Author Archive

Multi-needle Monday: Applique Sea Life Designs

Yay! It’s finally summer! If you are like me, you are probably searching for quick and festive items to sell to your customers. Even if you use your multi-needle embroidery machine for gift giving, quick to stitch designs are always welcome. Some of my favorite designs are appliqué. Applique designs add a lot of punch with the high stitch count. It’s easy to change the look of a design by switching fabrics. Did you know most quilt designs can easily be transformed into an appliqué? I love using my edited quilt designs on t-shirts, tote bags, baby onsies and athletic wear.

sea life cover1BLsea life pillowsBL

I selected the sea turtle block design included in the Stipple! Sea Life Collection, to be stitched on a child’s t-shirt. The original design has beautiful stippling that surrounds the sea turtle. In my embroidery software I deleted the stippling portion of the design and saved it as a new design. I also printed a paper template so I could easily position the design on a child’s t-shirt. turtle finalBLOne great feature of the Stipple! Collection is that all trimming is done after the embroidery is complete.stippleimage1BLstippleimage2BL

My go to stabilizer for t-shirts is a poly mesh or no-show mesh fusible cut away stabilizer. Cut the stabilizer bigger than the hoop you plan to use. To position your embroidery properly on a child’s t-shirt, use the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit. Included in the kit are 16 clear plastic templates labeled for a number of baby and children’s accessories and clothing. Use the center front template for a child’s t-shirt. Remember ark the center with a target sticker and remove the template. turtle tshirt1BLBecause the design features a bean stitch instead of the usual satin stitch to finish the edges, I use wonder under to the wrong side of the appliqué fabric. Remember to trim the excess fabric and fuse the appliqué design after embroidery.

I love to simplify the task of hooping t-shirts, I find using the Monster Snap hoop for multi-needle embroidery machines the quickest and most efficient way. After the target sticker has been positioned with the template, slide the bottom teal frame of the Monster Snap Hoop (5×7 was used for this project) inside the t-shirt body. Attach the top metal frame and smooth the fabric as needed. Always flip the hoop over and make sure the stabilizer is positioned within the frame top and bottom.MSH BL

Carefully attach the hoop to the machine through the neck of the t-shirt. Feel underneath the hoop for any excess fabric that could possibly be caught between the bobbin plate and hoop. Line up the needle bar with the target sticker and remove the sticker before embroidering. Stitch the design, adding fabric as instructed and trim after embroidery is complete. Turn the t-shirt wrong side out, iron the stabilizer to release the adhesive stabilizer. Trim the excess stabilizer around the embroidery design.

Enjoy your long sunny summer days and happy stitching!

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/ext/MarieZinno_4963_H

Be a Part of Common Threads

Last week I promised to share more about Baby Lock’s Common Threads event with you. During our behind-the-scenes tour of Tacony (Baby Lock’s parent company), we stopped in the Baby Lock testing lab. All of Baby Lock’s machine’s are ready for a challenge – whether that’s testing a new design, tackling tricky fabric or working out the kinks on new presser feet.  Who wouldn’t love a room like this in their home?IMG_2938
If you’ve ever been in the storage area of your local dealer, you might have spotted what many call the ‘machine graveyard,’ stacks of machines that have definitely seen better days.  Not in Tacony’s warehouse, here you’ll find organized shelves of machines that are ready for use in class.IMG_2927

There’s so much more to share about the Common Threads event that Baby Lock is graciously posting the sewing  projects that we did on their website. Now you can stitch what we stitched and you can enter to win a sewlebrity swag bag!  And wow – Baby Lock has the best gifts!

You can make Evy Hawkins’s purse, Lindsay Wilkes’ pillowcase dress for Little Dresses of Africa and Sara Gallegos’s zipper purse.  We started on the top-of-the-line Destiny.DestinyBL

Evy Hawkins led us in a fun in-the-hoop purse with her signature applique.EvyBagBL

Lindsay Wilkes, http://www.thecottagemama.com walked us through Little Dresses for Africa after a rousing presentation from founder Rachel O’Neil, http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/ Look how charming these dresses are. We made 50 sweet dresses, ready to ship across the ocean.DressBL

Of course, you can’t get to know Baby Lock very well unless you take a spin on one of their sergers.  Sara Gallegos taught how to quilt, insert a zipper and piece a zipper pouch on the Baby Lock Ovation!  What fun!SergerBL

Jump on over to http://www.babylock.com/commonthreads2016/ to get the projects, learn more about Common Threads and enter to win the sewlebrity swag bag!

