Author Archive

Embroidering on Onesies

Is there anything sweeter than welcoming a new baby into the family right at the holidays?  It brings the meaning of Christmas home…time to focus on the important things in live and leave the mall hustle and bustle to others.  One of our team members, Sandy Griggs, became a first-time grandma on Dec. 18th to Bo Braun – a beautiful, healthy 8.3 pound cherub.

We couldn’t be more thrilled for her family and since Sandy is a previous collegiate softball star, I thought it was only appropriate to stitch a onesie for Bo.  It’s a little cold up there right now but come spring training, he’ll be ready for batting practice!

I purchased a baseball applique design at Applique For Kids and added lettering to personalize it for Sandy. 2016-12-28_15-27-17

Here are the easy steps for stitching an onesie. Fuse polymesh cut-away stabilizer to the wrong side of the onesie.  Place the onesie on a work surface and position the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit Center Chest template on the shirt. Match the shirt’s vertical center with the template’s vertical line and the curved neckline at the bottom of the ribbing. Place a target sticker in the opening. one1

Turn the onesie INSIDE out.  Slide the top magnetic frame of Snap Hoop Monster into the shirt, centering the target sticker. You’ll have to peek into the garment to see if it’s centered.  Attach Hoop Guard to the frame and pull the shirt over the Hoop Guard as shown. one2

Carefully transport the hoop to the machine (use the magnetic shield that came with the hoop). Attach the hoop the machine.  Use the machine’s editing features to center the needle over the target sticker.  Rotate the design so that it will stitch in the proper orientation. one3

Stitch the first color, the placement guide.one4

Place the applique fabric over the outline and stitch color 2, the tackdown.  Trim the applique close to the stitching and continue with the embroidered details. one6

Remove the hoop from the machine, turn the onesie inside out and trim away the excess stabilizer. Fuse a soft, tricot knit interfacing over the wrong side of the embroidery to protect the baby’s skin. one7

If you like this baseball applique, then there’s a good chance you could win a $20 gift certificate at Applique For Kids. Just leave us a comment and we’ll pick FIVE winners next week!  Since Applique for Kids designs are just $2.00, that’s 10 designs!  Pop on over to Applique for Kids and tell me what’s your favorite category of designs – they’ve got plenty!5winners

Happy New Year!

 

 

Monogrammed Journal with It’s Sew Easy TV

Fashion and technology combine to create today’s greatest looks.  See how to create them yourself on It’s Sew Easy episode 1113. It airs on the It’s Sew Easy website starting at noon on Friday, December 16, 2016 http://www.itsseweasytv.com/

 

Design options explode using today’s technology.  With the most current sewing and embroidery software and machines, embroidery designer Eileen Roche adds flair to a traditional skirt. In the style tip, she’ll show how to place embroideries in a flattering way. Then, fabric artist Kim Montagnese combines computer technology with traditional sewing techniques to capture vacation memories in a pillow.

You can catch Eileen Roche’s embroidery artistry from episode 1113 on the It’s Sew Easy YouTube Channel, too.

And see how fashions from the past influence today’s hottest looks on It’s Sew Easy series 900. A new episode from the 900 series airs on Create TV at 6 a.m. and noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month of December.

Tacky Christmas Sweaters

The other day I received an email with the subject line: Deck the Halls with Ugly Sweaters.  It was from one of my employees and it was an invitation to my company’s holiday luncheon.

Tis the season for Ugly Sweaters!

Join us for an

Ugly Sweater Christmas Lunch

Wednesday December 21st

~Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater~

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As one of the company owners, I was consulted about the date, location and menu but not the theme. Now I know tacky holiday sweaters are all the rage.  So popular that Madame Tussauds’ most recent exhibit includes the Royal Family in holiday sweaters.  I especially love the double sweater for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

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Madame Tussauds/Instagram

But it wasn’t too long ago that we TAUGHT embroiderers how to stitch holiday sweaters. I think those very same sweaters (that we labored hours and hours on) inspired the tacky trend. Should we be insulted? Should we laugh?  What’s the appropriate response?

