What’s on Your Bucket List?
What’s on your embroidery bucket list? Want to get the whole embroidery experience? Then write an embroidery bucket list. You’ll find if you write it down, you’re apt to tackle some of those easy-to-put-off complicated embroidery projects. And once you do, you’ll probably discover that they were way easier than you imagined.
I’ve compiled three embroidery bucket lists – one for newbie, intermediate and advanced skill levels. This post will feature the bucket list for newbies. Look for the bucket lists for Intermediate and Advanced skill levels in upcoming issues of Designs in Machine Embroidery!
- Select a built-in a design from your machine and stitch it on a knit fabric, cotton quilting fabric and a piece of denim. Experiment with different stabilizers until you’re satisfied with the results. You’ll see how changing the fabric can really change the design – and you’ll learn what stabilizer works best on each fabric. Write the name and type of the stabilizer on these samples and keep them for future reference.
- Play with color by selecting your favorite go-to thread color and stitching the same design on several different colored fabrics. You might be surprised at the results. That pink that you always thought was so bright might actually be a bit dull on blue fabric. Look at the difference between these two shades of pink.
- Get comfortable with the editing features on your machine. Experiment with rotating, duplicating and mirror imaging. Then move the design(s) all over the sewing field, filling the hoop. Use the jog keys to move the design. See how many designs you can squeeze into the frame. I did this when I created an e-reader cover.
- Practice perfect placement. Draw a horizontal line on a piece of fabric. Hoop the fabric keeping the line within the sewing field but not dead center. Create a simple word like PEACE and position it on the line. Someday you’ll have to place a monogram above a pocket and this will teach you how to approach that task.
- Make it a habit to use the basting file with every design you stitch. The basting file is similar to auto insurance, you don’t have to be insured to drive a car but you should have at least basic coverage. If something happens during the embroidery process, the basting file can be used to realign. See point 6.
- Learn to rehoop in the middle of a design. If your machine has it, select the basting icon and add a basting outline to a design. Stitch the outline, then begin stitching the design. Interrupt the machine and yep – take the hoop off of the machine and the fabric out of the hoop. Make a note of the stitch number. Now rehoop as best you can. Here’s a tip – use the hoop marks as a starting guide. Reattach the hoop to the machine and see where the needle is positioned. Most likely, it won’t be centered exactly over the last stitch. Use the stitch advance key to go back to the basting file. Travel over the outline, stitch by stitch. The needle should be positioned over the stitched outline – travel around at least one corner to verify the fabric is square. You may need to move or rotate the design to align the design. This is good practice because someday you’ll have to do this on a real embroidery project. Once you’re satisfied the needle is aligned with the basting outline, advance to the stitch number where you interrupted the design and complete the design. Pat yourself on the back!
- Create a traditional 3-letter monogram with the large last name letter flanked by two smaller letters (first and middle initials). This task will teach you the basics of monogramming, spacing and sizing of letters.
- Quilt with the embroidery machine. Work in manageable sections such as blocks or strips and hoop the quilt sandwich (backing, batting and quilt top fabric). Select a quilting design and press go! You’ve mastered embroidering on multiple layers.
- Lace. Who doesn’t love lace? Experiment with a variety of water soluble stabilizer – heavy, regular weight, mesh-like and film-type. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for dissolving the stabilizer.
- Embroider a Tote Bag. Sometimes the easiest way to embroider a bag is to turn it inside out, hoop the design area and then ‘open’ the bag to reveal the design area. This keeps the bulk of the bag on top of the hoop and you can keep an eye on the straps to avoid stitching on one. I actually placed this large tote bag over the machine head to keep everything away from the needle except for the design area. Magna-Hoop was a big help for this task.
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