How to Show Off Your Machine Embroidery Designs

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.

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