Author Archive

Embroidering on Velvet

A few weeks ago, many of you responded to my request for future blog topics. I’ve found your suggestions helpful and sometimes I’m at a loss for what to blog about.  I’ll be working through your requests as time permits. Kathy E. asked about embroidering on velvet and since velvet is a holiday favorite, I thought I’d tackle that first.

Kathy E. “A few years ago, I bought an expensive piece of plush black velvet. I had hopes (and still do) to embroider a large, fancy “E” on it, and then make it into a pillow. I’ve never taken on the project because I don’t know what stabilizer and needle to use. I’m thinking it would be best to use a topper too. If you could give me any tips, I’d be so thankful, then I could get this project going!”

Velvet shimmers when viewed from one angle, and becomes a deep, matte surface when tilted away from a light source. It’s an alluring textile and not one that we use very often.  Let’s discuss its challenges for an embroiderer.

  1. Velvet’s nap crushes when pressure is applied. A standard embroidery hoop will damage velvet’s delicate surface so don’t hoop it! Instead, hoop cut-away stabilizer and spray the cut-away with temporary adhesive. Finger press the velvet to the sticky surface centering the design area in the hoop.
  2. Embroidery design. Designs with complete filled areas work best on velvet. Running stitches and narrow satin columns will sink into the velvet’s pile.  Keep in mind velvet is a delicate fabric with a luxurious drape so avoid heavy dense designs.
  3. 75/11 sharp needle will do the job.
  4. It’s tempting to use a topper but you should proceed with caution here because removable is crucial. Options for toppers are no topper (most pile is very short), a lightweight water soluble film-type (think Sulky’s Solvy regular weight) or tulle.  You will not actually apply water to the velvet to remove the Solvy but you’ll tear it away since regular weight Solvy perforates at the stitch line very easily.  Tulle also tears easily and if you select a tulle that matches the velvet, any remaining bits will not be visible as they’ll blend in with the background.
  5. Once the design is complete, carefully remove the hoop from the machine and release the stabilizer from the hoop. Pink the edges of the stabilizer around the design – leaving at least ¼” of stabilizer.

Use these tips for your holiday stitching and you’ll be pleased with the results. Always remember to approach each embroidery project with common sense. Think about the care instructions for a fabric and use them as a guideline for selecting stabilizers (water, heat, etc). You can handle this!

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Multi-needle Monday: Personalized Christmas Stocking

It’s that time of the year again….time to handle the tricky task of stitching a Christmas stocking. Every year I am approached by customers who need their family Christmas stockings personalized. There are endless styles, sizes, and fabrics of stockings and I have embroidered them all. I will share my quick and painless technique for stitching the cuff area of a Christmas stocking. I always use a Target Ruler and target stickers.

Products used: Tear away stabilizer, Target Ruler contained in Hoop it Up book, target sticker, Snap Monster Hoop for Quick Snap (4X4, 5X7 combo with attachment).

Step 1: Find the exact center of the cuff by using our Target Ruler, insert a target sticker into the center hole (make sure the arrow on cross hair is facing in the proper orientation for the name to be stitched). Remove the ruler and keep the target sticker in place.stocking1BLstocking2BL

Step 2: Turn the stocking inside out with the target sticker still in place. stocking3BLstocking4BLMake sure the stocking cuff will slide over the Monster Snap Hoop frame. Remove the arms of the embroidery machine and attach the metal attachment of the Monster Snap Hoop.stocking5BLstocking6BL

Step 3: Measure the opening of the metal frame to make sure the text will fit inside the hoop.stocking7BLAlways use the “trace” feature before adding the garment or stocking onto the hoop . The embroidery machine does not “read” this hoop so you have to be certain the embroidery design or text will fit inside and adjust it if needed.

Step 4: Add a piece of tear away stabilizer to the top of the metal frame and hold in place with tape under the frame; slide the cuff onto the frame.stocking8BLRotate the text to stitch in the right direction.stocking9BLRemove the target sticker when the needle is aligned with the cross hair on target sticker.stocking10BLstocking11BLstocking12BL

Step 5: Embroider the text or name and remove the stocking from the hoop. Turn right side out.

*Sometimes you only have one hoop size that will fit over the stocking cuff. Therefore, adjust the text size to make the job easier to embroider. Always use the trace feature to double check that the embroidery will fit inside the hoop selected before stitching.

Click the link below for special pricing on my Craftsy class: “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno.

http://craftsy.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=a92f158a7021a67edea420266&id=6ca449a3a0&e=00e788984b

 

How One Embroidery Company Stays in Tune with You

Wonder where some of the best design companies come up with ideas for new embroidery designs?  Often, ideas spring from customers’ requests.  One company has found that working closely with their customer results in inspiring new ideas. Embroidery Library has a ‘Request of the Week’ page on their site. There you’ll find a new design that was requested by a customer and released as a new design. This week is a subway art design.

