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Machine Embroidery: Creativity with the Bella Box

One of my goals over the past couple of years has been to learn how to use the Machine Embroidery function of my Baby Lock Destiny II sewing machine. I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of what that machine can do. But I’ve felt intimidated by the learning curve, figuring out what stabilizer and thread to use. . .where to even start, really. And that’s all on me as I lacked the discipline (and time) to just sit down and learn. Well, I found the best solution and I have had SO much fun playing with my machine this past week, thanks to the Live Creatively Bella Box from Kimberbell.

Last Spring I had the chance to visit the Kimberbell offices and warehouse in northern Utah and was blown. away. by all that they are doing! The creativity and innovation coming out of those buildings was incredible. If you’re familiar with Kimberbell, they have been producing high quality machine embroidery products and designs as well as fabric, quilting notions and patterns for almost 10 years.

When the folks at Kimberbell reached out to me to see if I would like to review their latest Live Creatively Bella Box I jumped at the chance because I knew it would give me the motivation and opportunity to sit and and force myself to learn how to use my machine as well as try new techniques. This post is sponsored by Kimberbell but all thoughts, experiences and opinions are my own. And I’m delighted to say that this box was PERFECT for learning new skills and techniques as I had clear and easy-to-follow instructions plus all of the supplies to make every project. 

I’ve seen lots of sewing mystery boxes over the years and this one was by far the biggest, fullest, and most impressive. I loved that the box contained all of the supplies – including quilted pillow blank with hidden zipper, two ombre tea towels and a heavy duty felt folio with a ton cool features + embellishments. Also included were specialty fabrics like vinyl, felt, and mylar, plus a zipper, ribbon etc. needed to make 6 exclusive projects. (The only things not included in the box are interfacing and thread.)

The Bella Box also includes a charm pack of assorted cheery fabrics to used for all of the applique projects. There are so many colors, prints and pieces to choose from, you can easily use the photos in the mini magazine included as your inspiration, or you can personalize your projects by using different colors and prints. In addition to the project supplies, there are lots of extra goodies including a weighted paper-tape-dispenser, mini inspiration magazine, notebook, sticker set and collectible enamel pin.

All of the files for printing instructions as well as the embroidery files are on one handy USB jump drive. It’s easy to plug into a computer to print the instructions for each project as well as plug into the sewing machine to access the embroidery design files. The USB drive also includes SVG files to use for cutting machines.

The instructions for each project are SO well organized and clearly written with step by step photos. They made them easy to follow – even for a newbie like me. There is also a QR code on each set of instructions that will take you directly to a video to walk you through each project as well. The instructions also clearly list what Hoop Size to use, supplies you need, including the right kind of stabilizer, and additional materials.

I loved that the projects were so different from each other and each taught me different skills and techniques. I have really enjoyed making each one so far and look forward to making the rest and continuing to build my skills and confidence along the way.

I started by making the felt book marks and this super cute CREATE pennant banner. I’m still pretty new to ‘in the hoop’ projects  – meaning the whole project is sewn in the embroidery hoop – and these projects boosted my confidence so quickly. (The other thing I really love about machine embroidery – besides the part where the machine does almost all of the work – is that the machine also tells me what step I need to take next. In which case, I guess the machine is still doing almost all of the work. lol) 

While I’ve had more experience with the embroidery function of the machine, this was one of my first experiences with the applique capabilities. I also love getting to add some of my own touches of personal creativity to each project. For example in this project I used some leftover charm squares from my Notting Hill collection to make the banner. Now it matches perfectly with my Notting Hill pennant bunting. 🙂

I also had fun learning how to ‘collage applique’. I practiced first on a bunch of heart blocks. 

Make Life Beautiful Machine Embroidery handmade pillow

When I felt a little more confident, I stitched out this beautiful flower applique on the included pillow ‘blank’. Can I just say, these pillow blanks are ingenious? The quilting and invisible zipper are all ready done – all that is left to do is personalize the pillow any way you would like, then sew up the remaining three sides and voila – a finished pillow that looks so professional!

