French linen kitchen towel

Give your kitchen some French provincial style. You’ll love the Layout tool – the possibilities are endless!

Skill: Beginner

Time: 20 min software time, 20 minutes sewing time

Required: Hatch Embroidery Basics and Layout Editor Modules

Features: Mirror Merge, Align and Spacing, Duplicate, Set up Work Area, Layouts Tools, Optimize colors 

Theme: Traditional, Homewares

You’ll need...


  • Hatch Embroidery Basics and Layout Editor modules
  • Embroidery machine with Hoop to fit 140mm/5” design


  • A 75/11 sharp sewing needle (general purpose)
  • Cotton/linen tea towel (ours is 18” x 28” from All About Blanks)
  • Lightweight no-show mesh cutaway stabilizer
  • Temporary adhesive spray
  • Embroidery thread (we’ve used Madeira Rayon Blue 1133, White )
  • Scissors

Let’s get started!

Use Manage Designs > New From Selected to create new designs based on designs selected in the embroidery library.

Open design

  • Go to the Windows Start menu or desktop and click the link to start your embroidery software.
  • Go to the Toolboxes on the left and select ‘Manage Designs’.
  • Open the folder named 'Projects’ and choose 'French linen kitchen towel'.
  • Selec 'blueflower_start' and click New from Selected.                                         

Choose your machine

The software supports various sets of machine model. Some machines can be connected by cable directly to your PC via the USB port. If you have a newer machine model, you will have also received machine software. This needs to be installed independently of your embroidery software. Some machines read USB memory sticks. Choose your preferred machine model. This in turn will determine your hoop selection. See also Machine selection.

For this project, we have chosen 'metric' as the measurement system.

Use Customize Design > Auto Fabric to change the properties of the design for stitching on a different fabric.

Choose fabric type

To get the best stitch results, we’ll change the stitch settings to suit the fabric that the kitchen towel is made from. 

  • Go to the Customize Design toolbox and select Auto Fabric.

  • Choose a fabric type suitable for your kitchen towel. This will change the stitch density, pull compensation and underlay to optimize results for this fabric.  Since we are using a linen towel for our example, we would select Linen fabric type...

The recommended stabilizers to use with this type of fabric is listed for you as well.

Use Layout > Define Work Area to open the Easy Layout Work Area dialog to define either a rectangular or round work area of a specified size.

Use View > Show Design to show or hide design elements. Click to open droplist of view settings.

Set up work area

The tea towel is 460 mm x 720 mm. We'll set up a work area accordingly.

  • Go to the Layout toolbox and click the Define Work Area button.
  • Set up work area of 460 mm x 720 mm. (18.1in x 28.3in). See also Work areas.  
  • Make sure Work Area is activated in the Show Design droplist.

Create wreaths

Use Layout > Circle Layout to duplicate selected objects around a center point. Specify number of duplicates in the Context toolbar.

Create the small wreath

Using the small flower design, let’s create a wreath of single flowers.

  • Select the small flower and use the Circle Layouts in the Layout toolbox.
  • Set the number of flowers to 5. 
  • Without clicking, move your mouse until the flowers are almost touching each other to make a nice tight circle. Click to accept the layout.
  • Select all flowers and press <J> to ensure closest join.
  • Group the flowers.This ensures that they stay together and are easier to select and move.

Use Context / Layout > Duplicate to create a copy of a selected object in the same position. The duplicate is placed at end of stitching sequence. This tool is also available via Edit menu.
Use Context / Layout > Duplicate with Offset to create copy at a preset offset position. Use to create regular patterns of duplicate objects.

Duplicate the flower and leaves

Now we need to make a copy of the larger flower with the leaves.

  • Select the flower and leaves.
  • Go to Layout toolbox and select Duplicate. Alternatively, right-click and drag.

Use Layout > Circle Layout to duplicate selected objects around a center point. Specify number of duplicates in the Context toolbar.


Create a larger wreath

  • Select the duplicate and click Circle Layout in the Layout toolbox.
  • Change the Number of Copies to 4 in the Context toolbar. 
  • Now, without clicking, move your mouse and you’ll see that the design outlines follow in a circular motion. 
  • When you’re happy with the placement, click the mouse button.
  • With the wreath still selected, press <J> to ensure closest join.
  • Right-click and choose Group in the popup menu.

Use Context > Align Centers to align the centers of selected objects.

Use Context > Rotate Left 15° to rotate selected objects in 15° anti-clockwise increments.
Use Context > Rotate Right 15° to rotate selected objects in 15° clockwise increments.

Center the two wreaths

  • Select the large wreath and small wreath together - hold the <Ctrl> key on your keyboard while you click them.
  • In the Context toolbar, choose Align Centers from the Align dropdown menu. 
  • Use the rotation buttons to rotate the outer wreath. Alternatively, click twice and use the rotation handles to rotate the wreath to the desired position. 
  • Group both wreaths.

Create flower lines

Use Layout > Mirror-Copy Horizontal to mirror and copy selected objects horizontally.

