Author Archive

July Updates


Happy Fourth of July!

Hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend. When you tear yourself away from the festivities, you’ll find July’s free designs on the My Today page of Perfect Embroidery Pro, ready for download. 

Once you open Perfect Embroidery Pro, you’ll be prompted to accept the latest version, 8.47. Just follow the prompts to receive helpful new updates. Here’s what you’ll find:

Enhanced icons – those that are active are brighter while the dormant icons are softer. The distinction between the two is now easily identified.

You’ll find a new option for forcing a machine to stop between color changes in applique designs. Since some machines skip a color change when identical colors are next to each other in the stitch order, adding a check mark in the Color Change box will ensure the machine stops at the correct time.  If you’ve been struggling with this at your machine, you’ll find the stop specifically helpful between the placement guide and tack down of an applique design.

After numerous requests, we’ve added the Break Up Path feature for faster editing of buttonholes.  Select the buttonhole design, right mouse click and select Break Up Path from the drop down menu.

The elements will now be grouped in two groups – the decoration and the actual buttonhole.

We all have a favorite thread chart that we use to select our threads. Of course, you’ve been able to select a default palette and custom any chart. Now when you load a C2S design, Perfect Embroidery Pro will convert the colors to your thread chart if you’ve selected that option in Tools, General Options, Environment. Just put a check in the box to activate the option.

If you have Microsoft Surface tablet, you’ll enjoy the new, larger My Today screen.

PES format users rejoice! The warning message regarding designs that are larger than 200mm x 300mm is now a thing of the past.

Open Perfect Embroidery Pro today, download the update and enjoy all the improvements!


Today’s the Day – I’m Out of Excuses!

I am going to cut out my daughter’s wedding dress.  There.  I said it out loud. But before I do, I just have to say, it takes a lot of courage to commit to make a wedding dress.  Shortly after she got engaged, she asked me to make the dress. Never one to let my children down, I agreed.  Time marched on before we finally got to a bridal shop to try on dresses. She lives a fairly casual life and I wanted her to know what it feels like to wear a wedding dress. And I wanted to confirm her desires – mermaid, aline, sheath, open back, sleeves, sweetheart neckline, well, you get the idea – there were a million decisions to be made.

Then we shopped for fabric. That took a couple of trips – spread out over a month.  Although I ‘kinda’ got a feel for what she wanted we didn’t have any luck in finding all of the right materials. We did purchase the patterns (Vogue 8997 and 1032) and the satin. But we still needed lace, lining, interlining and organza.  In the meantime, I made the muslin and perfected the fit.  But finding the other materials was presenting a challenge. And then….I got injured and couldn’t drive, sew or embroider for six weeks. Oh boy, the days were flipping by with no progress.

Until last Saturday, we paid a visit to one of Dallas’ finest fabric stores, Richard Brooks.  Before we went, I wanted her to see what the satin would like and how it would photograph in the bright sun.  I had her step on a clean, large towel and draped the fabric around her. I took a photo with the shiny side. Satinbl

And one with the matte side.  She likes the shiny.  Mattebl

When we arrived at Richard Brooks, we found everything we needed under one roof.  We spread out an expanse of silk charmeuse (shiny side up) on a broad table and auditioned lace after lace.  She’s not a sewist (currently) so she needed a little guidance about drape and transparency but after a little while she began to appreciate the subtle differences in each lace. And then she made her selection.  She has excellent taste and we’ll use this beaded and sequined embroidered lace in delicate touches.  She comes for one last fitting tonight before I cut the lace for the princess-seamed bodice and then I’m off to the races (well, not really, I’m still healing but that’s another blog).

I thought you’d appreciate the beautiful materials. There’s nothing quite like silky satin, lace and trims. Fabsbl

I know my daughter has many painful childhood memories of being dragged into fabric stores against her will but this time, she enjoyed it!  nellbl

We oohed and aahed over the displays – just a width of fabric wrapped around a dress form.  FunDressbl

We quickly designed several dresses with some of the gorgeous fabrics but logic set in and we walked out with just the bridal supplies.  I have to get through this before I tackle another personal sewing project. God only knows what the mother of the bride will wear!


Here’s your assignment this week:

This week tell me what color do you think I should wear? Let’s take a vote. Tell me if you think deep blue, coral or taupe is the way to go. Post your comments and ONE random winner will be selected to win the Designer Handbags DVD “Nancy Zieman host of TV’s Sewing with Nancy, and embroidery expert Eileen Roche show how to make upscale handbags featuring embroidered accents completely stitched in th embroidery hoop.”


The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

This week tell me what you think makes a design outstanding and you could win a subscription to Designs. Post your comments and ONE random winner will be selected to win $25 gift cards to use on the Desings in Machine Embroidery website!

