A Mended Heart

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By Denise Holguin, Managing Editor

I found the perfect quote to stitch from one of my favorite authors—Jane Austen. Using the Calligraphy Project Designer, I typed the text, selected the Jester Pro font and created a heart shaped path. Lots of fun! Then I added the decorative embroidery element in the center. Everything was going smooth! The stitching was a snap since I used Snap Hoop.

I’ve stitched heart pillows before—it’s about as complex a sewing project as I can handle—complete with two curves and a pointy end. (Ooh! Ahh!) But it has been awhile since I’ve sewn—I couldn’t find the correct sewing foot and I had some bobbin case problems. Once I got the machine started, I was thrilled. I sewed like there was no tomorrow—with such enthusiasm. Around the time it was too late to recover from my sewing faux pas, I realized I should have left the opening for the pillow in a more discrete spot—not toward the top of the pillow. After all, my machine sewing skills are limited—you can imagine my hand sewing skills.

But I was confident I could do it. I stuffed the pillow with poly-fil and by the time I was ready to sew the opening shut, the fabric was rather frayed. Was I afraid? Nah, I can work with what I have. And I did. When I looked at my finished pillow, it looked very sad… and deformed. It was a horribly, sad and deformed pillow. I hung my head in shame. It started out cute in my mind. Now what?

Then I had a GREAT idea! It’s time to add some embellishment. It will conceal my less than perfectly formed heart. I rummaged through our very extensive array of trim and ribbons and found this delightful trim with pom-poms.

I attached the trim and am pleased with the results. I also made a small bow by combining two trims. The button was the perfect addition. Now excited (and proud!) I decided to add the heart shaped charm for the finishing touch.

The lesson in this blog—part of the creative process is finding ways to solve unexpected mishaps. Don’t throw away your creation or quit just because it didn’t turn out as impeccable or flawlessly as you had imagined. See the mistakes as opportunities. I’m glad I did. I have a pretty heart pillow!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Finding creative solutions to mistakes isn’t limited to machine embroidery! Tell us about a time you had to solve a problem and the end result turned out better than expected. Maybe while sewing…cooking…baking or ? We want to know! One random comment will be chosen as the winner of a $25 gift certificate to Embroitique.com website. Someone will get paid for making a mistake and recovering from it! Not a bad deal!

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The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Stitchers… has this ever happened to you? Were you able to save your project? Post a comment and share your story. You’re in good company! One comment will be chosen to receive a Bird’s Nest Tool Kit!

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And the winner is…Claudia H. “Thru the yrs I have come up with my own “birds nest kit” but didnt market it. T G Eileen has!

I was embroidering on a heavy bath towel when the design got distorted because the towel end slipped off the table on PR 600II and wt of towel caused the distortion. Of course I had left to do something for hubby! Since it was for my 18 month old grandson, I was able to cut off the 6 inches of the width of the towel and sew the border back to remaining towel! His towel is just a bit shorter than big brothers!”

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42 Comments on A Mended Heart

  1. nancy
    April 16, 2014 at 9:09 pm (6 years ago)

    Did I miss a post on cleaning/de-linting the upper thread path of a multi-needle machine? I have the PR650 and thought I remembered seeing something but I can’t find it! Thanks, nancy

    Reply
  2. Jacqueline Curtis
    April 16, 2014 at 9:50 pm (6 years ago)

    I was making a pillow and thougt I had enough material cut out for my project, but after I had embroidered and started to put it together I was a bit short on the needed piece. It was the front of course. I added some more material, a different color or two and so it ended up being a patchwork pillow, rather than what it had started out to be.

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm (6 years ago)

      Jacqueline,
      Patchwork is a great solution!

      Denise

      Reply
  3. Shirley Clark
    April 16, 2014 at 10:03 pm (6 years ago)

    I was stitching a Dollymama design in my 6 x 10 hoop one day, and I turned my chair around to do something on the computer. Yep, the hoop got bumped – really bad, and the towel even jumped out of the hoop. I was so upset because it was getting close to being done, and it took a long time.
    I carefully followed the hoop marks, and placed it back on the machine. Then I had to start over from where it began to the point where it stopped so I could hopefully get it in the right spot to start sewing.
    I couldn’t believe I actually did it! It turned out just fine too! Whew!

