things more interesting, I wanted to feature the finishing images we used in our most recent Special Edition from August, Ol’ Anita Had a Farm.

It is important to remember that there is no “right” way to create a quilt, if you end up with a bound and backed project, however you got there is a method you can certainly use, and our way is just one of many!


DISCLAIMER: In order to make things less complicated, I will start out this bonus instruction assuming that if you are needing to finish a quilt or wall hanging, you will have already joined your blocks together to form your quilt top at this point.


Quilt Backing

With all of your blocks joined together into your quilt top, you are now ready to begin the quilt backing process. At this point, you will want to use a steam iron to butterfly press open your 1/2″ seams across the entire back of the quilt top. The reason we so often mention leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance on your blocks is how much easier pressing seams will become!



A 1/2″ of fabric is easier to work with for quilting beginners, but if you’re a quilt and backing pro, feel free to adjust your seams to the measurements your prefer—just be sure to keep things consistent! Butterfly-pressing is another VERY helpful way to prevent bumps. Rather than pressing the seams to one side or the other, separating the two seam allowances and pressing them open and flat will reduce the feel of “speed bumps,” or the bulk of the seams, when you run your hand across the back of the quilt.


Quilt Backing

Once the seams are all steam pressed open, lay a large cut of your back fabric right side facing down on your work surface. You will then lay the quilt top over it, with the right side facing up. Using scissors or a rotary cutter and ruler to trim the back fabric to about 2-4 inches larger than your quilt top.

PLEASE NOTE: In traditional quilting, you would also need a layer of batting between the back fabric and your quilt top. The reason we DO NOT add that layer of batting is because the batting is always incorporated within Anita Goodesign’s block designs, eliminating that extra step for you later! For the best feel to your quilt, we recommend using a good quality batting in your actual block designs, such as Warm and Natural or even Bamboo batting for a cozy and light finish that won’t weigh down the quilt.


The next step is another helpful way to ensure there’s minimal bumps on the back of your quilt or wall hanging: using a temporary adhesive to join the back and quilt top. With the back fabric cut to your needed size, rearrange your quilt top to lay right side facing down onto your work surface, with the back fabric laying right side facing up over top of it. Using a temporary spray adhesive, like 505 Spray, you can add a light misting of the spray adhesive to the quilt top’s back side, slowly laying the back fabric over it and gently pressing to join the layers.

This is a great method to prevent the layers from shifting when working on your machine, and can be used in conjunction with safety pinning or even used instead of the pins altogether. Once joined together, you can roll up the quilt neatly to about halfway, leaving the area exposed near the center blocks where you will begin sewing.


Stitch in the Ditch

Now, begin to “stitch in the ditch,” which means simply to sew on the top side of your quilt directly in-between joined blocks, helping to conceal the top stitching while it secures the back fabric to the quilt.

We recommend always starting in the center of your quilt and working towards the edges. By doing this, you are better able to push any bubbles or bumps the in the fabric outwards to the edges while sewing, again creating a cleaner finish on the back.


Square Up, Quilting

Once you have sewn both vertically and horizontally across your quilt between all the blocks, you are ready to square up the quilt. Position your quilt right side facing up over a cutting surface, and use a rotary cutter and ruler to cleanly trim away any excess back fabric, cutting the seams to match the 1/2″ seam of your blocks.

Your quilt or wall hanging should look something like this on the front and back once you have sewn through all the “ditches” of the blocks:


Now that you have a smooth and clean back on your project, it’s time to finish it off with the binding! Following the instructions provided in the collection you are stitching (or referring back to the About Us PDF that  I mentioned earlier), sew and attach your binding strips to your quilt until you have reached your starting point again.



With the binding strip attached to the quilt top and secured around, the quilt will look something like the image on the left. Secure your binding by stitching from the top of the quilt, just inside the edge of the binding, with a coordinating or clear thread choice.

Finished Ol' Anita Had a Farm Quilt

Congratulations, your finished quilt or wall hanging is now ready to display with a smooth back and finish! I hope you found these extra  quilt backing tips helpful. If you love the charming farm quilt featured in this blog post’s pictures, you can snag this one and more variations in the Ol’ Anita Had a Farm Special Edition release (also in All Access August 2020).

Do you want even more exclusive Anita Goodesign tutorials, sneak peeks, insider tips, and more? Sign up for our All Access Club and receive access to every design, collection, feature, and release!