The winners is:  

Glenda: “For me, I like designs that can be used more than once and can be changed by adding more or sometimes taking away. They need to be clean and not too busy. Sometimes less is better.”

Getting Better Mileage from Your Designs

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to use a design and the best way to do that is to edit in Perfect Embroidery Pro, Inspirations’ digitizing program. Let’s take a look at a lace border design from Inspirations’ Timeless Lace Border collection, design #Lc7x2 4. BL1blog

Ungroup the design. BL2blog

Click on the small arrow under the Select tool and click on Lasso. Left mouse click around the scallop area, right mouse click to close the circle. BL3blog

Copy, paste and move the scallop away from the original design.  Go back to the original design and group it. BL4blog

Select the extra stitches and delete them. BL5blog

The edited scallop should look like this. Group the scallop. BL6blog

Now, let’s put the pieces together. Copy, paste and mirror image the original design. Rotate the unit 90 degrees. Move the scallop into the open end. BL8blog

Rotate and size the scallops to fill the space between the borders. BL9blog

Select the Shape tool and click on the horizontal satin bar to reveal the stitch nodes.  Slide the two black nodes back to reveal the blue squares.  Insert BL10BL11blog

Select and pull the blue nodes towards the original design.

Slide the black nodes in place and repeat on the opposite side. BL12blog

Change the color of the original designs and move them to color 2 as you’ll want the new bridge to stitch first. BL14blog

The addition of the scallop makes an elegant finish on a continuous border. BL15blog

This editing process is the first step in a wedding table runner that I’m working on for my daughter.  You’ll see more in upcoming blogs and DIME articles. I’d love to know what you need help on in your software.  Leave a comment in I’ll add it to my to-do list.

What Makes a Design Outstanding?

It’s funny how our preferences change over time. Fifteen years ago, DIME featured fashions with tens of thousands of stitches. As the editor of Designs, I was determined to show and wear anything other than ‘plop and drop’.  If you’re not familiar with the term, plop and drop is single design placement (usually on a garment).  Think left chest embroidery – the standard in commercial embroidery.

I wanted our pages to reflect a more passionate approach to embroidery because I knew my readers loved spending time at their machine mixing and blending designs into large layouts. V17bl


I used to joke that I thought in terms of stitches per month, not stitches per minute.  Today, machines have larger sewing fields, gigantic hoops and faster technology. You would think I would be wearing more stitch heavy projects.  But as I look at my current wardrobe, the reverse is true.

Now less is more. Today, I like to accent a garment not embroider the entire canvas. I love a swanky collar.

And you can never go wrong with a pretty neckline. V64bl

But sometimes a single outstanding embroidery design stitch front and center on a garment is enough. So what makes a single design outstanding? In my opinion, the original artwork and the use of color (or value) is what makes it pop.  I like to start with a gorgeous design – delicately drawn lines, intricate details and open space that allows the thread to shine.  I’m not a fan of heavy, dense designs.

Recently, I found a design (in fact, there are several in the collection) that fits the bill. I was scrolling through Kreations by Kara’s design library and spotted the Butterfly Bounty collection. At first glance, it was the scrollwork that pulled me in, and then, under closer scrutiny, it appeared the butterfly was moving.  When I would glance away, I swear the wings fluttered.  Hmmm…how did Kara pull that off? Shadowedbl

I purchased the collection and opened Shadowed in embroidery software to get a closer look. Since I don’t like to wear heavy designs, I took a look at the stitch count and length. They seemed perfect. Then I examined the color sequence.  Normally, I ignore the digitizer’s color suggestions but this time, I had a strong feeling the colors were what gave movement to the butterfly.  Kara layered the thread – darker value stitched first in the background, followed by a medium thread and topped with the lightest. ButterflyKarabl

I noticed how she used a black backdrop on her website so I took the easy route and stitched the butterfly on the center front of a black t-shirt. It looks exactly like it does on her website.  I get compliments every time I wear it. Now that’s what I call an outstanding design. You can visit her website here:

Here’s your assignment this week:

This week tell me what you think makes a design outstanding and you could win a subscription to Designs. Post your comments and ONE random winner will be selected to win $25 gift cards to use on the Desings in Machine Embroidery website!

The winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

What’s one thing you learned from your dad that you use all the time? Post your comments and FOUR random winners will be selected to win $25 gift cards to use on the Kreations by Kara website!

The winners are:  

Mary: “Besides having a sense of humor and wearing a big smile my dad taught me how to pump my own gas, check my oil, and change my own tire. Dad passed when I was 16 and now at 61 I am still able to do all the above.”

Carolyn: “My Dad said “Never get mad at someone, only get ‘annoyed.’ It’s easier to get over being annoyed. Getting mad wastes too much energy for too long.” It was a hard lesson to follow, but it’s been rewarding in so many ways.”

