Great Uses for Test Sew Samples


Test sews are an essential part of embroidery. But then, what do you do with them?

It's probably safe to say that, as a designer, I have a lot more test sews than the average embroiderer out there. I have to test prior to selling the designs because I want them to sew out well for you. They might go through three, sometimes even four, tests. It’s not that the tests look bad. Most of them turn out really well. There may be a part that isn’t perfect, but nobody's going to notice so I hate to throw them away.

When I'm test sewing, generally speaking, it's on a nice quilters cotton of some sort. I don't use cheap fabric. I'm not going to sew on something that I don't think you would use. I want to know that it's going to turn out nice on a good quality cotton.

I have packages and packages of my test sews stitched out and stored in gallon zip bags. I put them aside for future projects. It would be a shame to put all of that time, energy, thread, stabilizer, and fabric into the trash. 


For example, I tested the Angels designs on a nice, kind of sparkly fabric. My intentions are to make a bed runner for the foot of the bed. That would be really pretty for Christmastime. My idea might change between now and then but that's what I have this pegged for at this point.


You've probably seen my Snow Buddies guy a few times. I stitched it on a nice quality cotton. It's on black because I wanted the design to pop. I think that this is going to be a tree skirt one day when it grows up.


This was made using the Double Duty Screen Tote pattern from Sew Michelle. I used a test stitch out from Fun Time Veggies for the straight panel in her tote bag.


Here is another tote using a test piece from Sea Buddies. I used another one of Michelle’s patterns, Screen It Up. The side panel took up the lower half of the tote, but my test sew was not large enough to fit the entire panel. I put a little bit of batting behind it and did some echo quilting around the embroidery design. I cut it down to size so that it fit, centered, on my panel. Since I had raw edges, I covered them with some complementary bias trim. No one would ever know that this little guy started out as a test sew


I'm sure some of you have seen this from our Spooky Buddies collection. It is made using The Draw String pattern by Sew Michelle. I did the same thing by cutting an overlay for the bag panel. I added echo quilting. Instead of using biased trim on the side, I used ric rac. So, if you didn't want to make custom binding, just use some trims that you have around your studio.


The Jungle Buddies quilt was made from test sews. I cut the embroidered squares straight and added three-inch bindings all the way around with different colors. I took a square ruler and put it at an angle that I kind of liked. I put a line on my ruler so that I would get the same angle, or a mirror of it. The result is cute, wonky blocks. Find out more from the Tuesday's Tips video here.

Test sews also make cute canister wraps.

Keep those test sews. You never know what they might become when they grow up!

See the video here. Have a day blessed with perfect stitches…and GlitterFlex!! 


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  • Bonnie Welsh - September 11, 2018

    Janice—If you click on the picture, it will take you to the design set for Jungle Buddies. If you’re wanting the pattern for the Jungle Buddies Quilt? I don’t have one as I made that up as I went along. However, I have a link below the picture to the video where I explain how I accomplished the wonky look. =)

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 11, 2018

    Debbie—No you didn’t miss it. I added it after I saw your note. Thought others might want to know too. =)

  • Janice sparwasser - September 11, 2018

    Do you have a pattern for Jungel buddies!g

  • Debbie - September 10, 2018

    Oh my goodness! I totally missed it. Sorry about that. Lol!

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 10, 2018

    Debbie—I actually did a Tuesday’s Tip on the wonky block quilt and how I did it. I’ve added the link under the picture but I’ll put the link here for you as well:

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 10, 2018

    Linda—Thank you for your kind words! The canister covers were a lot of fun to create and I love that I can change things up for the holidays but store them flat when not in use. =)

  • Debbie - September 10, 2018

    Great ideas! The quilt is adorable!!! You should do a video to show us how you did it. I would also like to hear what others do with the buddies. Thank you for sharing and teaching all of us.

  • Linda Drury - September 10, 2018

    I love your idea to use the test squares as a wrap for the jars that are on our kitchen counter.

  • Linda Drury - September 10, 2018

    I love your idea to use the test squares as a wrap for the jars that are on our kitchen counter.

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