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm (6 years ago)

      Shirley,
      There should be a warning siren when we turn our chairs around and get too close to our machines. Very impressive you were able to save your project!

      Denise

      Reply
  4. Joanne Banko
    April 16, 2014 at 10:23 pm (6 years ago)

    Your heart is charming Denise! I like to call these happy accidents. My “happiest” accident? While cutting pieces for a beautiful black wool jacket I miscalculated and ran out of fabric required for the shawl collar and sleeve cuffs. I ended up using faux leather yardage for these areas and it made the jacket a real winner. It would have been quite ordinary without the distictive trim. I got compliments every time I wore it. By the way, the Calligraphy program looks like a lot of fun!

    Reply
    • eileenroche
      April 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm (6 years ago)

      Hi Joanne,
      Thanks for sharing your ‘happiest’ accident. I think it’s very motivating for readers to see that everyone from the most novice sewers/embroiderers to the more advanced have mishaps during the creative process. Would love to see a photo of your jacket if you still have it.

      Denise

      Reply
      • Joanne Banko
        April 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm (6 years ago)

        Alas, the faux leather collar and cuffs wore out after many years of wearing that jacket. However, with wool being so durable the body of the jacket has held up well. Since I tend to keep custom crafted garments like old friends, the jacket is hanging in the back of the closet waiting for a make-over. You have prompted me to give it the new life it deserves. This time I think I’ll dress it up with embroidered embellishment. Stay tuned for a future photo!

        Reply
        • eileenroche
          April 23, 2014 at 11:39 am (6 years ago)

          Oh Joanne–that’s a great idea. I am looking forward to seeing the photo.

          Denise

          Reply
  5. Donna G.
    April 16, 2014 at 10:39 pm (6 years ago)

    I’ve made my share of mistakes while sewing but the biggest was embroidering a design on a gift shirt, only to discover the sleeve was caught under the hoop and I had embroidered part of the sleeve to the shirt! I had to cut a small section of the sleeve out and used a matching design to cover the hole. It turned out even better than I had planned!

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm (6 years ago)

      Donna,
      Oh what a sinking feeling that must have been!

      I wouldn’t have imagined it could be saved. Great problem solving skills on your part.

      Denise

      Reply
  6. Ellen Perry
    April 16, 2014 at 10:44 pm (6 years ago)

    I made a mistake embroidering and while ripping out I cit the fabric
    Patched it and embroideriied over it
    By the way I LOVE LOVE LOVE embroitique
    I have spent a lot of $$$ with them
    Pick me pls
    Love
    E p

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm (6 years ago)

      Ellen,
      Yes, Embroitique has some very nice designs!

      Thanks for posting!

      Denis

      Reply
  7. Jean
    April 16, 2014 at 11:14 pm (6 years ago)

    I have made so many mistakes doing projects, too many. My quilting has a lot to be desired, my embroidery is my love. So my quilts don’t always meet at the corners. No problem I just find an appropriate appliqué , usually one I that i have already created. I love to just sit and embroider new designs to see if I like them. I always have several that are just waiting to be placed on one of my projects. By the way, your heart is lovely.

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:08 pm (6 years ago)

      Jean,
      I really like your attitude and it gives me encouragement! My quilts aren’t perfect either — adding applique is a great solution!

      Denise

      Reply
  8. Denise
    April 17, 2014 at 5:39 am (6 years ago)

    I had made a dress for my 12 soon to be 13 yr. old daughter . The cap sleeves were curling up slightly and needed just a little something extra. My daughter likes dresses but usually does not like frou frou styles so I was hesitant to put lace on it. That was just the extra weight that was needed! I had just enough lace with flowers to go on the / under the sleeves. It looks great and she is happy with it also ! Denise

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm (6 years ago)

      Denise,
      Great solution and even better that your daughter was happy with the results. I wasn’t much for frou frou as a kid but I’ve come to appreciate it as I got older!