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It’s really fun to browse that page because you’ll find such a variety of subjects, styles and seasons.  It’s like having your own personal digitizer.  Last week was kayaking Mr. and Mrs. Clause.blog2

Now I don’t know what the criteria is for making the cut but I imagine if your idea is a sound one, you have a good chance of seeing it in stitches.

Embroidery Library has a long history of building a community of embroiderers who stop by their website to check out what new designs are available; learn new techniques in the Projects tab and see what other embroiderers are stitching in Stitchers Showcase.  They even have a calendar in the Showcase so you can see what people were stitching ten years ago!blog3blog4

If you’re wondering what’s popular right now, then visit the Best Sellers page. This page lists the top 100 design packs and top 100 individual designs. You can even click on a previous year to see what was trending one year ago, two years ago and more.  Of course, this week, most designs are focused on the holiday season. If you visit in the off season, you’ll find a more unpredictable offering.  Very helpful information if you want to know if your taste is in tune with the industry.

Cataloging all this information keeps Embroidery Library informed and in tune with their customers.  They seem to know exactly what you want when you want it. Of course, their real success is not just in their product offering but in their product quality.  I believe stitchers have confidence in Embroidery Library’s designs because they stitch beautifully, again and again.  As a special holiday treat, Embroidery Library is giving away four $25.00 gift certificates to a random commenter on this blog.  Just tell us what holiday projects you’re working on right now and you could win one of four $25.00 gift certificates from Embroidery Library.

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Multi-Needle Monday: Camper Pillow

Do you just love stitching something special and unique? I know I do, especially when I have the chance to create a specific design from a photograph. The majority of finished embroidered items that I sell are usually personalized with monograms, text, and business logos so this request was really fun to recreate.

A close friend of mine wanted to give a simple pillow to a family member as a thank you gift. The pillow was going to have a design of their newly remodeled camper along with text.  My friend had a photograph of the camper and texted it to me to see if I had anything in my design collection that would be similar to the photograph. I realize with my Perfect Embroidery Pro software I could digitize the design if a stock design was not found. Unfortunately the deadline was just a few days away and many jobs to work on in addition to the pillow. Through my search for the exact camper I did find a few designs that could work. Generally I like to send 3 choices to a customer. I might have 10 or more designs to choose from but that is far too many items for the average person to consider. Here are the choices I emailed to her:camper1blcamper3blcamper4bl The perfect embroidery design was located at http://www.EmbLibrary.com

My friend decided on the design I thought she would.camper4blThe sample colors were almost the same as the final photograph. The design was very dense so I selected cotton duck fabric for the pillow which was stable enough to support the 20,000 stitches. I also used a poly mesh cut away stabilizer along with a soft tear away stabilizer.

My friend was very pleased with the final finished product and I am sure the pillow will be used on many road trips to come.camper2blcamperpillowbl

Join me in my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”. Click the link below to save with a coupon.

https://www.craftsy.com/embroidery/classes/how-to-start-a-machine-embroidery-business/37060?cr_maid=100326&cr_linkid=MarieZinno_37060_D&cr_source=Marie%20Zinno&cr_medium=Instructor&cr_couponcode=2e8b8364-4720-46d4-a2f2-4e6fca469871

Cruise 2017

My stitching Sister and I are heading back to sea and hoping you’ll consider joining us for a relaxing – and educational – cruise on the Harmony of the Seas on May 7, 2017.  Last year, we sailed with 70 embroiderers on the beautiful Royal Caribbean Allure. We all had a blast – so much fun that we didn’t want to leave the ship as evidenced in this photo: cruise1bl

Many came with friends or spouses and left with a slew of new friends.  Some of our guests from last year have already signed up for the May 2017 cruise but there are still spots available.  It will be a terrific way to spend Mother’s Day weekend. Think about it: top of the line Baby Lock machines, sewing room open every day, delicious food, interesting ports of call, beautiful ship and nothing to worry about except what color of thread to use next!cruise2bl

Many of our guests were students we’ve met around the country over the past ten years.  Marie and I were delighted to see each of them again. Of course, we hope to meet many more this year and make new friends!cruise4bl

What can you expect from a Stitching Sisters cruise? Marie and I take care of the details – along with our skipper, Harold Havard of Flash Sew and Quilt in Naples, FL. Harold has at least a dozen stitching cruises under his belt you can be assured each one goes off without a hitch.   Marie and I will guide you through three days of designing, digitizing, stitching and quilting with an embroidery machine.  But we’re not heading to sea by ourselves, oh no, we’ll also be joined by two of DIME’s Inspiration Consultants. You’ll be in good hands for three days of embroidery fun and exploration.

