1. Examine the garment to determine a focal point.
2. Sketch a few possibilities by making a simple line drawing of the garment.
Add dots and squiggly lines to represent flowers, vines or geometric shapes. Working with a blank that doesn’t have a tailored detail? Then focus on embroidery near the face since a smile is everyone’s best feature. It’s so easy to do neckline embroidery now with Nancy Zieman and my Neckline Makeovers – shipping on Tuesday – finally! Click here to put the focus on your smile!
3. Print templates of the embroidery designs.
It doesn’t matter what embroidery software you use, you can print a template of the design in actual size. Just go to File, Print and viola! Now you can see the design in actual size!
4. Audition the templates on the Garment.
Make it your policy to never take a stitch without printing a template and viewing it on the garment. You’ll learn so much about proportion, scale and placement if you view the designs in actual size before you stitch.
5. ‘Play’ with the layout by making subtle changes in placement.
Avoid fashion faux pas such as landing embroidery on bust points, at the widest part of the hip or too close to the side seam. Remember that wherever embroidery is placed, you’re drawing the eye to that part of the body. Make it intentional, not regrettable.
6. Vary the Scale.
Use your sizing software to alter the size of repeated designs. Boredom sets in when all designs are the same size. Make one large design the focal point then move the eye around the embroidery layout with smaller, more subtle designs or create a collage effect with layered designs, grids or swirls.
7. Add contrast with color, sparkle and shine.
Devoting a lot of hours to a garment? Then let it be seen! Move down the thread rack and select a thread that contrasts with the base fabric. It can still be monochromatic, just a different value so that the thread separates from the base fabric. Metallic threads and crystals, when used sparingly, add a lot of zing to humdrum embroidery layouts.
8. Don’t Overlook the Power of Appliqué.
Applique fabrics incorporate a whole new dimension to embroidery without adding unnecessary weight. Lightweight garments benefit from lightweight – but colorful – fabrics without losing their delicate hand or drape. Of course, the same is true for heavy fabrics such as denim, fleece and corduroy. A little applique goes a long way.
9. Include Decorative Stitching.
All those beautiful stitches on our sewing machine are ideal for revving up an embroidery layout. And the sins they cover! If you had trouble with placement – like getting flowers to link flawlessly – then just use your decorative stitches to meld them together – no one will be the wiser. Basic satin stitches connect all the leaves in the sample below.
10. Plan the Process
Working with sketches and templates gives you a plan. You’ll know what design gets stitches first. Mark the templates accordingly. I place a number in a circle to designate the order of the designs. This way if I get interrupted during the stitching (and who doesn’t?) I’ll know exactly where I left off.
So what’s your favorite tip for fashion embroidery? Tell us one tip – one rule of thumb that you always adhere to when working with blank garments and you’ll be in our drawing for an autographed copy of Contemporary Machine Embroidered Fashions. This is probably my favorite book. When I wrote this book I spent many hours exploring the best way to embellish, stabilize and hoop blanks. I learned so much and I think you will too!
The blog discussion topic from last week was:
“Tell me who makes the difference in your hobby? Is there someone you turn to for help, for inspiration or even mechanical assistance.”
The winner for Machine Embroidery with Confidence by Nancy Zieman is Diane J!
“I have received so much good advice from new embroidery friends at Miss Sammy’s sewing nite in Jasper,Texas.It is a huge help to get help from a lot of ladies that have been there and done that.They have helped me tremendously.”