This is a very long post, but it was necessary for this tutorial.
Here is the design that I am using. I made it in Photoshop and then printed it out.
You can lay the printed design under the tear-away embroidery stabilizer to transfer the design to the stabilizer. I am using Aqua Tear (biodegradable) by oesd. I purchased it from one of my local quilt shops. This stabilizer can also go through your printer.
I traced the amount that I needed on the tear away stabilizer.
Then cut out around each design.
Your fabric needs to be starched. You can starch it once or twice. I have two 8.5" squared fabrics on top of each other, facing down. With the batik on the bottom, it doesn't really matter which side is up or down because there is no real "back" to it. If you are using a light and dark fabric, it is best to put the dark fabric where my blue one is and your light fabric where my green fabric is.
*For those in my quilt guild, you have already been assigned which fabric goes where.*
Next center / place your design on the back of the two fabrics, and pin in place.
There are your tools. Cotton thread will blend well with the fabric and not stand out. It is best to use a color thread that matches the fabric that will be on top (my top fabric is blue). You will also need an open toe foot for your sewing machine, and scissors that curve up at the end.
Just a quick note about loading your thread: If your thread forms diagonals on the spool, then it is best to lay it sideways/horizontal on your machine (like the above picture). If your thread makes horizontal / straight lines on the spool, then it should be vertical on your machine. I also like to have the thread running from the back to the front (coming off of the spool).
The first machine setting: A tight straight stitch, length is 1, and needle should be in the down position (so when you stop sewing the needle is in the fabric).
Then sew over your design lines on top of the stabilizer (on the back of the fabrics).
*Take your time sewing.*
All 3 circles are sewn.
The front of the fabric.
Next take out your scissors with the curve at the tip, and cut through the top layer of fabric.
Butt the scissors up against the sewn line, and cut around that first line/circle.
The stitches are close together so that they don't break during this part.
For this design, cut out the first ring. Be careful which side of the sewn line that you are cutting on.
Here is the first ring cut out.
Leave the second ring intact. Then cut out the center circle.
Here it is with all of the parts cut out.
*For my quilt guild: Some of you will have the green on the outside, and some will have the blue on the outside (like me). To help you remember where to cut, mark the cut areas with chalk.*
The next stitch is a satin stitch. I have 2 stain stitched on my machine, so I used the cut out center circle to play around with which one looked best. I also played with the length and width of the stitch to see which one I liked the best.
I have a Bernina 220. I used satin stitch #9 on my machine, length 0.5, and width 2. The needle is in the down position once again.
Then sew around the circles with a satin stitch. The main part of your stitches should be on top of your top fabric (my top fabric is blue). That means that just a little bit of your stitches goes over the straight stitch and cut edge. This helps to insure that your top fabric stays on.
Take your time sewing around your design!
I do a back stitch a little at the beginning and end of each round.
Here are all of my edges sewn down with a satin stitch.
Here is the back.
Take out your pins and tear away the stabilizer. You can use a pin to help tear and lift up the stabilizer where needed.
Here is the back, stabilizer free.
Next cut away some of the back fabric to decrease the bulk of your square.
Leave about a quarter to a half of an inch from the first circle.
Make sure not to cut your top fabric (the blue one pictured here).
Voila! The front. It is now ready to be pieced to the other squares.
You can also see a felt version of this here. I do not know what happened to my video version of it, but I will be re-uploading that soon.