Multi-needle Monday: Custom Sandals in Capri

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of going to Italy with my husband to join one of my oldest friends on the Isle of Capri. My girl friend of 35 years planned a birthday extravaganza for her 50th birthday and invited 15 others to join her. She planned some of the outings and dinners to the last detail, each location more spectacular than the next. Dinner under the lemon trees, another location was a sunset view of Mount Vesuvius and of course a boat cruise around the famous island and the Blue Grottos. The group was an eclectic blend of old friends and fairly new but all wonderful people that shared an amazing few days together with our mutual friend.  Walking along the streets of Capri is a sensory overload! All of your senses are in tune and you enjoy every little experience. It is a magical place. capri1BL

We toured the cobblestone streets all lined with beautiful shops and small restaurants each store front utilizes every inch of space to grow flowers or fruit. In Capri there are a few “must have” souvenirs; perfume (you can create your own specific sent), limoncello (a liquor created from the fresh and abundant lemons growing everywhere on the island) and custom sandals (one of my favorite). The women in our group decided to take advantage of the custom sandal option as the men went taste-testing the limoncello. Yes this is a lemon I am holding! lemon1BL

As exciting as it sounds to design your own sandals, it is kind of overwhelming. So many choices! sandal1BLsandal2BL The tiny shop is full of leather strapping, tassels, braided trim and fancy jewels to embellish your sandals. Did I mention the sandals are completed all on site and available in a few hours?  You have the option of choosing the style, color and trims and they construct the sandal. The expert cobblers are so sweet and talented as they work in a space as big as my closet at home. As shown in the photo I selected a basic navy blue sandal (I know it’s kind of boring) but I am not into jewels and I wanted something timeless.

My husband and I went to pick up my sandals the next day and he was shocked at the choices and the quality. I tried the sandals on for a final fit and the clerk asked me in Italian(I eventually figured out what he was asking) if I wanted to have a monogram. sandal6BLsandal7BLMe a monogram??  Of course. I was the only one in my group who was offered the monogram apparently. He stamped the leather sole with my two initials.sandal8BLsandal9BL

Pictured below are the tools and work space in the sandal shop.sandal3BLsandal4BL

I hope you enjoyed my blog although we are a bit off subject. Enjoy the link to my Craftsy class “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business”.

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

Common Threads

I just returned from a Baby Lock retreat with quilters, sewists, embroiderers and fashionistas. Mix in some industry executives and you’ve got quite an interesting group. Common Threads is an invitation-only event with the intention of spreading the love of Baby Lock to its brand ambassadors and creating a community. It’s a time to share new ideas, charitable thoughts and product knowledge.  It’s a ‘coming home’ of a sort as it was the third gathering for many or the attendees.

At the end of the action-packed three day event, everyone shares their thoughts of what the three days meant to them.  Everyone shared their gratitude to Baby Lock for making the event happen. Some were grateful for the opportunity to ‘play’ without an agenda (translate – deadline). Many found new friends while others cemented long-established friendships.  Others were amazed at the willingness of many to share information and welcome newcomers. A few were even moved to tears. As shocking as that might sound in a business environment, I completely understood. The one thing all of us have in common is that much of our work is done in solitude without reassurance or encouragement. We push ourselves believing in our work and hope it flies.  The most refreshing comment of the wrap-up was, “There are no mean girls here.”

How true because for three days, we played!  It started on the top-of-the-line Destiny.DestinyBL

Evy Hawkins led us in a fun in-the-hoop purse with her signature applique.EvyBagBL

Lindsay Wilkes, http://www.thecottagemama.com walked us through Little Dresses for Africa after a rousing presentation from founder Rachel O’Neil, http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/ Look how charming these dresses are. We made 50 sweet dresses, ready to ship across the ocean.DressBL

Of course, you can’t get to know Baby Lock very well unless you take a spin on one of their sergers.  Sara Gallegos taught how to quilt, insert a zipper and piece a zipper pouch on the Baby Lock Ovation!  What fun!SergerBL

More to come on June 24!

Tow Your Own Banner

Beach7BL

Our newest Stipple Collection, Life’s a Beach, can easily portray a message that’s dear to your heart, not mine.  Instead of the Life’s a Beach message, use Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro or Word Art in Stitches to write Happy Birthday, It’s a Lake Life, Summer Fun or any short phrase.  Here’s how.

Open TopRow_Hoop3_BannerLeft and Merge TopRowHoop4_BannerRight (C2S format) into the hoop.  Align the designs as they were intended. Save the design as TopDouble.Beach1BL

Ungroup if they are grouped.  Select and delete Life’s a Beach. Select the Text tool and type Happy in the text field of the Property Box. Select the Hobo font.  Size Happy to fit the vertical space of the banner.Beach2BL

With the Text tool selected, right click, and select Path, right click again and select Edit Baseline.  Use the handles of the nodes to curve the baseline aligning the bottom of the text with the banner.Beach4BL

Type Birthday into the text field in the Properties Box, click Apply.Beach5BL

Repeat the steps above to set Birthday into the banner.  Change the color of Birthday to separate it from Happy.Beach6BL

Change the color sequence order so that it stitches properly. The first color should be the stipple of the left design, the tow line, the placement guide of the banner applique fabric, the tackdown of the applique fabric and the Happy text. Select all five colors, copy and paste into a new file. Save as TopRowHappy.

