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Big Bertha's Adventures

This is a great year to make a conscious effort to sharpen your sewing and embroidery skills.  Focus on incremental improvement – don’t worry about perfection or trying to catch up to someone else who you think has superior skills.  Focus on your personal achievements, no matter how small! 


A few months ago I was making an embroidery project that turned out really cute… except to complete the project I needed to learn how to install snaps.  I froze.  I didn’t move forward.  What if I ruin my embroidery project?  I stashed the project away…but not before I made a half dozen variations of the same project… and they ALL need cute snaps for closures.  Right now they are sitting in a bin… unfinished….

Then this weekend happened.  I decided to download the cute Snappy Key Fobs design from ZippyDesignZ.  I was drawn to it for several reasons:

  1. It’s a New Year. It’s time I embrace the task of learning how to install snaps.  This is the perfect project to make me learn!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  2. Turning narrow fabric isn’t on my list accomplishments. It’s time to add it!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  3. I really enjoy embroidery designs that offer a foundation for me to customize to my heart’s content. These key fob designs not only include a variety of styles (9 quilting patterns in 4 sizes) but I can also personalize with my own collection of designs.  The cherries and the hearts shown below were built-in designs in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Think of the fun designs and variations you can make!
    Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
  4. These key fobs don’t require a lot of fabric! I can use my favorite scraps I’ve been hoarding.
  5. Use what you have!  (Related to #4).  I had a smorgasbord of D-ring sizes.  I like to make the supplies I have work for my needs.  This is especially useful if 1.) the weather is horrible and you can’t get to the store for supplies 2.) you live far away from craft/sewing stores.  This also forces you to think out of the box.

 

Denise’s Newbie Tips and Useful Advice for All Skill Levels
1.  Don’t assume you know it all!  READ the instructions!  I read “In the hoop” and thought, yes, I’ve done that.  Place fabric on top… tape fabric underneath the hoop… blah, blah.  I’m a pro.  That’s what I thought until I trimmed my first key chain and realized this project used a different method.  (Place back fabric on top of hoop, wrong side up, then TURN the fabric).  Oops!Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog2.  If you do add your own designs to the key fob, be sure to double check the color sequence.  For example, you don’t want to stitch your custom designs after you’ve placed the back fabric.  (I didn’t make this mistake but came very close to it!)

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This week’s assignment:

Now it’s your turn!  Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you’re especially proud of! This is your chance to share and inspire other readers.  It can be related to machine embroidery, sewing or any other skill you’ve honed!  4 random comments will be selected and each person will win a $25 gift certificate to go on a fun shopping spree at Zippy DesignZ.

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97 COMMENTS

  • Linda Myers

    I’m always looking for ways to use up scraps. Great little gifts with initials or in stable colors. I love that I don’t need the clam shell clamps. These are streamlined.

    • Joni

      fucia oi, si ayu raudhah tu yg start dulu. sebok sgt buat statement kt melodi konon mcm die la menantu kesayangan, die la menantu baik bbanding belah lg 1. dats y rita jawab tak kisah pun kalau mertua tak syg. si zaquan lak nk butthurt padahal bini dia yg jolok sarang tebuan dulu.elok la tu ayu raudah n zaquan, mmg paveW.nell-lodad.

    • http://www./

      You’ve really impressed me with that answer!

  • Cynthia S

    I love Carolynn’s In The Hoop designs! They are so fun and she is the nicest person!

  • Belinda Germain

    I finally organized my fabrics so they are easier to find the perfect ones for the project I am planning. Now I have to organize my craft supplies!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Belinda,
      When you finish you can come organize my office!

      Denise

  • Cynthia Wentworth

    Just finished a wall hanging by quilting using embroidery designs instead of stippling. I am so excited that I tried something new.

  • Dee Dickerson

    Just finished a weaving class and completed a scarf,want to build on those skills. Next on list,I started a design that requires multi hooping 6 times ,finished part one and too intimidated to continue like Denise (what happens if it doesn’t line up etc). Goal is to at least start with part 2 and if it doesn’t work,figure out how to make it work !!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Dee,
      You are building all sorts of skills! Dive in and start part 2! You can do it!