      Denise

      Reply
  9. Kathie OKeefe
    April 17, 2014 at 5:41 am (6 years ago)

    Two years ago, I was working for a major corporation in a very high stressed job working 70 hours per week. My husband had retired three years earlier and so we were living basically on my salary. On March 15, 2012, I was in a meeting where the tension was so high and executives were out of control and it got ugly. I hung up the phone, called my hubby and he said, “Kathie it is time to retire.” On impulse, I gave my notice and left two weeks later. Then the shock of what I had done hit me. How would we live, was this a mistake. Well, I went back to my roots and took up my favorite hobby, sewing. It has been a life saver and a money maker to supplement our retirement income. My mistake turned out to be a blessing.

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm (6 years ago)

      Kathie,
      That is quite a story – thank you for sharing! Like you, certain days and even the time of day are etched in my memory. They are turning points for me and are good reminders to count my present blessings! I’m glad you were able to put your heart into a hobby that you love and also are able to make money from it. You are living what many of us probably dream of doing! 😉

      Denise

      Reply
  10. Darlene Gerber
    April 17, 2014 at 7:16 am (6 years ago)

    One of the first designs I stitched on my Pfaff Creative 2.0 was a “Stitch A Holic” from Urban Threads. I had no idea what I would do with it. Then a couple months ago I took Classmate class and decided to use this design on the outside of the project. It turned out great!! Now I just have to bind it and I can start using it.

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm (6 years ago)

      Darlene,
      I am the same way! I stitched some great lettering — it turned out very nice… now I’m waiting for the inspiration to come to figure out how to use it!

      Denise

      Reply
  11. Frances Powell
    April 17, 2014 at 7:52 am (6 years ago)

    I was making large floor pillows for my sister in law to give as gifts. When I figured the amount of fabric needed, I didn’t figure in enough for the back. Luckily, the pillows were in different fabrics and I had enough of leftover fabrics to make the backs. It worked out better because the original fabrics that she picked out weren’t stable enough to use for pillows that were going to be abused by people sitting on them.

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm (6 years ago)

      Frances,
      It would have been a shame to go through all the work and have the pillows ruined by less than durable fabric! Glad things worked out for the best!

      Denise

      Reply
  12. Paule-Marie
    April 17, 2014 at 10:59 am (6 years ago)

    I was making a quilt for my flight instructor. I was using a book called Time for a Chain. It had single, double and triple Irish chains in three different sizes. I got the fabric at the quilt store I worked at on Sundays and started cutting it at lunchtime at my regular pay the bills job. Went home the first night, laid in bed and thought about the fabric I was cutting. Thought there wasn’t enough. Went to work the next day, looked at the book, realized I needed more, bought more the following Sunday, cut more strips, thought more – aren’t there way too many strips? Back to work the next day.

    Long story short, I was making a large block triple chain in a lap size. But because I looked at the fabric requirements for the small block size quilt, I had enough fabric to make a queen size quilt and use the rest of the fabric on the back to make a pieced backing with the addition of some more fabric.

    Not a huge ‘oh I really messed up’ type of mistake, but it sure was annoying.

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm (6 years ago)

      Paule-Marie,
      Oh my! That’s quite a project!

      Funny how our minds are busy working right before going to sleep. A couple times I’ve sprung out of bed in a panic thinking I messed up on a marketing campaign!

      Denise

      Reply
  13. Jacki Graham - Embroitique
    April 17, 2014 at 11:22 am (6 years ago)

    I can’t wait to find out who the winner is! Good luck to everyone!

    One of my favorite “oops” fixes is a rainbow selection of permanent markers in my sewing room. Perfect for when funky tension issues come up, and your bobbin thread peeks through. Just coloring it in with a permanent marker makes the problem disappear!

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm (6 years ago)

      Very good tip Jacki!

      Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  14. Gail Laub
    April 17, 2014 at 1:38 pm (6 years ago)

    Years ago when my budget was very limited, I dug through a clearance barrel until I found a piece of silky polyester blend that I thought would be perfect for a long sleeved dress pattern I had. The last couple of feet was improperly dyed and appeared faded but I thought I had enough for the dress without using that part. Wrong! I ended up using the faded area to make both sleeves, wondering if I would ever actually wear the dress. Well, I did wear it to work one day and people went nuts over it, asking me where I ever found such a unique dress! I got complements on that dress wherever I wore it and learned that not every mistake means disaster.