Jenny Druding: “My father died when I was 10. My grandmother gave me the most preciouse advice. She told me to think of my father every day so I would not forget him. That was 39 years ago and I still think of him every day.”

Jan: “MY dad – is simply the best – he is 79, loves his train trips, his holidays abroad, anything in nature and birdwatching in particular. He is an avid reader and his daily crossword and just loves life. Took him to see Les Miserables 2 weeks ago and since then he is forerver texting me with opening words – Bring him home! Love him to bits and if there’s one lesson he did teach me – always be true to yourself!”

Lettering – Unlike Anything You’ve Ever Seen!


I have to admit, I’m gushing with pride over the newest addition to our family of software programs. I’ve been hankering for an easy-to-use, everything-in-one-place, robust lettering program.  Why lettering?  Because machine embroiderers need to express themselves in stitches!   You know what it’s like—someone asks if you can add lettering to a bag—or t-shirt—or maybe a baby blanket.  You scramble to find something appropriate that also gives you creative freedom.  Well, my fellow stitchers, the answer is Word Art in Stitches!

Here’s what I asked for with you in mind. 

Bubble Text – I thought it would be cool to select from simple shapes (circles, diamonds, squares) and with a simple click of a button, fill the shape with words. Word Art in Stitches has simple shapes… and more!  The software has over 550 shapes—everything from animals to the state of Texas (all 50 states are included). texasbl

Don’t see what you want?  You can even import artwork!

Applique Font – I wanted an applique font – a ‘go-to’ that everyone can depend on.  Word Art in Stitches has 10 applique fonts that stitch beautifully in an efficient manner. The placement outline of the second letter stitches at the same time of the first letter’s satin outline. A real time-saver! App1bl

Puffy Font – I thought a puffy font would be fun.  Word Art in Stitches has 13 puffy fonts to enable your creative whims.  Puff2bl

Micro Fonts – Ever need tiny fonts?  As in, super tiny fonts—that are still legible?

Word Art in Stitches has six fonts at 3mm; 10 fonts at 4mm and 6mm. That’s an embroidery miracle! Microbl

Add the look of old time postmarks to your creations.  Word Art in Stitches includes over 55 marks.
Turn TrueType fonts already installed on your computer into stitches with a click of a button!morebl

Now you can add a fairy tale look with calligraphy scripts!  Give more emphasis to the first letter in a word with a simple click of a button.

I’ve been having a blast playing with Word Art in Stitches and now you can too. We shipped it to your local Inspirations dealer. Stop in and take a look.

Click here for more information.
Click here to find a dealer near you.

In Honor of Father’s Day

They shape our lives, don’t they? Good or bad, young or old, they hold a special place in our hearts. My dad passed away over five years ago but still, it’s like he’s with me all the time. He was a character with character. I won’t go into the details but he was something else. He had a great sense of humor – mischievous even.  He was brilliant yet had a limited formal education. I think the term ‘street smart’ was coined with him in mind. An honorable man, a trustworthy man, a talented man with a bit (ok, maybe too much) daredevil in him. He was our world.  He not only ruled our home, he built it.  He served his country and he served his family.

When we gather – his daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, siblings, nieces and nephews – we often recall many of his antics. He was a pilot, a saloon owner, a master carpenter, soldier, husband and father.  He lived a few months beyond his 80th birthday and filled all of his years with a gusto for life and love for his family. I miss him.

In honor of my father, I made this design for you to share with your father or any worthy father in your life. May they all know how much they mean to us and how their presence shaped our lives. Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there!

This is a small design, a 1 ½” circle. The words are micro lettering and look best when stitched with 60 wt. embroidery thread. Truth be told, I’m working at home today and unfortunately, I don’t have a spool of 50 wt. here. So I settled for what was on hand – 40 wt. It doesn’t look too bad but believe me, the lettering would be much crisper in a finer thread.  Give it a try if you have a 60 wt. thread.

Since many men don’t like to wear embroidered clothing (unless they heading to a NASCAR race or NFL game), consider stitching this on a gift tag, a handkerchief, napkin, a jacket facing or on his boxer shorts. Somewhere that will bring a smile to his face and remind him just how much he means to you.Blogbl

Click here for the free Father’s Day design.

Here’s your assignment this week:

What’s one thing you learned from your dad that you use all the time?  Post your comments and FOUR random winners will be selected to win $25 gift cards to use on the Kreations by Kara website!



The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

I’d love to know if you have made a wedding dress – for yourself, your daughter or other family member. Post your comments and one lucky winner will receive a package of Print & Stick Target Template paper.