      Denise

  • Charlotte Silber

    I have been teaching myself how to free-motion quilt from tutorials on the internet. I have been putting off far too long. I found I can actually do it.

  • Karen Poole

    I haven’t tried making key fobs yet but it sure sounds like a great wsy to use up small fabric pieces and great gifts or boutique items! You can get very creative! Sounds like fun

  • Kathy E.

    I’ve been collecting selvages from fabric for a long time and have always thought I’d use them in a project. It had gotten to a point that I really needed to find this project or I was going to pitch them all! So I decided to sew many of them together and use them as a background fabric for my One Word for 2016…PURPOSE! Yes, I gave those selvages a purpose and also used up a few other items in my sewing room. It’s not quite finished yet, but will be soon!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Kathy,
      This project sounds amazing! I’d love to see a photo– (even if it’s not finished yet!) Just a peek at your creativity would inspire me and others. If you can, please send a photo to dholguin@dzgns.com or share on our Facebook page.

      Denise

  • Sandra

    Those snaps are my nemesis too. I have yet to install any, although they are the ideal solution to many projects. I guess I will have to follow your example and put them on my Resolution list for 2016.

  • Gail Beam

    Appliqued some black panthers using faux suede and velvet on some shirts and sweatshirts for my daughter. She needed some shirts and sweatshirts to wear on game days and the panther is the mascot of the high school where she teaches.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Gail,
      It has been awhile since I’ve used velvet — I need to revisit it. I love the texture and depth that non-traditional fabrics add to a project.

      Denise

  • Josie Dinwiddie

    I got a sewing/embroidery combo machine just before Christmas. I learned to sew & make quilts over the past 3.5 years, even going as far as learning to quilt on a longarm but I wasn’t so sure about embroidery. I was a little intimidated by the machine but pushed myself to give it a try. I bought a pack of 18 washcloths from my local big box store for less than $5 and I have practiced embroidering on all of them. I’ve had so much fun that I had my hubby pick me up a second pack and now I’m working on kitchen size towels.

    • Sara Redner

      Josie, washcloths are the right size to turn into pot holders with some batting and insulbrite. You can use one for the front and one for the back, or you can find a fabric that will go with the embroidered design.

  • Donna G.

    I quilted a tablerunners using my embroidery machine. I had put off trying this as I thought it would be too difficult. Was I wrong! It went quite smoothly and I can’t wait to make another one!

  • Shirley Clark

    I have definitely learned to follow directions step by step for ITH designs.
    My latest accomplishment is that I have labeled ALL of my bins in my sewing room with vinyl chalkboard labels. I wrote on them with a chalkboard marker so I can erase and rename if needed. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Shirley,
      We have some bins at the office that are labeled– they are my favorite bins to handle. For some reason I can always find what I need! 😉

      Denise

  • Tammy W.

    I am proud that I accomplished embroidering on a 2.5 in. button and at the same time, learned how to make a tuffet. 2 accomplishments jn one.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Tammy,
      That is a useful skill I do not have! I have an ottoman that is begging to be updated but that pesky tuffet prevents me from doing it!

      Denise

  • Pam

    Using my grandmother’s handkerchiefs I personalized and used them for the top burlap stockings for Christmas.

  • Michelle Hall

    I am working on getting my sewing room organized so that I can actually find something when I need it.

  • Vanessa B

    Sewed my first pair of Pleather /Vinyl Handbag Handles 🙂

  • Ruth Peterson

    I actually started several Christmas projects in September and was able to complete table runners and football mug rugs for gifts. It was fun to have them ready and not stressing to finish late, which is more typical. Mailing them early meant the recipients had them to enjoy for the holiday season.

  • Kris

    Currently am quilting a quilt on my embroidery machine, is turning out to be a great project. Looks so good so far. Lots of hooping but well worth the effort. Have tried the zippy snap trays, great for gifts and by the sewing/embroidery machine.

  • J K Williams

    I just finished my 1st quilt top in 15 years. It was like starting over. Now to put on the binding!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      J K,
      Congratulations! That reminds me… I have a quilt from two years ago I need to finish…..

