Making a quilt can sometimes seem like a HUGE project, but did you know there's more you can do with a quilt block, beyond just making a quilt? Here are a couple of quick and easy project to make with a single quilt block.

My first quilts were made using Designs by JuJu (DBJJ) embroidery designs when I was a complete newbie! I started off my embroidery on plain fabric squares, sewing them together to make a quilt top, and then taking them to someone more experienced to finish the quilt for me. As I improved my skills, I progressed to adding batting to each square, sewing them together, and stitching “in the ditch” to attach the backing. Whatever method. you use, rookie or pro, DBJJ designs can be used to make absolutely amazing quilts.

Embroidered quilt blocks can be used for a lot more than keepsake quilts though! Today’s project will focus on the usual machine embroidery quilt block designs and techniques, but in a smaller and faster project. You could use individual blocks to create a hot pad or pot holder, or sew multiple, embroidered quilt blocks together to make placemats or table runners. The possibilities are endless! Buckle up; let's learn how to make embroidery quilt blocks!

Gather Supplies

NOTE: Check out Embroidery Supplies Juju Uses

Prepare the Design(s) (Optional)

There are a few ways to approach this portion of your project. 

Simply load both the quilt block and embellishment designs into your embroidery machine, stitch out the quilt block design first, and then go back and stitch the embroidered embellishments on top of the quilt design. Or, you can use Embrilliance to combine the two designs prior to loading into your embroidery machine. If you choose to combine the designs in the software first, you have the option to adjust color stops for greater efficiency. The choice is yours, the end results will be the same!

Review the Color Chart

Your downloaded design folder will contain a folder with the phrase “Color Charts.” It’ll contain a color chart for each design in the set. I use these charts by printing them out and making notes on it as I plan my project. The color chart file is like a roadmap for the project, and is very helpful for planning out your work.

Most quilt block designs start with a placement line for the batting, then a tack down for the batting that looks identical to the placement line. The tack down will secure the batting to the stabilizer you’ve hooped. The third color stop is the tack down for the background fabric of the quilt block. The fourth color stop is the quilting of the block. 

If you’ve combined your quilting and embellishment files, the remaining color stops in the file will be the embellishment stitches. 

If you have not combined your files, the quilting of the block is the final color stop in this file, and you can load your embellishment file and stitch it out. 

If your embellishment file is one you created in Embrilliance, you can print a color chart for your design from the software.

Quilt and Embellish a Block

  • Hoop a piece (or two, if your design is dense) of no-show mesh stabilizer in a hoop that is large enough for the design you’ve selected. Embroidery quilt blocks are generally square, so if your largest hoop is 8” x 12” (as mine is), the largest block you can create is the 8” x 8”.
  • Run the first color stop, which will be the placement line for the Insul-Bright. I put a white object underneath my hoop in the picture below just to make it easier to see the placement line.
  • Cut a piece of Insul-Bright about half an inch bigger than the placement line. The extra space will make it easier to trim. Now, place the Insul-Bright in the hoop, covering the placement line on all sides. You can use tape on the edges to hold it down if you’d like.
  • Run the second color stop, the tack down stitch for the Insul-Bright.
  • Remove the hoop from the machine (don’t unhoop anything!) and trim the Insul-Bright close to the stitching line, being cautious not to cut through the stitching line.
  • Cut your background fabric about half an inch larger than the block you’re making. For example, I’m using an 8-inch block so I’m cutting my fabric 8.5” square. 
  • Place the background fabric, centered, over the Insul-Bright. As you can see, I did a rough cut of the top fabric. Precision isn’t important here, as long as your fabric covers the entire placement line. Use spray adhesive or painter’s tape to hold the fabric in place.
  • Run the third color stop, the tack down stitch for the background fabric.
  • Run the next color stop, the quilting stitches.
  • If you’re using separate files for the quilting and embellishment, this should be the end of your quilting stitches. Load the embellishment file next.
  • If you’ve combined your quilting and embellishment files, the remaining color stops are your embellishments. Go ahead and run all of those.
  • When you’ve completed your color stops, remove the hoop from the machine and unhoop your embroidered quilt block project. 
  • Trim the block ¼” from the outside stitch line. Since you’ve trimmed the Insul-Bright at the stitch line in a previous step, trimming the finished block at ¼” from the stitch line should give you a seam allowance with just the fabric, without the bulk of the Insul-Bright. 

Finishing Touches

With a simple internet search, you’ll find that there are several different ways to finish an embroidered quilt block. I’ll discuss the methods I used in this project, but do a little research, and find the method that works best for you!

For the Floral Block

  • Cut your quilt block back fabric about one-quarter-inch larger than the size of the finished block. For example, I’m doing an 8-inch block so I’m cutting my fabric 8.25-inches square. 
  • Spray the back of the quilt block with temporary adhesive spray, and center the back fabric right-side up on the back of the quilt block.
  • Now you have a perfectly square, 8.25”, embroidered quilt block, ready for binding!
  • For the binding, cut a strip of coordinated fabric that is long enough to go around the exterior of the block (8.25” x 4 = 33”), with a little extra for good measure (33” + 3” = 36”). The width of this strip is up to you! I used 2.5”.
  • Fold the strip in half lengthwise, right side out, and press to form a strip of binding.
  • There are many different ways to apply binding. In this project, I sewed the binding to the back, wrapped it to the front, and mitered the corners.

For the Plaid Monogram Block

  • Cut your quilt block back fabric about one-and-a-half inches larger than the size of the finished block. I’m doing an 8-inch block, so I’m cutting my fabric 9.5-inches square.
  • Spray the back of the block with temporary adhesive spray, and center the back fabric right-side up on the back of the quilt block. Make sure the two blocks are centered at this stage, so that there are equal amounts of back fabric extending beyond the front fabric on all sides. You’ll fold that extra fabric around the front to bind the block.
  • Fold and press the back fabric down ¼”. Now, fold again, over the edge of the front fabric. This should cover the outside stitch line. Clip in place as you go, and save the corners for last.
  • Fold the corners the same way you did on the sides, creating a mitered corner. Clip in place.
  • Sew the binding in place, using coordinated top and bobbin thread. Sew closely to the folded edge, ensuring you’ve covered the stitch line on the top fabric.

There are Infinite Possibilities!

Whether you’re making an heirloom quilt or a housewarming present, combining various quilt block designs makes for a plethora of projects! Designs by JuJu offers many different design options that work beautifully for quilts.

Your fabric choices can add another layer of detail to your projects! For one of my projects, I used the fabric from one of my husband’s old shirts, made an embroidered quilt block, and added a monogram to create a beautiful potholder with added sentimental value.

Dig through your scrap stash and browse DBJJ’s enormous library of designs to create your own, one-of-a-kind, machine embroidered quilt blocks!

Charlotte McKinney

Charlotte McKinney

Charlotte McKinney has been learning machine embroidery since 1999. She caught the bug from her mother and through all the seasons of her life it’s brought her joy. Whether squeezing it in late at night after the toddlers went to bed or having larger chunks of time to devote to it in retirement, embroidery has been a trusted friend and creative outlet.