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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.

Ribbed Knits

The stretch and texture of ribbed knit t-shirts present interesting challenges for the embroiderer. The fabric should be stretched during the embroidery process so it doesn’t ripple or tear when worn but the stretch should be controlled during the embroidery process. Here’s how to do it.

 

Select a water soluble adhesive stabilizer and remove the protective paper.  Carefully stretch the design area to mimic how the garment will stretch when worn.  Place the stretched fabric onto the sticky stabilizer. If the garment is for you, just put the garment on inside out and then place the sticky stabilizer on the design area. Remove the garment.

 

Slip the metal frame of Snap Hoop Monster inside the shirt centering the design area. Snap the magnetic top in place. Nest the shirt around the design area, use painter’s tape to hold the shirt out of the needle area.

 

I selected Urban Threads’ Anatomical Hand to decorate this t-shirt. HandBL

This very cool design features fill stitches with delicate outlines.  Due to the hills and valleys of the ribbed knit, I was worried the fill stitches would cave into the ribs so I placed a piece of crisp (or lightweight) tear-away over the design area. Hand1BLHand2BL

After stitching color 1, the fill stitches, I carefully pulled away the excess stabilizer.Hand3BL

I added a piece of film-type water soluble stabilizer over the design before stitching colors 2, the shading and 3, the outline.

Hand4BL

Here’s the key, use a tear-away that rips clean. It will feel stiff in your hand, unlike a soft tear-away (or medium weight) that tears with a jagged edge and has a softer drape.  The final colors – the shading and outline- will cover any pokies remaining from the crisp tear-away.  The fabric won’t bleed through and the embroidery won’t sink into the garment even after laundering.

DiME_blog

Don’t you get a kick out of edgy designs like the Anatomical Hand from this week’s blog sponsor Urban Threads? Well, it could be your lucky day because UT is kind enough to offer $25 gift certificates to four random winners on this blog. Here’s how to win:  jump over to Urban Threads and search for skeletons in their search box (found on the top left column of their home page).  Leave a comment here telling us how skeletons designs turn up in your search.  Four lucky winners will be randomly selected next week.  Good luck!

Software Saturday – The Backdrop Tool in My Quilt Embellisher

One of the helpful features of Inspiration’s My Quilt Embellisher is the backdrop tool. The backdrop tool allows you to bring an image on to the screen and audition embroidery in actual time. It’s a surefire way to design beautiful blocks.
First, take a photograph or scan an image of your quilt into your computer. Take note of where you stored the photo on your hard drive.
Open a new file in My Quilt Embellisher. Go to File, Load Backdrop. Locate the image of your quilt block and click OK.MQE_b1
The image appears behind the grid on your screen. Chances are the image is not perfectly square on the screen. That’s ok; it’s an easy fix in My Quilt Embellisher. Hover the cursor over the backdrop tool on the left toolbar.MQE_b2
Click on the small arrow under the icon to access the Backdrop tools. Select Define horizon. MQE_b3
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. The image will straighten on the screen.MQE_b4
In the properties box, notice the size of the image – it’s quite large.MQE_b5
That measurement is the size of the image, not the block. So let’s tell the software exactly what size our block should be.
Select Define Scale from the Backdrop tool menu.MQE_b6
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. A window appears. Type in the correct measurement. My actual block measures 7” so I type in 7”.MQE_b9
The image shrinks and in the properties box, the size of the image changes too.MQE_b10
The properties box measurement is larger than 7” because it’s illustrating the size of the image – all the white/gray space that’s actually part of the image.
Now that you are viewing the block in actual size, it’s time to audition embroidery designs in the patches. This block was created for a sweet couple, Liz and Mike Tucker. The monogram font is August, the heart is Block Frill Heart (found in Embellishments) and the bird is #57488 in My Quilt Embellisher Free Designs.MQE_b12

Stitch Insurance

Today’s guest blogger is Inspirations’ education consultant Melisa Nisius.