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm (6 years ago)

      Gail,
      I love that story! I’m sure it will inspire others.

      Thank you for sharing.
      Denise

      Reply
  15. Lilia O.
    April 17, 2014 at 4:40 pm (6 years ago)

    A couple of years ago, I was making a winter jacket (using pretty expensive Windblock) and of course decided to embroider a snowman scene. Of course, since it was of importance, the fabric got sucked down into the machine and I had to cut all the nesting threads. Needless to say, the jacket had a good size hole. So I took a piece of the same fabric, stitched up the design, cut it out in an oval shape and stitched it down with a sating stitch all around so that it looked like a patch. Voila, the jacket was saved an my son was happy!

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm (6 years ago)

      Lilia,
      That is definitely a great example of problem solving skills!

      Excellent job!

      Denise

      Reply
  16. Carol K.
    April 18, 2014 at 10:59 pm (6 years ago)

    I once was embroidering a tea shirt for my brother. The design of two eagles turned out beautiful but the light weight knit was slightly gathered around the design. A very big no for things I give as gifts. I was out shopping and found a great collared heavier knit I knew he would like. I bought it and brought it home. I proceeded to cut out the nice eagle embroidery from the tea shirt to within about 1/2 inch away from the design turned under the left on seam allowance and stitched it to the new shirt. I than stitched a piece of fabric over the hole in the tea shirt. After doing that, I did a patch embroidery over this area. This also turned out very well. Presto, I had not one but two great shirts to give my brother as a birthday gift.
    There really are no mistakes but just happy accidents!!!!!!!

    Reply
  17. Luells Z.
    April 19, 2014 at 2:15 pm (6 years ago)

    My saved project happened many years ago when my daughter was 8 or 9 years old before embroidery and applique were popular. She wanted to wear her long dress to school one day and ended up with a couple of holes is the skirt part of the dress. So I took the left over fabric from the bodice of the dress and cut out some butterfly shapes and appliqued them over the holes. No one was the wiser!! And she had many compliments of the appliqued butterflies.

    Reply
  18. lawana whaley
    April 20, 2014 at 11:26 am (6 years ago)

    In cutting triangles for a swap project I cut my triangles too small…and of course it was from my small piece of accent fabric that was fussy cut to boot!! I had to rethink my entire table topper and make up a new pattern of my own to finish the project. But I was very pleased with my end result and it was “personalized one of a kind” design for my swap partner

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 23, 2014 at 11:36 am (6 years ago)

      Lawana,
      Oh the sinking feeling you had when you realized the error! So glad you were able to come up with a solution. Personalized is always best, anyway!

      Denise

      Reply
  19. Beth R
    April 20, 2014 at 8:42 pm (6 years ago)

    I was embroidering a canvas bag, and (surprise!!) got one of the handles caught on the back of the embroidery design, underneath the hoop (yeah, no one else has EVER done that LOL!). When I finished the design, I cut away the handle, then pieced some coordinating fabric into the handle. I then placed some decorative stitches along the handle, and I get comments now on how cute it looks. I just smile and say I planned it that way!

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 23, 2014 at 11:32 am (6 years ago)

      Beth,
      I think you’ll start a trend with decorative handles! Nice job!

      Denise

      Reply
  20. maria elena blecha
    April 21, 2014 at 9:33 am (6 years ago)

    I was washing a new shirt for my daughter and some bleach got on it in the back of the shirt, I was almost in tears, then a light bulb went off!!!!!! I had a lace medallion that I had bought somewhere for just in case! I applique it to the shirt then carefully cut out the fabric behind it. It turned out sew cute, it was better than the original shirt, and she loved it!! A success from a mess!

    Reply
    • Denise Holguin
      April 23, 2014 at 11:03 am (6 years ago)

      Maria Elena,
      What a great solution!

      Denise

      Reply
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  22. Clemente Ruhoff
    September 28, 2017 at 12:24 pm (2 years ago)

    Thanks for discussing this. Technology becomes the instructor.

    Reply

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