      Denise

  • Linda Severs

    As a new embroiderer, I’m learning I need to try the same technique several times to I remember what to do! And, yes, I need to read the directions with each step. I’m learning!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Linda,
      I usually figure it’s a fluke if I got a technique or new skill right the first time… so I have to prove I can do it again and again. Before I know it I have a half dozen of the same project– they make great gifts!

      Denise

    • Karen W

      I also find that trying a new technique multiple times help it “stick”! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a class, then felt stymied when I wanted to use the technique again. I have done quite a few Xmas Tree wallhangings using Accuquilt feather shapes, but one I made for my husband’s oncologist was more special: I figured out how to center each little motif & embroidered on each piece, with a design collection by Sarah Vedeler. It was stunning! Some day I’ll make one for us!!

      • Denise Holguin
        AUTHOR

        Karen,
        That sounds pretty! You most definitely need to make one for yourself!

        Denise

  • Miriam

    I love making the little triangle bags. I quilt the outside fabric and lining and add decorative stitches or on the larger bags I add machine embroidery design. I figured out how to production sew the bags on a 5 yd roll of zippers butting them less than 1/4 inch apart and then I bring down the pulls for each bag to the center and clip the bags apart. Nothing left to do but sew the ends and add a pull tab at one end. I pre-quilted the fabric for 24 bags and was able to complete all of them in less than 4 hours.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Miriam,
      WOW. That is very impressive!

      Denise

    • Karen W

      Sounds amazing! You should offer a class!

      • Denise Holguin
        AUTHOR

        And the class name could be: How to make 24 bags in under 4 hours!
        😉

        Denise

        • Jessie

          I’ve been over to their site and browsed around – it sounds a great ef.rotfYour effort is also great, and a lovely way to raise money. More power to you!

  • Betty Burkart

    I am starting on Christmas gifts for this year. Last year I was in such a hurry to finish things for Christmas that I wasn’t able to enjoy doing them. The less stress, the better!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Betty,
      That is most impressive!

      Denise

  • Kate

    Must be my hint to give “In the Hoop” a try. I’m always so apprehensive even after reading directions. By the way, my fam ALWAYS laughs at me for being so adamant about reading and rereading directions first. lol (yet, I still stumble and make mistakes). Aren’t we all sew much fun!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Kate,
      A few years ago I was super hesitant about in the hoop projects. (Even though I edit/proof articles on the subject all day long!)

      I decided too see what all the ‘hoopla’ was about and if indeed they are as fun to make as they look. And they are! There’s something satisfying about making a complete project in the hoop.

      I encourage you to give them a try.

      Denise

  • karen

    My grandson created a design for his school’s t-shirt and he had outgrown it. Since he wanted to keep his design, I cut it out and made it into a pillow for him. It turned out so nice that other family members requested pillows made from their shirts.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Karen,
      That’s always a great feeling when others request projects!

      Denise

  • Suzanne in TX

    I have a new Babylock Endurance II, my first multi-needle machine and learned how to place stops so that I could make my first applique project using “Baby”. I wish I could share a photo of the finished Valentine’s Day tees I created from my grandsons.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Suzanne,
      How wonderful and wanna see! You can email me directly: dholguin@dzgns.com or feel free to post the photo on Facebook.

      Denise

  • Carol Coleman

    I am proud of myself because I made the Bunny EOS Lip Balm Holder after much conversation with myself. It turned out not to be as hard as I thought.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Carol,
      I too had much conversation with myself when making the key fobs. Trying to block the self-doubt is a constant task but with each new accomplishment the self-doubt is turning in to confidence. Now the next question at hand… what will you make next? 🙂

      Denise

  • Sue Cubberley

    Yes, those snaps can be a pain, just like grommets. The pliers work sometimes, and others I found that using a rubber mallet works well. Just don’t hit too hard or you can break a plastic grommet.

  • Cindy Amend

    I did my first project hooping multiple times. It was intimidating, but it worked! I also cleaned and organized my sewing room and put each UFO in a bin with all the supplies needed to complete it including thread stabilizer and needles. Now I will begin to methodically begin to finish those projects without stress.

  • Saundra Romanus

    I am new to embroidery and my new accomplishment is doing an applique of a heart and putting the monogram inside. I haven’t had time to learn to use my embroidery software yet. I have to get to that!

