MCS Featherstitch for You & T-Bonnet

UPDATE: Barbara Skimin’s My Custom Stitch book is available at  Allbrands. 


T Bonnet MCSAll BR

This bonnet was featured in an earlier post, but since I’ve become a teeny bit more blog savvy, I decided to post it again for Faded Charm Cottage’s White Wednesday.

Why? Well, I wanted to create a tutorial page and thought I would make the zig zagged feather stitch available for download there.   It was created in Brother’s My Custom Stitch and will only work on machines with that feature.

Oh, I had big plans indeed.  I would include that stitch in my new Tutorials page, shown under the Janice Ferguson Sews title at the top of each post.  I managed to create the page and–I thought!!!–included a .pdf file for Florence Roberson’s smocked pocket pattern  shown in an earlier post. I was on a blogger roll and feeling rather pleased.

As I tried to add the zig zagged feather stitch file, a message popped up that this file type was “unrecognized” and could not be downloaded…  groan…..Okay.  I will e-mail the file to readers who request it.

Then I discovered that the .pdf smocked pocket pattern file does not show up on the  newly created tutorial page at all!#$%!!!   But I am determined to figure this out sooner or later—but probably later.




Back to the T-bonnet and the zig zagged featherstitch….   If any of you  would like this file, just post a request in the comment section and I will e-mail it to you.

If you have this feature on your Brother machine and are unfamiliar with it, I suggest you check your instruction manual.  This file can be downloaded onto a floppy or memory stick–whatever your machine reads– and loaded into your My Custom Stitch memory. Then you simply call up the design and start feather stitching.

The instruction manual directions seemed  a little skimpy to me.  I  found more detailed information in Barbara Skimin’s  very helpful book on the subject. I was fortunate to meet her at one of the Brother conventions where I was teaching and her enthusiasm for My Custom Stitch was contagious.




Copying crazy patch stitches from antique quilts would be so easy with this book at your side.




If your machine is another brand and has a similar capability, I suggest you try it out.  By manipulating classic hand embroidery stitches to change direction and repeat, you open a whole world of creative possibilities.

Any machine can make a T-bonnet with one sort of embellishment or another.  I hope you all will enjoy this post and the directions for the bonnet.

If you would like the zig zagged feather stitch, please leave your request as a comment.  Below is the original post on the T-bonnet and how the diamonds were created.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~




Just before my first grandchild, Laurel, was born, I made this T-bonnet for her.  Is there any sweeter sight than a baby in a bonnet?  And she did look absolutely precious in it.  Why I have no picture of her wearing it,  I don’t know.  I suppose I was so overcome with the emotion of holding my first grandchild that I missed many photo opportunities.

Like so many of my projects, this T-bonnet incorporates two of  my favorite techniques, heirloom sewing and machine embroidery. A genuine classic, the T-bonnet is named for it’s shape rather than an occasion suitable for its wear.


MCS Tbonnetscan


It is obvious from my previous posts that I love feather stitching.   And while the sewing side of many machines come with a built in feather stitch, turning the corner is very iffy business.   Not only must you know exactly where in the stitch pattern to pivot, but also you must be at the precise location of the desired pivot when you reach that point.   But I love the look of a zig zag feather stitch down the front of a yoke or a little boy’s dress shirt so I was motivated to figure out a way to do this more easily and more accurately.

So I decided to try out the My Custom Stitch feature on my sewing machine.  I thought if I could take the time to design a feather stitch with one turn, I could just repeat it for a zig zag pattern.  All top of the line Brother machines, beginning with the ULT series, has this feature which enables you to design your own decorative stitch.  I’m sure other machines have similar programs.  So I created one feather stitch pattern, one half of the diamond shown below, and then sewed it continuously, making a zig zag.




From there, creating a diamond was an easy next step.  So on this T-bonnet, I stitched one side of the zig zag feather and then went down the other side, matching centers.

This must be stitched on heavily starched fabric (I used cotton batiste) with a very light weight stabilizer .  My favorite is the 3″ wide Stitch’nDitch.  Still,  the joining points might not match up perfectly.




Placing a machine embroidered flower over each of those intersections covers any imperfections.  If the match up is pretty good, you might choose to embroider a flower at alternate intersections.  The flower shown is from Fil Tire’ and Fancywork Elements, a collection by my good friend Suzanne Sawko and me.