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.Block Photo 1BL

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 )

 Block Photo 2BL

Your highlighted pieces should now reflect the chosen fabric.

Block Photo 3BL

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.

Block Photo 4BL

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

Block Photo 5BL

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.

Block Therapy 6BL

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

Block Therapy 7BL

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

Design Your Own Fabric!

Have you always wanted to design your own fabric? Well now you can!  Let me show you how easy it is to create print-on-demand fabric.  My Fabric Design software is Inspirations’ latest exclusive offering to Inspiration dealers.  Although you can learn about it here, you’ll have to purchase it from your local Inspirations dealer.

Let’s make a plaid fabric, no drawing skills needed! Open a new file in My Fabric Design software.  Click on Canvas. MFD_1

Select Pattern to create a repeatable pattern.MFD_2 Click on Settings and enter 4 in the height and width to set the size of the repeat. Of course, you can make this any size you’d like.  Click OK.MFD_3

Click on the Artwork tool and select Rectangle from the drop down menu.MFD_4

Drag the cursor over the screen and draw a square a bit larger than the box on the screen (that’s the size of the repeat). To change from an outline, select Fill from the Type field in the Properties Box. Click Apply. MFD_4aMFD_5

Let’s draw the plaid sections. Select the Rectangle from the Artwork tool. Draw a skinny rectangle that’s longer than the blue square.  Change the color of the skinny rectangle to yellow.MFD_6

Select the yellow rectangle. Click on the Repeat Tool and enter 4 in Number Across and 1 in Number Down.  Place .24 in Horizontal distance to space the bars. Click Apply.MFD_7

Change the colors of three bars.MFD_8

Select all four bars and click on Rotate Right key once.MFD_9

Paste an identical set of bars. Click on the Horizontal mirror image key.MFD_10

Now let’s see what the fabric looks like in the repeatable pattern. MFD_11 Click on the Preview icon to view your repeatable pattern.MFD_12Pretty fun, wouldn’t you agree?

Now let’s add some text. Click on the T icon, select a font, type in a message. Size the text to fit and move it to the top center area. Extend half of the text off the blue square to so that it fills the blue diamond.  MFD_13

Click on Preview. MFD_14

Or move the text to the center of the crossed bars.MFD_15

Oh my, the fun you can have. And we haven’t even explored cheater quilts yet!  In a future post, I’ll show you how to make custom cheater quilts – think memory quilts, art quilts, ‘intricate’ blocks (that you never have to piece!) quilts!

The possibilities are endless, you can use sketches, scans, photographs, text and your own creativity to make fabric that you’ve been dreamed about. You can save your work and come back to it later.

To print the fabric, click on Send and you’re file will be exported to http://www.MyFabricDesigns.com There you can choose from 26 substrates – quilting cottons, knits, polys, satins, silks, you name it, you’ll find it!   Your fabric will print, ship and arrive at your home in 10-14 days. Amazing!

Target Rulers

I use target rulers to quickly find the middle of a quilt block, pocket, placket or other embroiderable area.  Once placed on the fabric, I slip a target sticker into the hole, aligning the crosshairs. Then I confidently remove the target ruler and hoop the fabric.

Once the hoop is attached to the machine, I center the needle over the target sticker, remove the sticker and embroider the design.

Ninety percent of the time, I’m comfortable with that process. But 10% of the time, I need a little more reassurance.  So I tape the target ruler to the fabric and hoop the fabric. I make sure the legs are not caught under the inner ring.TS2BL

Once attached to the machine, I move the hoop to center the needle over the crosshair.TS3BL

Then I activate the trace feature, also known as the trial key. TS5BL

I touch one of the four center points (top, bottom, left and right) of the perimeter of the design. Then I proceed to the next center point always keeping an eye on the needle to see if it continues to align with the target ruler’s crosshair.TS4BL

If the needle hits the target ruler right on the line, then I know my design is exactly where I want it.TS6BL

That’s a simple step for solid confirmation.