Next on my ‘to-make’ list is a very elaborate folding portfolio for keeping creativity supplies as well as places to make notes, brainstorm, and record ideas. I’m excited to learn even more skills with this one – the project looks intimidating – a lot of steps – but I feel pretty confident because the step-by-step processes have been spelled out so clearly with every project. Making them feel really doable. I’m really excited to tackle and personalize it.

The Live Creatively Bella Box does not include any stabilizer or thread. You will need to buy those separately. Kimberbell creates a wide variety of Stabilizer products – you can learn more about them here and how they are color coded for easy recognition. All Stabilizers are available from My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shoppe.

The Live Creatively Bella Box is available for purchase here.

And coming soon – the Handmade Holiday Bella Box will be available to preview and order on October 14. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got in store next!

Just to be clear, you do have to have a sewing machine with machine embroidery capabilities to make all of the products in this box. (A variety of sewing machine manufacturers make machines with embroidery function – not just Baby Lock.)

While I realize most of my readers don’t have a sewing machine with machine embroidery function, I know that there is  a lot of creative crossover between quilters and machine embroiderers. I would be curious to know how many of my readers have an embroidery machine? What do you love to make with it? What would you like to learn more about? 

I’m really excited to learn and play more with my machine. Next on my list: learning how to machine quilt in the hoop!

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Betsy Davis
    October 8, 2021 at 9:07 pm

    This is such a great idea! I just started embroidering again after a couple of years off. I do love it….. would love to get a newer machine, mine is about 10 years old, so not quite as efficient as the newer ones…. But it works 😊 I, too, want to learn to quilt “in the hoop” I have always been a bit intimidated, but hope to try….. I will “follow your lead”!😊

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    October 9, 2021 at 7:22 am

    This looks like a lot of fun! I have an embroidery machine, but it is almost 10 years old. It is by Brother – the Laura Ashley Isodore model (it is huge!). I haven’t used the embroidery section in years. I should dust it off and give it a try again. I’d love to use it to do the actual quilting for my quilts, but that might be too much for such an old machine.

  • Reply
    Paula Reid
    October 9, 2021 at 9:11 am

    I have the same machine that you do and would also like to explore the embroidery capabilities. Thanks for a great review!

  • Reply
    Kris Ross
    October 9, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Baby lock is an embrodiery machine? Hmmm I have an older Bernina …. the connection from computer to machine etc. is “iffy” thinking of….wishing I guess you’d say getting a new embroidrey machine….but WHICH one? Im not the best in computer stuff and know the new ones have the “stick” but that may be MORE confusing….

    • Reply
      Amy
      October 11, 2021 at 10:57 am

      Baby Lock makes a full range of sewing machines, some of them have embroidery capabilities. Lots of manufacturers make sewing machines with embroidery options. I’d definitely recommend visiting a local sewing machine dealer if you can as they will be able to answer all of the questions and find which machine best fits your needs/budget/etc. They’ll also provide training on all of the machines they sell. Some of the new machines have a lot of bells and whistles but are actually really user friendly once someone shows you how. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sherly
    October 10, 2021 at 5:51 am

    Hi,
    Does the Live Creatively Bella Box work with any embroidery machine ? Love your post today.

    thanks,
    Sherly

    • Reply
      Amy
      October 11, 2021 at 10:54 am

      Yes! It works with lots of machines with embroidery capacity. You could reach out to Kimberbell to ask about your specific machine, as they’ll know all of the details for sure: https://kimberbell.com/contact/

  • Reply
    Mary Cardon
    October 10, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to this box. Never knew it existed! I have a Bernina with the embroidery module. I took the intro class when I first got my sewing machine…twice! But I have never done anything on my own! This may just be the answer to learning how to use it!!

    • Reply
      Amy
      October 11, 2021 at 10:50 am

      Hooray! I hope you have fun with it! It made a big difference for me.

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