That same flower was used in the center of the tatting and ribbon rosettes which cover the ribbon tie attachment.  Tatting was tiny zig zagged to 1/4″  ribbon, a gathering thread was stitched on the opposite edge of the ribbon,  joined into a circle and then gathered to make the rosette.  The ribbon, however, is too bulky to allow the circle to be closed at the center.  So it was hand whipped closed and then machine embroidered with the little flower.

A T-bonnet is very versatile.   It can be tailored for a boy or frilly for a girl.  Just make two sections of fabric, one 12 1/2″ x 4″ to reach from ear lobe to ear lobe and another 6″ x 3″, to reach from the crown to the neck and embellish as you like.  Then add  ties, one on each finished corner.



That’s all there is to this easy bonnet.  The addition of the feather stitch diamonds is a nice touch.



32 responses to “MCS Featherstitch for You & T-Bonnet

  1. Lynn Poulin

    Gorgeous bonnet! While I don’t have a Brother machine, I do have a Pfaff 1475 with a gizmo called a Creative Designer that I can program stitches with–I’m going to play around with it and see what I can do.

  2. This is one of the prettiest, daintiest T-bonnets I have ever seen. I have never made one but I would like to now. It is just lovely. I don’t have an embroidery machine so I can’t program the featherstitch but I could do it by hand. Thank you for sharing this design and your hard work with everyone!

  3. Lynn, you will certainly be able to do it with the Creative Designer. A friend of mine did a whole collection of very intricate crazy patch stitches with the CD. Pull that out and put it to work. Let us know how it works out.

  4. Thanks, Karen. A T-bonnet is such a fun, versatile project. I once made a boy version out of ivory flannel embellished with lace tape, blue feather stitching, plain bullions in groups of three and was lined with blue batiste. Instead of ribbons at the back, there were buttons on each corner connected by tabs of grosgrain ribbon with buttonholes. It was sweet and masculine at the same time. Then there is the ultra feminine version as shown. It can be simple or elaborate. I would love to see one designed and made by you. By the way, the zig zag feather stitch is an owner designed decorative stitch, worked with a presser foot and feed dogs up– not done with the embroidery unit.

  5. Beautiful, Janice. I love making T-bonnets, but it has been a long time. Need to do a couple for my new great niece. Did you make your own tatting? It is beautiful, too. I tried doing some tatting about 15 yrs ago, but my carpal tunnel was at its worst, so I have never accomplished that handwork. I have some old, old sample that were passed down through my husband’s family. They are all small piece of art & I think I would do best if I framed them for display. They are too sweet to keep tucked away.

  6. No, Beckie, I did not make the tatting. Like you, I tried years ago, but didn’t continue and never picked it up again. As long as this pretty stuff is available commercially, I will put my efforts into other needlearts. You are so fortunate to have what I call “granny tatting” so as to distinguish it from the very nice but lacking in sentimentality Chinese made tatting. They would make a lovely framed display.

  7. Shirley, AZ

    Another lovely bonnet and you might know I would show up sooner or later to request that stitch! Thanks in advance for sending that to me. I haven’t begun to explore all the things this machine will do but it is impressing me more with every project. Thanks for all you do for the rest of us.

  8. Merry Gay Lape

    I would love for you to send me the file for this. I have played around with My Custom Stitch very little. I really need to locate one of those books! Like you said, the manual that comes with the machine is lacking. I do love my Brother and one day will know about everything it can do! Thanks for sharing this Janice. You are such an inspiration for me.

  9. Love the Bonnet Janice! And I would love to have your custom featherstitch, thanks so much for sharing with us.


  10. oooh, I can’t wait to see what you might do with this, Betty. I’ll send it ASAP.

  11. I’ve just sent the MCS file, Merry and hope you enjoy it. By the way, I was told that Barbara Skimin’s book, My Custom Stitch is out of print. A lady in Australia looked high and low for it and was unable to find it. But I just located it at on sale. I don’t know if it has been reprinted or if this is just the end of stock. Check it out.

  12. Marilyn Beisler

    I just found your lovely bonnet when searching for the My Custom Stitch book. The bonnet and stitching are just lovely. I would love the feather stitch pattern if still available. I am going to buy the book as have never had much luck designing the stitches. Have not used my Brother for several years (it is a PC 8500) as work takes up all of my time, but now plan to get back to sewing just as soon as I retire next month!

