Author Archive

Advanced Tutorial for Perfect Embroidery Pro

My good friend, Katherine Artines, recently posted a new video tutorial on the Inspired by Dime YouTube channel.  Katherine’s topic, Push/Pull: Distortion and Compensation, is an advanced discussion of this often misunderstood embroidery feature. If you’ve wondered why what you see on screen does not match your stitched sample, then you’ll really enjoy Katherine’s breakdown of Push/Pull.

She starts with a clear explanation of exactly what push/pull is.

She then goes on to explain the difference between stitch direction and sewing direction and how they affect the end result.  The stitch direction is the angle of stitches while sewing direction is where the needle starts, the direction it travels in and where it finishes.

We learn how size actually does matter on how a design will stitch. Of course, she doesn’t just point out the problems, she gives you solutions.  Each issue is clearly illustrated so you can follow along.

And she critiques stitched designs to show you the problem and gives you the solution.

She brings this same methodical approach to lettering.  Many of us are perplexed about the baseline of text.  Listen to her explanation and you know why the screen shows one thing and the stitch out another.

Don’t you hate when you digitize a complex fill area and spot a row of missing stitches? Ugh!  Katherine explains why this happens (yep, push and pull) and how to fix it.

I encourage you to spend an hour (or break it up into shorter segments) watching Katherine’s video. Your digitizing skills will improve!  I hope you’re already a subscriber to our YouTube channel, if not, sign up today and you’ll never miss a new opportunity to learn more about embroidery.

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons

I’m excited to announce (and give away a copy to one lucky reader) my new book: Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  This book has been the culmination of over 20 years of quilting with an embroidery machine. I’ve done everything from embroidered quilt tops to quilt as you as go to quilting king size quilts on an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you on Sewing with Nancy.  You can watch it online at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/ or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

This book teaches you several different methods for quilting with an embroidery machine: quilting and appliqueing in one step; custom quilting and allover quilting.  Quilting and appliqueing in one step is a patented process that I designed in 2008.  Since then, I’ve created 16 Stipple Collections, and in this book you’ll find two projects that incorporate that revolutionary technique.

Custom quilting is no doubt the type of quilting that makes your jaw drop at quilt show competitions.  The quilting is designed to specifically enhance and fill a shape (block), applique or area. To be honest, custom quilting is probably best achieved through expert free motion quilting. When custom quilting is done on an embroidery machine, you do not have the ‘freedom’ to move the needle as you do in free motion quilting so the results are not as ‘customized.’  However, custom quilting is how many of us want to finish our tops. I show you how to do it in the Patriotic Pillow and Diamond table runner.

Allover quilting is often the result you get when you ‘quilt by check’. Quilt by check mean you pay someone else to quilt your quilt. When you send your quilt to a longarmer, they select an allover pattern that complements your quilt top unless you have specifically requested (and agreed to pay for) custom quilting.  There are two types of allover quilting: nesting and linking. You’ll learn the difference between the methods with two projects.

You’ll discover three different ways to handle the quilt during the stitching process: furniture you have on hand, the shortE and the Weightless Quilter.  My goal for this book is to help you expand your embroidery skills into the world of quilting and get more out of your machine.  I hope you find quilting with an embroidery machine as rewarding as I do. 

Want to win a copy of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons?  Just leave a comment and tell me if have any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Do you have one, two, three or more?  One lucky winner will be selected to win the book and the accompanying collection of 20 embroidery designs.

 

Want to order your copy now?  This week you’ll find free shipping on all autographed copies of Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Click here to order.

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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