Go back to the TopDouble file and save it as TopRowBirthday.  Send both designs to your machine in the appropriate format and you’ve got a customized mini-quilt!  Isn’t software fun?

Memories, the threads of time

Isn’t it fun to capture a happy memory in needle and thread? It’s not always easy to achieve but when memories and creative inspiration collide, it’s a heartfelt moment.  That’s the story behind my latest Stipple! Collection, Life’s a Beach.

stipplelifesabeach

You see, when I was ten years old, my father, an avid pilot, restored a World War II open cockpit bi-plane and flew it for thirty years in our tiny seaside resort in New Jersey. He loved that plane and so did all of his daughters. Although it never towed a banner as it is in this quilt, it spiraled through the air crisscrossing the sky over the sparkling blue water of the Atlantic Ocean. He would buzz our house and we would head to the airport to get a ride. If we were on the beach when he flew over, we would wave and jump around on the white sand so he could see us.  A tip of his wing meant he was heading home for dinner.

There are so many stories about that plane– thankfully all with happy landings – I just had to include this memory of my youth spent on the Jersey shore.  Oh what I wouldn’t do to stand on that sand and hear him fly overhead.

eileensdadsplane

Those happy memories include many days spent at the beach and with five sisters, there were always bathing suits drying in the sun on the backyard clothesline.  In fact, I remember coming home from my morning waitress job at a local coffee shop and checking the clothesline to see what suits were left – several of us wore the same size.  My mother used to say, “First one out, best one dressed!”

swimsuits

And then off to the beach it was. With a good book, suntan lotion (OMG probably baby oil, how times have changed!), chair and towel, everything revolved around the beach. Everyone (except my mother) was on the beach: neighbors, tourists (same families, same street every year) and family.  The more the merrier; the bigger the circle of chairs, the better.

The scene depicted in the bottom row on Life’s a Beach shows the end of the day at the beach…one chair, one umbrella, a peaceful quiet time in the shade.

endofdaybeach

I stitched the three panels independently and they hang together with ribbons of raffia looped over wood buttons. Since each row stitches quickly, I finished a row in an afternoon, binding included! Once I had one done, I was motivated to start the next one. If you’d like, piece the three rows together to make one wall quilt.  I had so much fun designing this project and focusing on the simple days of my youth, I hope you enjoy making it as much as I enjoyed designing it.

Stipple_Lifes_a_Beach-CREATIVES_Quilt

Question of the week:  What are your favorite summertime childhood memories?


Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for a limited time special offer on Stipple Life’s a Beach.  Enjoy free US shipping.  Use coupon code:  beach

 

Two Packs of Diapers, 6 Yards of Ribbon and an Embroidery Machine

It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve stitched something fun. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love my job but many times my stitching details are more technical than creative. But recently I was creating a baby shower gift.  The theme was baseball – both parents are huge Texas Rangers fans.  I haven’t had that much fun in my sewing room in ages. And it didn’t take much: two packs of diapers, six yards of ribbon, two onesies and some fabric scraps.  First I created the onesie designs in software. I used Perfect Embroidery Pro to create the lettering in the rope frame and the monogram for the tie.OnesieBL

The two-tier diaper cake was a blast. I made three patches with buttonholes for decorating the tiers.  Two were on vinyl: Worth the Wait and Our Little Slugger while the monogram patch is fabric. Next, I layered two ribbons: 3” denim and 2” gingham with skinny strips of fusible web. I learned long ago that gift recipients who do not sew, are absolutely NOT offended by fusible web! So I didn’t waste any time stitching the layers. Then I threaded the skinny grosgrain ribbon through the buttonholes on the patches and fused it to the gingham ribbon.

The Worth the Wait patch is wrapped around a dollar store popcorn container that fits into the center of the diaper ring. To finish the top, I added crinkled brown paper strips and a pair of sneakers.

The onesies and a couple of purchased baby items were stashed into blue gift bags. Simple red/white stripe paper pennants finished it off. Oh my, what fun!Diaper2BLDiaper1BL

How much fun have you had in your sewing room lately?

Free-standing Lace – Fun or Frustrating?

