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Joining Split Designs: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Joining split designs doesn’t have to be difficult - even for the smaller 4x4 hoops! I learned this method from Becky McNeil several years ago at a retreat.  Of course we all put our own spin on things because what works best for one person might be a tad different for the next.

     1. First let’s gather some supplies that you’ll need:  fabric, tear away stabilizer (and you might want some sticky back stabilizer as well - personal preference and size of design will dictate which you prefer), spray adhesive for embroidery, printed templates of the designs you intend to use trimmed down, paper cutting scissors, tape, marking pen, and a couple of thumb tacks.  Yep that’s right - the secret ingredient is plain ordinary thumbtacks! (Figure 1)

(Note:  Print out templates (sized at 100%) of the designs you’d like to use.  All designs that are split will have an “a” and “b” after the number, i.e. SIB_Poinsettia2a_4x4 and SIB_Poinsettia2b_4x4 would be a set.  If you need help printing out templates, please contact me at sewinspiredbybonnie@verizon.net. )

     2.  Tape the two template pieces together using the blue alignment line as your guide.  The alignment lines should be placed one on top of the other and the template’s center line should match as well (figure 2).

Optional:  You may want to use an eyelet cutter to cut the holes marking the templates’ center, vertical and horizontal lines (figure 3).

     4.  Tape the template onto the fabric at the location you want the design to go (figure 4).  Optional:  If you made holes in your template, you might want to mark those lines onto the fabric.

    6.  If the design doesn’t take up the full area of the 4x4 hoop, you might be able to move the needle a tad to center over the hoop using the alignment buttons on your embroidery screen.  Double check by dropping the needle down into the center of the design “a”. If you can’t drop the needle in the center, then re-hoop.  If it’s in the center, then remove the template and you’re ready to stitch out part “a” of your design “set” (figure 6).

    7. Design “a” is finished.  Notice the blue alignment line stitched out last (Figure 7).  Remove from hoop and set aside.

    8.  Hoop tear away stabilizer (or if you prefer, sticky back stabilizer) only and stitch out the first color (the blue alignment line) of design “b” (Figure 8).

    9.  Here’s where you get to use the secret ingredient and perfect placement just magically happens!  Remove the hoop from the machine, turn it over and place one thumbtack in the exact end of each blue alignment line (Figure 9).  You might want to tape the thumbtacks in place temporarily while you align things up in the next step.

    10.  Turn the hoop back over.  Spray the hooped stabilizer with spray adhesive (if you’re not using sticky back stabilizer).  Place fabric with design “a” alignment mark ends directly on top of the thumbtacks (Figure 10). Once design is in place, remove the thumbtacks.

    11. Attach the hoop back into the machine.  I personally like to re-stitch the first blue alignment color at this point to make sure everything matches and nothing has shifted between the cutting table and my machine.  If the blue lines stitch atop one another, you’re good to go (Figure 11).  (Note:  If everything aligns alright, you might want to remove those alignment stitching lines now if any traveled through your design.)

    12.  Stitch out design “b” (Figure 12)

   13.  Finished!  I love it when everything comes together as it should!  Just remove the blue alignment lines and admire your work!

I hope you enjoy embroidering my Painted Poinsettias as much as I enjoyed creating them for you!  Be sure to send me pictures of your creations!  I’d love to see what you come up with.

Hoping you have tons of sewing fun!


Figure 1

Figure 7

Figure 8

Figure 9

Figure 10

Figure 11

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 6

    5.  Spray the tear away stabilizer with spray adhesive. Place the fabric (template side up) on top of the stabilizer.  Hoop both fabric and stabilizer in hoop releasing the “b” design template portion so it doesn’t get caught into the hoop.  Center design “a” in your hoop following your machine manual’s instructions (figure 5).

Figure 5

Figure 12

Figure 2