Mirror Copy Horizontal

  • Select the flower with leaves we duplicated earlier, and move it to the left side of the wreaths. 
  • With the flower object selected, select the Mirror-Copy Horizontal in the layout toolbox. 
  • In a similar way to the Circle Layout, you’ll see a copy of the design appear in outline form with a vertical line to indicate the mirror point. Move your mouse so that the copied design is a small distance away from the original one. Click to accept the layout.
  • Group the objects. 

Now let’s add another flower line to the other side of the wreaths. 

  • With the flower line still selected, click Mirror-Copy Horizontal again, but this time move your mouse over to the left, so that the mirror line is over the center of the wreaths. Click to accept layout. 

Align to work area

Use View > Show Design to show or hide design elements. Click to open droplist of view settings.

Use Layout > Auto Center to Work Area to automatically move selected object/s to center of the work area.

Align to work area

We want to stitch the design at one end of the kitchen towel.

  • Turn on the work area if it hasn't been activated. 
  • Select all objects and click Auto Center to Work Area in the Layout Toolbox. Press <Enter> to confirm.
  • Holding down the <Ctrl> key, select the objects again and drag to the bottom of the work area.
  • Position the objects so that the design center is approximately 100 mm (3¾ inches) from the edge of the towel.
  • Press <M> on your keyboard to activate the measure tool for more precise placement. Press <Esc> two times to exit the measure tool. 

Prepare design for stitching

Click View > Show Hoop to show or hide hoop. Right-click for settings.

Select hoop

Now we’re going to select the hoop that the machine will use, and ensure the design fits within the stitching area.

  • Right-click the Hoop icon. You’ll see a droplist of all available hoops.
  • Select one that will fit the dimensions of the design. In this case we’ve selected Hoop GR. You will need to select a hoop that fits on your machine. 
  • Click OK and your hoop will appear around your design. 
  • You will need to rotate the hoop so the design fits within the hoop boundary. Right-click on the hoop and choose Rotate Hoop option in the popup menu.  

    If you do not have a hoop that will fit this design, use the Multi-hooping functions in your software. See Multi-hooping for details.

Use Edit Objects > Optimize Color Changes to optimize design by reducing color changes to a minimum, while maintaining color layers.

Use Edit Objects > Resequence Manually to show or hide Resequence docker. Use it to resequence objects and color blocks in a design.

Optimize color changes

  • Go to the Edit Objects toolbox and open the Resequence docker.  
  • Click the Colors button to show the design by colors. This shows you the order the design is going to stitch in, and therefore the number of color changes you will need to make on your machine.
  • Select the Optimize Color Changes tool. In one click, the software will minimize color changes.

Use View > Stitch Player to simulate embroidery design stitchout onscreen in either stitch or TrueView.

Preview stitchout

Preview the stitchout by running the Stitch Player and studying the simulation.

You can also manually resequence objects in the Design Sequence docker by dragging them into your preferred order. You have to be careful in reordering colors, however, that you don't inadvertently cover up objects that are supposed to be stitched on top. It is also good practice to use <J> to apply Closest Join to consecutive objects.


Output the design

Now we’re ready to send our design to the embroidery machine!

Use Output Design > Save Design As to save the current design with a different name, location or format.

Save your design

  • Go to the Output Design toolbox and choose Save Design As. To make it easy to keep track of your designs, the default location is a folder called ‘My Designs’ in the Embroidery Library.
  • Create a file name and save the design as native EMB to ensure you retain all the valuable information stored in the design file.

Use Output Design > Export Design to convert current design to a format other than your selected machine.

Convert to machine format

  • Now select Export Design. You can then find the format your machine reads. If you’re not sure, check the instructions provided with your machine.
  • This stitch file will be saved in a folder called 'My Machine Files' for easy reference later on.
  • You can then transfer this file to your machine. This could be through cable, wireless or USB stick or through a connection application provided with your machine.

Stitch the design

Let’s get stitching!


Adhere the stabilizer

  • Cut a piece of tear-away stabilizer the same size as the width of the kitchen towel.
  • Follow stabilizer manufacturer’s instructions to adhere to the back of the kitchen towel. Make sure the stabilizer is positioned at the bottom of the towel.


Position your design on the fabric

  • Fold the towel lengthways to establish the center line. 
  • Now measure 3¾ inches (100mm) from the bottom edge of the towel. 
  • Using a Quilter’s marking pencil, mark the center of the design on the fabric.
  • You will need to physically align the needle on the machine with this point within the hoop.


Hoop the kitchen towel

  • Position the hoop along the bottom edge of the kitchen towel, being careful to line it up against the vertical and horizontal edges.
  • Use the positioning template to ensure that you have the center mark lining up to the vertical center of the hoop.
  • Smooth the towel out and press the top of the hoop down firmly. Tighten as necessary. 


Set up your thread and needle

  • Thread the first color into your machine.
  • Move the needle to line up with the center point you marked on the towel.
  • Press start and enjoy seeing your creation come to life!


Finish the project

  • After you have removed the towel from the hoop, trim any loose threads. Gently tear away the stabilizer from the back of the towel.
  • Use a damp cloth to remove the positioning marks. Give the kitchen towel a good press.

Now it's ready to use! Oh, one more step… why not take a photo and share your creation!