Of course the Allure has lots of fun night time activities like shows, music, contests and more.cruise5bl

Or you can sneak back into the sewing studio and stitch some more.cruise6bl

This cruise will be our second on the Allure and fourth with the Royal Caribbean cruiseline. Click here to see why we think this ship is the best on the water. http://www.flashsewandquilt.com/dimecruise.html

Marie and I have already booked our rooms and we’re working on the class materials now.  Since we want all of the projects to be fresh and new for this special occasion, we are making sure all of the latest techniques, ideas and trends are included in the three days of embroidery fun. So details on the stitching portion of the cruise will be available at a later date. But it’s a good idea to grab your cabin now!  Please call Lenore Deck Travel at 352-270-8658 or email to cruiselady@tampabay.rr.com.  There is limited space in the embroidery studio so get on the list today. Hope you’ll join us on the Allure!

You can learn more about the cruise and select your cabin at the special rate by visiting http://www.flashsewandquilt.com/dimecruise.html

We hope you’ll join us for a relaxing and educational vacation!  Just pack a bag, wear comfortable shoes and show up. We’ll handle the rest!

Mulit-Needle Monday: Your First Little Black Dress

I want to share an adorable and simple to make baby onesie that I created this week. It is a purchased black cotton baby onesie in the 6-12months size embroidered with the text “My Little Black Dress” in white thread at the center chest with a black tulle tutu added at the waistline. This was a special request from one of my loyal customers.

The elegant text was created in my Perfect Embroidery Pro software. The font selected was Diana-VS and it measures 6.62″ x 2.41″. The onesie will have to be embroidered in a 5″ x 7″ hoop in order to fit the wide text.

Cut fusible polymesh cut-away larger than the 5″ x 7″ frame. Turn the onesie wrong side out and adhere the fusible mesh to the center front.   Turn the onsie right side out and place it on flat surface. Use the Center Chest (3-6, 6-9, 9-12 month) template from the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit. Center the template on the onesie, aligning the template’s bold curved line on  the onesie neckline. Slide a target sticker in the hole with the crosshair’s arrow pointing to the top of the garment. Remove the template and keep the target sticker in place until hooped and aligned with the correct needle.blackdress1BLblack dress2BL

Insert the magnetic bottom frame of 5×7 Multi-Needle Monster Snap Hoop into the leg opening of the onesie.  Add the top metal frame and make sure the target sticker is centered in the hoop. Slide the hoop onto the machine, threading the machine throat through the onesie neck opening. Make sure no excess fabric is caught underneath the hoop. Feel free to smooth and tug the fabric because it is stabilized with the polymesh cut-away.   The stabilizer prevents stretching of the fabric.

Notice how the fabric is taut and centered?black dress hoopBL

Double check the orientation of the text on your screen. Line up the target sticker with the needle bar and remove the target sticker. Add a piece of water soluble stabilizer to the top of the fabric and hold in place with the basting file or tape.

Embroider the design and remove the hoop from the machine when complete. Trim thread tails and re-iron the wrong side of the fabric to release the excess stabilizer, trim ½” around the embroidery design.

The black tutu was simply made from bridal tulle which is sold on 6 inch wide rolls at most fabric stores in many colors. Measure the waist of the onesie while placed on a table, double that measurement and add 12 inches to make a soft skirt , make two layers.black dress10BLYou could make a removable tutu by sewing the tulle on a narrow band of elastic. I opted for the permanent skirt and used a long basting stitch 4.0 to attach the 2 layers. Sew the basting stitch 1″ from edge.blackdress11BLPull the bobbin thread at one end gather the tulle to make soft folds. Hold in place with a pin and stitch the short ends of tulle together to form the skirt.black dress12BL

Pin the tutu to the center waist of the onesie, sew the skirt by gently holding the top of the tulle. Do not over stretch the onesie. blacl dress13BL

Learn more on starting a “Machine Embroidery Business” on my Craftsy class.

 https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_H

What are Your Favorite Shortcuts?

As user-friendly as the Inspirations line of software is with all its intuitive icons, it’s still handy to use keyboard shortcuts for repetitive tasks.  I’m sure you’re familiar with Select All (CTrl+A), Copy (Ctrl+C) and Paste (Ctrl_V) but now you’ll find a few more shortcuts with the November 2016 update.  There are four new shortcuts in the Order task menu. shortcut1bl

How about when you want to move a design just a tiny bit?  Select a design (or portion of the design) and use the arrows keys on the keyboard to move the design/element in .10 of a millimeter or .01 of an inch. Now that’s fine tuning!

Want to access the redraw window quickly?  Just hit Ctrl+R and the redraw window appears.

Open a new window?  Hit Crtl+N and a new window appears.

Ctrl+S will automatically save your work.  If you want to save it as a different version, go to File, Save As.

Ctrl+Z will Undo the last task while Crtl+Y will Redo the last task.