Here’s my take – don’t be insulted. Pat yourself on the back for inspiring an entire generation of bland-attire owners.  They only had to look to us to know how to really celebrate the festive season.

Should we laugh? Definitely. Because as hard as they try, they’ll never understand the difference between wool felt snowmen and craft felt snowmen.

What’s the appropriate response? By all means attend the party in your holiday finery. Your not-so-tacky holiday sweater will be more comfortable, more cherished and possibly worthy of a trophy. (Apparently, there are awards involved – kind of like a costume party).

Now, if they attend the party in a sweater that you made for them, make sure you take a picture; I mean a “selfie”, with them so you can remember to take them OFF your gift-making list.

So tell me, what are your thoughts about the tacky sweaters?

Last week’s winner was Melinda, congrats Melinda! Your prize will be arriving shortly!

Stitch Insurance

I enjoy virtually creating quilt blocks using my fabrics, threads, embroidery designs and quilting stitches before making that first cut into my fabrics. Call it stitch insurance. My favorite method is to use Inspirations’ My Quilt Embellisher (MQE) for this task.

 

My first step is to load fabric images into each segment of the block and then lock the images in place so that I can debut various stitches.

 

Follow these easy steps for your own insurance. Open the Block Library and choose a block. In this example we used the Diamond from the Connector Blocks folder.

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First, we need to virtually fill the block with fabrics.  Using the Select Tool, select a patch in the block to fill with fabric. Click on the second icon in the Tool Bar, the Fabric tool. Once the dialog box opens, choose your fabric. Select Ok. (It’s easy to update your fabric swatches, just follow the steps in this blog post: http://dzgns.com/blog/?s=add+fabric )

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Your highlighted pieces should now reflect the chosen fabric.

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Repeat this process until your block is completely filled with fabric. Notice that in the Sequence Viewer each piece is still artwork. Left click on All Items to select the entire block then in the top Tool Bar, select Copy, Paste.

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In the Sequence Viewer, left click on the small padlock icon next to the top two items.

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Now we can add stitches and embroidery designs to our quilt block and still see the fabrics. Using the Selection Tool, either left click directly on a piece of your block or select an unlocked patch in the Sequence Viewer to add stitches. Here we selected a Stipple Stitch.

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Continue adding stitches or embroidery designs until you’re pleased with the results.

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You can learn more about My Quilt Embellisher here. Enjoy!

 

http://www.inspiredbydime.com/inspiration-software/my-quilt-embellisher/

Necklines to Hemlines, T-shirt Remakes

Doesn’t it make you so proud when you finish an embroidery project and are amazed at the results? That’s how I feel every time I remake a t-shirt with the designs Nancy Zieman and I have created for any our neckline collections.  I’ve made dozens of these shirts over the years – and taught hundreds of embroiderers how to do it. So many Designs in Machine Embroidery customers, blog readers and Sewing with Nancy viewers have asked for more neckline fashions that allow them to transform their wardrobe the way they want. So Nancy and I listened! We just released another collection, Necklines to Hemlines, T-shirt Remakes.neckhembl

This collection is a bit different than the previous ones because we’ve included designs for hemlines and the center back neck. With the popularity of free-flowing tunics in ready-wear, we felt the time was right to offer designs to decorate the whole garment – not just the neckline.  Necklines to Hemlines features larger designs split into two 5” x 7” hoopings or one hooping in a 6” x 10” hoop. The larger designs are scaled for women of all sizes.lilyfoldedbl

Two of the groupings, the Rita and Lilly have eyelets while the Zoe is just a slit opening at the neckline.  You’ll still find sleeve (for right and left placement) and side seam designs..

The Rita

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The Lilly

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The Zoe

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Of course, the designs come with complete instructions – 18 pages of instructions on how to stabilize, hoop, stitch and finish the garment. You’ll find everything you need to be successful with remaking a simple tunic or t-shirt. ritamodelbl

Here’s a question for you: If you won a copy of Necklines to Hemlines what shirt would you stitch first, the Rita, Zoe or Lilly? Leave a comment and we’ll pick a random winner to recive Necklines to Hemlines free of charge.  You never know, it could be your lucky day!

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!

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