The winner is:  Viv Hansen:  “I made my daughters wedding gown. It took combining several patterns, as she had known what she wanted since she was a young girl. We lived in two different states, so we did our muslin fitting half way between the two, in a Cracker Barrel restroom!”

Multi-Needle Monday: On the Edge Embroidery with the Scanner

High tech inventions make precise embroidery placement so easy. I like to use the scanning feature that is included on my 10 needle embroidery machine to place text on baby items and other accessories.

Step 1

Use soft tear away stabilizer in a 4×4 or 5×7 hoop. Place the item (in this blog a baby lovie is used) with the lower edge of lovie taut in the hoop. Use blue painters tape to hold down the bottom section of the satin edge. Place another piece of painters tape along the top portion of satin to highlight the stitched seam. When the fabric is scanned it can be difficult to view the plush blanket fabric from the satin if they are the same color.lovie1bl

Step 2

Measure the height of the satin edge and use text to fit inside. Scan the hooped lovie.lovie2bl

Step 3

Use the jog keys to position the text exactly where it is planned. Rotate and resize the text if necessary.

Step 4

Select the correct color thread and embroider the text.lovie5bllovie6bllovie9bl

Use this special coupon to join me in my Craftsty Class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”


Streamline Your Digital Workspace

Have you ever given any thought to cleaning up your digital workspace? You can spend hours reorganizing folders and categorizing designs but sometimes it’s best to start on the Perfect Embroidery Pro, My Block Piecer or My Quilt Embellisher screen your currently working in. What is there to clean up? The thread chips at the bottom of the window. Sounds silly, right? Well, removing the excess thread chips at the bottom of the screen helps me focus. Let me show you what I mean.

I dragged one of December’s free designs onto the workspace. Notice the 11 color chips in the thread tray. The design is only three colors so I find all of those excess chips to be distracting, unnecessary clutter.Thread1

First, I clicked on the minus sign to remove all excess chips.Thread2

Now, only three chips remain in the tray.Thread3

I’m going to change the colors to reflect a warm, tropical climate (like the one Stitching Sisters are going to enjoy on our February 2016 cruise – join us!) First, click on a chip to see the thread palette.Thread4

At the top of the thread palette click on the brand to access the thread you have in your sewing room.   Thread5


Once you set this brand, the palette will always default to that brand although you can reset it anytime you’d like. Simplifying the thread tray makes it easy to see what threads I need to collect from stash of thread. It’s a simple step that points you into the direction of a clean, efficient workspace.

5 More Great Time-Saving Tips!

1. Keep all materials for the project in a ziplock plastic bag or see-through container.  This eliminates wasting time looking for misplaced items. ZipBags

2. Use pre-wound bobbins or once your bobbin stash has dwindled to four, devote a 20 minutes to winding embroidery bobbins to build up your cache.

3. Line up your thread by the machine in the order you’ll be using them.  If a certain thread has to be used twice, in a different position, designate the position with a penny or other small item. 

5 More Great Time-Saving Tips!

4. Keep a note pad by your machine and use it to document the position of the design in the sewing field.  If disaster strikes, you’ll be able to resume embroidering quickly.

5. Make use of Post-it notes to remember to mirror image a design, rotate or duplicate it.  I stick the note right to the machine so I know to apply this feature when I stitch the next design. ES_6


Here’s your assignment this week:

After reviewing last week’s comments on stitching during the summer months, it seems that most of you definitely find time to embroider in the warmer months. I live in Texas where the thermometer likes to hover above 90, so I find myself looking for indoor activities during June, July and August. This summer, I have plenty to do as I’m working on my daughter’s wedding dress! I’d love to know if you have made a wedding dress – for yourself, your daughter or other family member. Post your comments and one lucky winner will receive a package of Print & Stick Target Template paper. I think I’ll get a lot of use out of Print & Stick Target Templates this summer because they don’t leave a mark on those delicate white fabrics!

The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Now that summer is here, do you find time to stitch? Or do you trade your stitching time for an outdoor activity? Post your comments and one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card good for the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner is:  Alice Cornelson:  “I find myself sewing mostly and drifting outside to enjoy the beautiful weather or to help hubby when he needs me. I take my time sewing and embroidering which is all enjoyment and relaxation. Thanks, Eileen, for sharing your tips, ideas, and thoughts in the blog and an opportunity to win.”

Transform Basic Applique Shapes

Elevate applique shapes in Perfect Embroidery Pro! The built-in muffin applique shape is fine if you want a bran muffin applique but what if you’re longing for a cupcake? It’s easy to transform the muffin. Let’s get started. Click on the video to learn or click this link to watch on youtube.

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Now let’s decorate the cupcake by adding details to the bottom, sprinkles on the icing and top it off with a cherry! Watch on YouTube here.

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