  13. Welcome back to the sewing world, Marilyn! Brother’s 8500 is a classic machine, often called a workhorse. For both sewing and embroidery, the stitches are perfect and the hemstitching is just divine. My Custom Stitch is a Brother exclusive feature that you will enjoy more and more as you use it. I have sent the zig zag feather stitch to you. Happy sewing!

  14. Marilyn, the design has been sent to you. I hope you will share some of your MCS projects with us!

  15. I would love this. Is it possible to send me the instructions for programming this into my brother laura ashley nx2000?

  16. Janine, it appears from the info on-line that your Laura Ashley NX2000 does have the My Custom Stitch feature. I’m not sure how you program it into the machine, but I will send it to you in hopes that you can use a memory stick or other transfer device. The alternative is to get a copy of Barbara Skimmin’s book as recommended in the blog post. MCS is a great feature, but the zig zag featherstitch is the only stitch I have designed with it.

  17. I have a Brother 6000D Quattro. I have My Custom Stitch, and would love to try this. Please send me the file. My machine takes a memory stick. Thank you for sharing this. I love the bonnet!

  18. You are so fortunate to have a Quattro. I absolutely love mine and am awed by its capabilities. The MCS design has been sent. Happy sewing!

  19. I have a nx560q with the custom stitch feature although I’ve not tried designing my own stitches. Now that you’ve had this book for a while do you feel it’s worth the money? Did it help you? Is the stitch you created a digital pattern. I have to manually input each point into my machine. I would love to get your pattern if not too much trouble. Thanks!

  20. Karen, I’m so glad you have the My Custom Stitch feature on your machine. The design has been sent so I hope you enjoy playing with it.

  21. Please, send MCS, thanks.

  22. Sylvia, the design has been sent. I hope you find many uses for it.

  23. That is beautiful. I have just got a brother machine with the custom stitch feature and would love a copy of your design please. I’m in the UK and trying to locate a copy of Barbara’s book to learn how to make stitches myself 🙂

  24. Yvonne, the design has been sent. Happy sewing on your new Brother machine.

  25. I just got a Brother Dreamweaver and am learning about MCS. I would love to recieve your design.
    Thank you

  26. Bette, you are going to love your Brother machine and that fabulous My Custom Stitch features. The design will be in your box momentarily.

  27. Beautiful bonnet! I got my Brother Quattro last November and haven’t figured out My Custom Stitch at all. I asked my dealer and the instructor they have has no idea how to use it either. I did get a candlewicking stitch someone on my yahoo group created. I would love to have the feather stitch. I think I need to buy the book you mentioned. Where can I find it? Thanks in advance for the stitch.

  28. Mary, AllBrands had the book a while ago. If they no longer have it I’d look on Amazon. I know they used to have several used copies. MCS is not hard to use, but it’s like riding a bike–very hard when you don’t know how and then…aha!! You have it. I’ll send you the file as well as the coordinates so you can try to plot the stitch and check for the correct numbers. Have fun with this. Sadly, this great feature is underused.

  29. Janice your work & ideas are superb once again with also my favourites Heirloom & machine embroidery . As I have said previously just wished you were closer to my door step on opposite side of the world . Janice I would love the zig zag feather stitch & also the coordinates . I am hoping that I may be able to follow them as I had one lesson on MCS for the Quattro 2 yrs ago so with a little bit luck I may succeed with them . Are there any other stitches that you have also created . I agree it is a superb feature , but no one will put the time into teaching us . Many thanks Coral

  30. I saw your post on the Yahoo group so I came here to take a look. It is a beautiful stitch. I have a Brother Dream Machine and have My Custom Stitch. I would love to try this if you don’t mind sending the file. Thank you for sharing this.

  31. Coral, thank you for your sweet words. Your love of heirloom and machine embroidery certainly are the same as mine! The files have been sent so you can fire up your fabulous Quattro and try them out. Good luck with MCS. It is worth studying and using.

  32. Mary, congratulations on being a Dream Machine owner!!!!! That machine is truly a dream. The design files have been sent so you can try this out. Have fun with the stitch and your awesome machine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.