The BERNINA Circular Embroidery Attachment—an Overview
This attachment might look a little odd, but it will give you great results for circular embroidery stitches! Get the best results with these tips and tricks in this overview by Kathy Kansier from Ozark, Missouri.
I recently purchased the BERNINA Circular Embroidery Attachment #83 to use with my BERNINA 880. I love this attachment because it has opened an array of creative possibilities I can use it in my quilt making, home décor projects and clothing construction. The Circular Embroidery Attachment will fit all of the new models of BERNINA sewing machines and most of the older models. It can be purchased at your local BERNINA store.
This attachment can be used to sew perfect circles and semicircles ranging in size from 3” to 10”. It can be used with a variety of presser feet. The presser foot you choose will depend on the technique you are using. The circular attachment will work with utility stitches, decorative stitches and even lettering for circular writing. Using embroidery thread will make your stitches shine.
Within the box you will find a booklet of detailed instructions, the flat metal attachment, a special screw driver and two flat head set screws (one is a spare).
There is a small screw hole on the bed of the machine, close to the throat plate. The metal attachment has a corresponding hole. Line up the holes, place the set screw in these holes and use the special screw driver to fasten the attachment to the machine. Do not over-tighten the screw. The flat head of the screw allows the fabric to smoothly slide over the attachment.
The metal attachment has a sharp, positioning pin with a rubber cap. The cap protects your fingers from the sharp pin and holds the fabric in place on the attachment. The positioning pin is attached to a black tab with grooves. There are notches along the metal bar for locking the pin in place. The open U-shaped area of the attachment fits around the feed dogs.
The positioning pin can be adjusted to the desired size circle you want to sew. Press on the black tab to gently slide the setting pin. Do not push or pull on the pin to make the size adjustment because it can become bent or dislodged.
The diameter of a circle is the distance from one side of the circle to the opposite side. The radius of a circle is half the distance of the diameter. The distance from the setting pin to the sewing machine needle is the radius of the circle. Determine the diameter of the circle you want to stitch. Divide this number in half to get the radius. Adjust the setting pin accordingly.
Circular stitches can be sewn clockwise or counter-clockwise. Depending on which direction you want to sew, the circular attachment can be placed to the right of the presser foot for counter-clockwise sewing or to the left for clockwise sewing. When sewing counter-clockwise, the stitching will be on the inside of the circle; when sewing clockwise, the stitching will be on the outside of the circle.
This directional option opens up creative possibilities that can be achieved. You can use a different decorative stitch for the inside and outside stitching or the same stitch on both the inside and outside of a circle. In my sample photos, I used the same decorative stitch.
Kathy’s Top Ten Tips For Creating Embroidered Circles
- Use the extension table with your machine to provide a large, flat, working surface for your project.
- To create a flat circle, use a stabilizer on the back side of your fabric. Use a fusible stabilizer or basting spray to hold the fabric and stabilizer together.
- Cut the stabilized fabric square at least 3” larger than the size of the desired circle. Fold the stabilized fabric square in half vertically and horizontally and finger press the center point. With the fabric face up, attach the center point of the stabilized fabric to the positioning pin. Use the rubber cap to hold the fabric in place.
- Select a utility or decorative stitch. Choose the appropriate presser foot for the stitch. Adjust the length and width settings of the stitch as desired.
- Use an embroidery thread for the upper thread and a matching thread color for the bobbin thread.
- Use a fine needle (Microtex size 70 or Embroidery size 75). These needles are thinner and sharper than a universal needle. They penetrate the fabric precisely and don’t leave noticeable holes in the fabric.
- Always make a sample before stitching the decorative circle on your project. The fabric will rotate around the positioning pin. Do not pull or push the fabric. It will feed itself in the circle.
- As you near the end of the circle, engage the Pattern End function so the ending stitch motif will match up with the beginning stitch motif. Use the Balance function or adjust the stitch length as needed to lengthen or shorten the ending motif. Practice doing this before working on your actual project. When doing lettering in a circle, repeating a short, single word is easiest. Sometimes there is not enough room to repeat a combination of words or a full sentence. A decorative stitch can be used to fill in the space between the beginning and ending of the words and it will look just fine.
- To make concentric circles, start with the smallest circle & work your way to the largest circle. Place the setting pin in the same center position on the fabric for each circle. Re-set the pin at least two notches apart on the attachment bar for equal spacing of the concentric rings. Change the thread colors & stitches to add interest.
- When you are finished with the circles, place the project face down on a fine towel or pressing mat. Spritz a little water on the project and heat set it from the back side with an iron set on medium heat. The cushion of the towel helps the stitches to remain slightly raised on the front. The center pin hole will disappear during this process and the project will lay nice and smooth.
Enjoy the endless possibilities the Circular Embroidery Attachment #83 provides.
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Great tutorial! I recently bought this attachment and have been dying to try it out. I have in mind to use it for quilting decorative circles. Since I’ll be sewing through quilt top, batting, and backing, I’m thinking that I won’t have to use stabilizer per se. Thoughts?