  • Karen S

    I have been working on a better balance in my life this year. I am taking in less sewing in my work so I have time to cook, bake, CLEAN, and sew for myself.I have cleaned and reorganized in many rooms in the house. This past weekend I did some in the hoop things for myself.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Karen,
      Ah yes… balance. I’ve heard of that concept but am pretty off kilter!

      Denise

  • Meghan M.

    Oh man, I’ve been doing the sew on snaps and not happy with the results. I didn’t realize there was another way! Now I just need to find a tutorial on the method you show =)

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Meghan,
      I must confess– I was able to accomplish the task but it wasn’t easy. My office mates thought I was hanging frames on a wall with all the pounding! I am considering doing a review of different snap installation methods and gizmos– I think it would be useful for many people! I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

      Denise

    • Bev Schulte

      Meghan and Denise, you can get rid of all of your anxieties relating to snaps by getting the Kam snaps (Kamsnaps.com). NO hammering, they have awesome colors, and they’re soooo easy to use. I’ve made lots of key fobs, many cord holders, etc. They’re the best thing yet! Try them!

      • Denise Holguin
        AUTHOR

        Bev,
        Wonderful! Thank you. I was looking online yesterday for different gizmos– I’ll check them out.

        Denise

        • Denise Holguin
          AUTHOR

          Bev!
          I just saw the website. The metal snaps are PRETTY!

          Denise

  • Doree Shandera

    I embroidered the “see how I have grown” month onsies (that I got from DZGN several years ago) for my daughters first baby. First time I attempted embroidering on those little tiny items. They turned out fabulous and she was absolutely thrilled. Now this little girl just needs to arrive so she can model them.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Doree,
      Oh how fun and congratulations!

      Denise

  • Brenda Melahn

    I completed two R2D2 aprons (free pattern online) and OMG — yes, I’ve appliqued, but this was a whole new level. Very proud of myself and might applique again …. in 2018 😉

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Brenda,
      I have several friends that would love those aprons! Hmm… since you know how… I’m thinking it’s easiest if you whip them up! 😉

      Denise

  • Donna Fecteau

    I learned how to paper piece a quilt block. It was fun. I made two baby quilts in three days!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Donna,
      You are ahead of me! I’ve gotten as far as paper piecing quilt blocks. But haven’t actually sewn them together! I need to add that to my ever growing list of tasks!

      Denise

  • Gwen

    I have recently gotten over my fear of embroidering items for other people when they ask because I don’t want to make an error. I have learned to do a sample before I embroider the actual item.

  • Erin Murphy

    This is a great idea for using snaps and D rings. I have been wanting to make key fobs and even bought the clamp pieces, but I like this method too. Thanks for the clever idea!

  • Nancy Weber

    I recently learned how to make envelope-style pillowcases. Not a very big deal I know, but for me a big step forward.

  • Kati

    I found there are tutorials on how to use snaps/tools that were helpful. I’m finally comfortable in hooping so that my fabric is stabilized….It’s very intimidating when you first start out! I’ve even started to figure out how to digitize and stitch on ribbon!

  • Kathy Konegan

    I have been putting off embroidering a continuous border design on pillow cases for two years now. I even purchased the brother continuous embroidery hoop to make the task easier. That too has been sitting for two years…..I have decided that 2016 is the year that I’m going to tackle this project! I downloaded a border design and I’m excited about giving it a try. After I master the task I’m moving on to bigger and better things, a table runner

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Kathy,
      I think this weekend would be a great time to start! Celebrate the process and the act of doing. If it turns out– woo-hoo! Awesome! And if it doesn’t– it’s still a wonderful learning process and a stepping stone toward a table runner!

      Denise

  • beth

    I am making some quilt block pillows. I am using blocks from a quilt class I already made and just need to add on borders. I could use some in the hoop projects.

  • Sandi Cunningham

    I had to laugh when I read your comment about not having read the instructions because Heck! You’re a Professional. Well, haven’t I thought the same thing many times?
    You know what they say? If all else fails, read the directions!