Stitching free-standing lace can be fun and frustrating. Fun? Definitely because the results can be outstanding. Frustrating because the results are not always what you had hoped!  The challenge lies in getting the outlines to align with the edges of the lace. Most likely, the lace will include a satin border that gives a clean finish to the lace. But after all those stitches are laid down, there is often a gap between the border and the lace. So frustrating!

Like I often do, I read the instructions which were’ hoop with water soluble stabilizer.’ I know from past experience that mesh-type water soluble would be a smarter choice than film-type. I also know that a standard hoop would probably grip the mesh-type water soluble firmly.

This image clearly shows where the lace has pulled in during the embroidery process. The satin border marches down the perimeter of the design but doesn’t meet the lace.Lace3BL

The problem is not in the digitizing because the digitizer took the proper steps in creating a base for both the lace and the satin edge.  I watched the design stitch – it walked around the perimeter, moved on to the open fill, the decorated lace and finally the satin edge. But still the lace/stabilizer pulled in at the horizontal and vertical centers of the design. That’s a bummer, right? It took 70 minutes to stitch this panel and it was a lot of thread!

Was it worth it? Yes, it ignited my ‘discovery mode’. I was off to find a solution. My next attempt included adding a layer of tulle and another layer of mesh-type water soluble stabilizer in a standard hoop.  I was certain that would fix it. Nope, didn’t make much difference, same problem.Lace4BL

I figured it was in the hooping. So I ‘McGyvered’ a solution. I hooped a rubberized mat in Snap Hoop Monster and placed it on a cutting mat. Then I cut open the sewing field with a rotary cutter.  Since the cutter couldn’t get all the way to the edge of the hoop, I removed the hoop and trimmed the mat with scissors. Then I placed one layer of mesh-type water soluble stabilizer over the magnetic frame, then the rubberized mat and finally the metal frame.Lace6BL

Perfect! It stitched beautifully with no tulle and one layer of stabilizer.Lace7BL

I’m keeping the rubberized mat with the opening handy, I know I’ll be using it again in the future.

I was using a multi-needle machine but the same technique would work on a traditional machine. Place the water soluble stabilizer over the metal frame, the rubberized mat and then the magnetic top.

Top 3 Tips for Free-standing Lace

Slow the machine down.

Use mesh-type water soluble stabilizer.

Insert a layer of rubberized matting.

 

What’s your favorite ‘MacGyver’ trick?

Preserving Signatures

The grandmother of my children, Mom-mom Roche could feed an army within an hour’s notice. No one ever went hungry in her house. The warmth that is shared around her table is legendary – wonderful food, prayerful gratitude and lots of laughter.

On special occasions, she would dress her table in a fine linen cloth. Over 50 years ago, she started to ask her dinner guests if they would sign her tablecloth.  Later, in her spare time (how she ever found a spare minute with 7 children, 21 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren), she would hand embroider their signatures. The next time you saw the tablecloth, the last signature would be stitched – she never missed a single autograph.

It became a rite of passage for all family members. I remember seeing toddlers finger the embroidery and ask when they could sign but Mom-mom wouldn’t let them scribble a few dashes and dots. Oh no, they had to actually hold the pen and sign their name.  The anticipation was about all they could handle. They would watch an older child sit at the table next to Mom-mom and sign. Usually, a tongue was sticking out of the child’s mouth as he or she focused fiercely on the task. Oh the pressure! Not really, Mom-mom has a heart of gold and hugs to match.

My children, now in their 20s remember the day they were asked to sign. Not the same day, mind you, because Janelle is two years older than Ted so Ted had to wait his turn. They loved the ceremony of it and when visit Mom-mom they always examine the tablecloth looking for their own signatures, those of the newest family members and those who have are no longer with us.

Mom-mom has passed this tradition to her grandchildren. When Janelle was married last year, she gave her a hem-stitched linen tablecloth for Janelle’s table along with her blessing to update the tradition to today’s lifestyle. No longer will the signatures be hand embroidered, instead guests will sign a piece of paper, Janelle will photograph it and send it to me. I will then load it as a backdrop into Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software and digitize the signatures.

I’m honored to carry on this tradition for Janelle even if some of the nostalgia is lost in the process. She will have a stitched memory of a tradition from her childhood that she can pass down to the next generation.

Today, I started with family members who attended Janelle and Kegan’s wedding reception. (Yes, I know that was last summer!) In a new file in Perfect Embroidery Pro, I loaded the image as a backdrop (File/Load Backdrop).ST1

Then I traced each line in same manner as the letters were written. ST2

As tempting as it was to smooth curves and straighten lines, I forced myself to just follow the lines. After all, it’s a signature not a lesson in calligraphy. 2 sus

What an enjoyable task – as I digitized each name I focused on that person, so many memories come flooding through my mind.  It’s like I was spending time with them – all part of the gift!

Do you have any family traditions like this? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

1 2 3 44