How about quick alignment shortcuts?  Shift+left arrow aligns the elements at the left.  Shift+right arrow aligns at the right.  Shift+up arrow aligns at the top and Shift+down arrow aligns at the bottom. Shift+C aligns the horizontal and center axis.

But wait, there’s more!  Digitizing shortcuts abound in Inspirations software.  A simple key stroke of a number key on the keyboard selects a powerful tool.short2blshort3bl

I’ll bet I missed a couple.  Did I? Do you have a favorite that you use all the time?  Let us know – we’re always learning here on Software Saturday!

November Updates Pt. 2

Here’s a peek at more of the features in the November 2016 updates for Perfect Embroidery Pro (and all other Inspirations’ software programs).  The updates will go live on November 7, 2016. There are many exciting updates to make your digitizing experience more efficient.  When you open your software on Nov. 7, you’ll be notified of the new update.  Follow the prompts to bring your software up to date.

An exciting new feature on the popular Magic Wand is a tolerance adjustment slider. You’ll find it in the Backdrop Properties window.  To view the Magic wand tolerance adjustment bar, left mouse click on the  Backdrop tool icon on the left tool bar, placing a selection box around the backdrop image and activating the Properties- Backdrop box.nov2abl

If you like to view your design in ‘3D’ view, you’ll find that familiar view is now named  “Realistic’. This clarifies the difference between viewing designs in a realistic format and morphing designs into a 3D affect that makes the embroidery appear to pop off the screen/fabric.

Guidelines.  You can now set custom degrees. Imagine how helpful that will be when drawing 60 degree diamonds!nov2cbl

New ‘Search’ feature has been added to the Library.  You can add Keywords to designs in Properties-Design; click Apply.novdbl

Right click on the word ‘Designs’ in the Library, select ‘Find’ or press Ctrl+F.  You can search for keywords, notes and more.nov2ebl

You can include non-native designs to your search (.jef, .pes, etc.).  The initializing is a bit slower the first time and the fields Keywords and Notes are only available for the C2S format.

Tip:  Saved ‘Notes and Keywords’ are displayed in the Properties box when the design is dragged and released above the Library box.  ‘Notes and Keywords’ are not displayed when the design is dragged directly onto an active design page.nov2fbl

 

You’ll find a few more updates that will make your embroidery digitizing experience more enjoyable and efficient.  Enjoy

Tame Those Tees

Yesterday, I was prepping t-shirts from the Simple to Chic T-shirt Remakes collection that Nancy Zieman and I recently created.  I ruined one of them.  I stepped away from the machine for a second (that’s when danger sprints into the sewing room) and when I returned, the needle was pounding through several layers of t-shirt – of which only one was supposed to be stitched.  URGH!  I exhaled and carefully removed the stitches to release the excess fabric. It worked out okay – the t-shirt will be used for teaching purposes only so I can hide the damage. I moved on to other tasks.

Then last night, I was sleeping and dreaming about work (that’s a mix between a dream and a nightmare).  The dream/nightmare involved t-shirts. I was reliving the day’s activities (see how boring I am – I dream about this stuff!) and then I woke with a start. Use Press’n Seal to control the bulk around the sewing field.  Yes – Press’n Seal, sealable plastic wrap, that you find in your local grocery store. Brilliant!

I couldn’t wait to get to the office and try it out.  And lo and behold – it’s perfect!  I cut a 4” strip and then cut that in half for two 4” x 6” strips. I rolled the t-shirt up around the sewing field and stuck a strip of Press’n Seal on each side of the sewing field.Press1BL

Oh My Gosh – brilliant. Now all those folds and rolls are controlled out of harm’s way. That’s what I call taming a tee!Press2BL

 

Updates Coming Your Way

The November 2016 updates for Perfect Embroidery Pro (and all other Inspirations’ software programs) will go live on November 7, 2016. There are many exciting updates to make your digitizing experience more efficient.  When you open your software on Nov. 7, you’ll be notified of the new update.  Follow the prompts to bring your software up to date.

 

The application by default creates outlines after reading a stitch file. This is an option now in File open dialog.update1bl

Tools – General options – Grid. Change the view order of the grid and guidelines to show them in front of the design.update2bl

The application shows different marks for curves and corners now: a square for corners and a circle for curves.update3bl

The auto Outline Close in complex fill, or when pressing ‘C’ in input mode for runs, etc, depends on the first point type now If the first point is a curve it creates a curve; previously the close was a straight line.update4bl

The Spiral feature has been added to Text.  Right Click on the word to select. update5bl

Tools – General options – Digitizing. Option for the default point type in Simple Draw mode; it can be either corner or curve.update6bl

Tools – General options – View. Option to auto close zoom and pan tools.update7bl

Bring Forward, Send Backward options have been added with handy shortcuts (same as in Adobe Illustrator). update8bl

Next week, we’ll review more updates so you’ll know what to expect on Nov. 7th.

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