  • Lisa Babcock

    Purchased my first in the hoop mug rug. Printed out the instructions and thought wow too many steps, can’t do it, will take forever. Kept seeing the instructions every time I went in to my sewing room. They were haunting me, so I gave in. Made the first one and it turned out perfect so I thought what a great gift for my friends so in my infinite wisdom thought I don’t need the instructions I can whip these out in no time. As you can guess, put the back side on wrong of the 2nd one, the third one I forgot to tape (secure) the fabric, so got a big wrinkle. Finally decided on the third one I needed the instructions they were my friend. 🙂

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      HAHAHA! Love that story, Lisa. You and I are cut from the grain of wood. Or should I say yard of fabric?!

      Denise

  • Pam

    Just made an in the hoop elephant for a baby shower. Had to get over my fear of using my embroidery software so I could insert “Welcome Baby ” on the belly of the elephant. Found out last night that this gift was the couples favorite gift!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Pam,
      Keep up the great work. Baby will need some cute embroidered onesies too… 😉

      Denise

  • Judie

    Gee, where do I start!!~ Yes, my Evolution is sitting in the corner,…. I need to get a grip on that and actually use it. I have designs and handkerchiefs ready to try a cutwork corner…. someday AND that continuous border will be on my next set of pillowcases. Yes, really love this key fob design and am proficient at In-the-Hoop so I’ll be giving it a try. I read directions at EVERY step. Only takes one or two boo boos to learn that.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Judie,
      Those handkerchiefs really need to be started (mainly because I want to see them! I’m enjoying all things dainty and vintage) Will you do tone on tone embroidery?

      Denise

  • Sheri

    I just embroidered a design down a sleeve! I opened the sleeve up from wrist all the way under the arm and down the side so I could get it flat then managed to get it lined up twice (up near the shoulder and then a second hooping down by the wrist) to get a design down the whole arm. Then I popped the fleece jacket on my serger and sewed it back up! I actually managed to line everything up so it looks great, and people can’t believe that I put the embroidery on myself. 🙂

  • Deanna

    I recently finished a baby blanket for my niece. Their theme is camouflage and deer. So I embroidered 5 blocks with different bucks, found coordinating deer fabric and put it all together and gave it to them at baby shower. They loved it!

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Deanna,
      I love how machine embroidery opens up the options to create all sorts of special themes. We are no longer restricted to what we find at the store.

      Denise

  • Linda Lynch

    I was fearful of using my embroidery machine and am making small projects i.e. Small art quilt, kitchen towels and graduated to a beautiful large tote for carrying supplies to classes.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Linda,
      That’s wonderful! I “graduated” to a medium sized bag this week. I managed to sew a pocket onto the outside of the bag. Keep up the great work!

      Denise

  • Sara Redner

    I wanted to use a border fabric on the bottom of embroidered towels but the fabric (which was given to me) didn’t have enough room for a hem. I learned to do a rolled hem on the serger and it came out great! I also used the serger to gather the top of the towel for the hanger.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Sara,
      Problem solving and skill building rolled into one! Love it!

      Denise

  • Doreen Linehan

    I made a tuffet. Used a whole bunch of things I had never used before. Long Upholstery needles, metal button, 15 degree ruler. Came out great.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Doreen,
      I’m impressed! I’ve seen several tuffet projects online lately and someday I’ll work up the nerve to try!

      Denise

  • judywentz@embarqmail.com

    I finally made a signature quilt using signatures and well wishes for my Dad’s 70th birthday, which was 7 years ago. Added a very nice embroidered label.

    • Denise Holguin
      AUTHOR

      Judy,
      A signature quilt is a great idea!

      Can’t rush special quilts! At least that’s what I’m telling myself with my 3 year old unfinished quilt on my art wall….

      Denise

  • Kati

    I’m always intimidated by working on stretchy knits….I seem to end up with puckering! I took the challenge to complete a monogram on stretchy knit, then appliqued it to fleece! It turned out perfect this time… thank goodness because it was for a Christmas present!!!

  • MIRIAM LANDERS

    I love to make little bags out of scraps of left over fabric. I also love to use the zippers by the yard. I figured out how to sew all of my bags to the roll of zippers before I cut the zipper.

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