Design Positioning with Thumb Tacks and Basting Boxes

Imagine if I told you that there is an easy way to position multiple parts of a design using two thumbtacks and a basting box. Oh, and you will take the project out of the hoop each time a new part of the design is stitched. It’s true, and I’ll show you how it’s done.

Often, especially with quilt blocks, you will see designs that must be positioned in sets of four. I have shown you how thumb tacks can be used as a centering tool. When used in conjunction with a basting box, thumb tacks act as anchors for perfect design placement of multiple-hooped designs.

It helps if you use a larger piece of fabric than is needed. It’s easier to cut it down to size than it is to hoop and stitch it four times and have everything come out perfectly centered on the fabric. Magnetic hoops make this technique nearly effortless.

I’m using English Rose Quilt Blocks by Embroidery Weekly.

Start by hooping stabilizer. Stitch the design out and include a basting box to hold the fabric, batting, and stabilizer in place.

When stitching is done, remove everything from the hoop and trim stabilizer on the back of the embroidery. Hoop new stabilizer and run a basting stich directly on the stabilizer.

Place two thumb tacks through the back of the hooped stabilizer on the corners that will butt up against the existing embroidery.

Position the embroidered project over the hoop and line up the corners of the first basting box over the thumb tacks. A piece of craft foam on top holds the first corner tack in place while the second tack is positioned.

Smooth everything in the hoop and secure with temporary adhesive if necessary. Place the hoop back on the machine and run the second basting stitch. If everything lines up well, embroider the second design. If it doesn’t, snip the basting stitches and reposition.

Like anything else, it gets easier with practice, but this technique works pretty well, pretty quickly!