Of course, I could use a printed template of the design and perform the same steps but sometimes I don’t have access to a printer or more than likely, the printer is out of paper, ink, or both!  There’s always a work around when you have reliable tools in your embroidery studio.

Blog image DIME

What is your favorite tool in your own personal embroidery studio? One lucky comment will be chosen to win an $100 gift gertificate to http://www.gracefulembroidery.com/

 

Double Decker Applique Letters

Since we’re celebrating 100 issues of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine, I thought I would share one of my favorite projects: curved, double decker applique letters.  I love everything about this project: the teal hoodie (so comfy), the split applique (trendy) and the double layer of applique (the perfect fabric combo: white felt outline and tiny bright print).2016-09-17_9-29-38Make one of your own in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Open a new screen and select the Text tool, type LOVE in the Properties Box. Select High School Applique font from the drop down menu. Size the design to approximately 8” x 3.25”. CL12BL

With the Text tool selected, push the green circle at the center bottom of the text box to curve the letters. CL13BL

Select the text, right click and select Break Up Text. CL14BL

The letters will now be four individual appliques.  Grab the L and O and move them to a new screen. Select the L, right click and select Create Outline from the menu.  Change the distance to .25. Click OK. CL15BL

Select the outline, right click and select Convert To Applique.  CL16BL

Change the color of the new applique. CL17BL

You’ll have to do this twice for the letter O. For the outside, repeat the steps above. For the opening inside the O, select Inside when you create the outline and change the distance to .50. CL18BL

Resize the outline to fit inside the letter. CL19BL

Right click and Convert to Applique. In the Properties Box, change the Applique width to 2.5 to fit in the narrow space. Save the design as LO and go back to the original file and complete the steps for the VE.

You can find the actual stitching instructions in Vol 97, March/April 2016 of Designs in Machine Embroidery. Enjoy!

I Heart Puffy!

Meet Inspirations Education Consultant Melisa Nisius, this week’s guest blogger. She’s just as passionate about embroidery as you are so I thought it was a good idea for Melisa to share a recent experience with you. You can apply the techniques she outlines to your favorite designs or download the free-for-a-limited-time heart design by clicking here.

Take it away, Melisa!


Recently, while preparing to stitch a hat and searching through my design collection, this stylish heart caught my eye. I knew that I would have to edit the design in software if the finished hat was going to meet my vision. I needed a design with lots of dimension!image1

The original design is created with flat satin stitches. Let me show you how easily I changed that by adding puffy foam to just the heart creating a fun, dimensional design. We’ll need to delete a few stitches and recreate the stitches that currently form the satin-stitched heart portion of the design. Ready?

Open the original design in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Left click File and Save As to save the design with a new name. This will protect your original design, allowing you to go back to the original at any time.Image2

Now let’s have some fun.  Left click on color 2 in the sequence viewer. You will notice it is highlighted in blue when selected. Delete it either by using the scissors icon or the delete key on your keyboard.Image3

Now, let’s do that again with color 3. Left click on color 3 to select it then delete it. You should be left with just colors 1 and 4.Image4

Right click on color 1 in the sequence viewer and choose Create Outline. Set the distance to 0.05. Click OK.Image5

Left click to select the newly created artwork in the sequence viewer and then right click on a new color in the Thread Toolbar at the bottom of the screen to change the color.Image6

Here is where the magic happens. Right click on the artwork, color 3 in the sequence view, and select Convert to: Puffy-Stitch. The width of the new stitches is fine but the design itself is too large to fit inside the original frame. We need to adjust the size to fit.  Make sure that the newly created puffy stitches are still selected and then in the Properties box choose the Transform icon. Verify the Maintain aspect ratio box is checked then change the width to 1.18 and click the apply button. Finally, right click on color 4 in the sequence viewer, select Order,  To Front.Image7

 

Click File, save. Your design is now ready to stitch.Finished Heart

 

 

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