Author Archive

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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5 Favorite Timesaving Habits

Even though the days are getting longer, it still makes sense to try to save as much time as possible when working in your embroidery studio. These five tips have saved me countless hours, I hope you find them helpful.

  1. Stock up on supplies. Nothing slows you down more than running out of the right materials for the project. Always have a variety of stabilizers and threads on hand. Take advantage of store sales and buy in bulk if necessary.blphoto1
  2. Pre-cut stabilizers to fit your most popular hoops. You’ll have a stack to go to whenever you’re ready to hoop.
  3. Consider purchasing extra hoops in your favorite sizes. This way you can prepare the next hooping while the first one is stitching. My number one go-to hoop is the 5” x 7”. I have four of them and I still believe they were worth the investment.
  4. Plan your project by using embroidery templates and target stickers. Mark the placement of the embroidery on the item with the target stickers. When you’re interrupted during the embroidery process (and who isn’t?) you’ll know where you left off.
  5. Test your designs! Stitch a sample using the same fabric/stabilizer/design/thread combination. Make adjustments to the variables before tackling the final project. Keep a towel, knit t-shirt, or cotton blouse on hand to test different designs. For specialty items, shop at thrift stores to find similar-fabrics. blphoto

Of course, once the towel or t-shirt is covered with designs, it’s time to start a new one. Starting a new one never seems to a problem for me, I save mistakes for that chore. Unfortunately, I have plenty of inventory!



Here’s your assignment this week:

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 of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

What was your favorite childhood game?  Post your comments and one lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card good for the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

The winner is:  Judi C:  “My favorite childhood games were kickball & softball. We had a big open field in our neighborhood & all the kids would play together until dusk almost every night. No competition just plain fun. Thanks for bringing back the memories everyone enjoyed as kids :o)”


The Best Way To Learn Your Software

People ask me, “What’s the best way to learn my software?” My answer is always, “Use it!” You can read, watch videos and go to classes but until you start using your software as often as possible (ideally everyday!), you really won’t be comfortable. You just have to get in there and do it!

If you don’t know where to begin, start with the free monthly projects that are available through the My Inspiration Today screen. When you open your software, click on the Free Monthly Projects icon on the opening screen.photo1


You’ll arrive at the Inspired by Dime website.photo2

Scroll down the page to view the download link. Click on the link to download the project.photo3

Once downloaded, you’ll find two PDF files in the folder – instructions for preparing the design in the software and the other for embroidering/sewing the project.photo4

Tamara Evans, Inspiration Consultant, has created these projects just for you. She openly shares her wealth of knowledge in each project. You’ll find quick steps to efficiently edit the designs, secrets to controlling the stitches in the software plus methods of good practice to cut down on errors.photo5

The software lessons in all of these projects are designed to help you learn how to use the software’s features.   Even if you’re not tempted to stitch the project – take the time to work the software lesson. What you learn can be applied to any project you would like to stitch. And before you know it – you’ll be comfortable with the icons and features.


Live or Taped? Two Options for Software Training

Inspiration Webinars are chockfull of information – so much that’s it often hard to absorb all the details. But don’t fret, I’ll show you how I get the most out of webinars. My secret is to watch both the taped and live versions.

The benefit of watching the live version is you can ask a question and get an answer while the taped version allows you to follow along with the instructor.

Sometimes, webinars move quickly and it’s hard to grasp all the information during the live session. Set yourself up for success for a live webinar. Follow these simple steps: find a quiet location to take the webinar, arrive early to download the link, check your connection and finally, pay attention!

If you feel you missed some key points, then take the taped version. Here’s how to get the most out of the taped version. Go to Click on Webinars on the right column.

Scroll down to view the list. Select Changes are Good! Web2psbl

Click on the link, it takes you to YouTube and the webinar (video) begins to play. Use the pause/play button to stop the video. Web3psbl

Then minimize the window by clicking on the icon at the top right of the screen. The webinar is now paused and the window is resting in the tray.Web4psbl

Locate Perfect Embroidery Pro on your computer and open the program. Go to File, Open to open a new screen. Now let’s get both screens up at once.


Watch this video to see how to do it.[KGVID width=”640″ height=”361″][/KGVID]

If you can’t view it here on the blog, use this link to YouTube.

Don’t miss May’s webinars: True Type Tutorial on May 5, 7:00-8:00 CST in Perfect Embroidery Pro with Katherine Artines and May 19, 7:00-8:00 CST is Text, Borders and Florishes, Oh My! in My Block Piecer and My Quilt Embellisher.

Sign up here:




A Moment with Your Mom


This year marks my first Mother’s Day without my mom as she passed away on Nov. 16, 2014. My mother and I were separated by 1400 miles but I always felt that we were just moments apart.  In just a moment I could pick up the phone and hear her voice – catch her upbeat contagious joy and gratitude.  Listen to the latest family news, laugh at her funny anecdotes and marvel at how she continued to remain so happy despite her failing health.

My mom was 5’1”, nimble on her feet and in her mind. She often hurried across the floor anxious to reach a chair. When she landed, she lit up the room with her smile. She had a kind word and favorite memory for everyone – let me make that clear – e v e r y o n e!  She could connect with anyone. She found common ground with all people and immediately put strangers or newcomers at ease.


Not really a fashion icon, Mom had a sense of style and color that was perfect for every occasion. She eschewed the latest trends opting instead for fashions that complemented her figure and lifestyle.  She had class.

She was smart – she read three newspapers a day – and she remembered everything, I mean everything! She could recall the name of your childhood best friend’s uncle – and his wife’s name! She remembered the weather and what she wore to an anniversary party in 1978. She was the best Trivial Pursuit player – ever! We all fought to have mom on our team. And crossword puzzles? She completed one every day for over 30 years.  She knew stuff we never even heard of!

My mom was always there for me, for my five sisters and my father.  Yet, somehow, she managed to keep her distance; she didn’t intrude on our marital relationships and yet was always just a moment away. What I wouldn’t do for one of those moments right now.

Happy Mother’s Day to you and to your mom. Count your blessings this year and steal a moment with her if you can. And if you’re lucky enough to celebrate with her, stitch a lovely ‘something’: a small pillow or linen tea towel to acknowledge her importance in your life.

Click the images below to download the lovely designs – my gift to you in memory of my mom and in honor of your mom.




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

“Every sewing studio runs more smoothly with embroidery essentials. For today’s blog, Eileen reached for Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to complete the garment. What’s your favorite go-to Sulky product? Post a comment and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG courtesy of our friends at Sulky!” And the winner is:  Sharon – “As a newbie embroiderer I find your tips very helpful. It’s a case of “I don’t know what I don’t know.””

Inside Scoop on Placement Marks


Want to look like an embroidery rock star? Learn how to stitch continuous embroidery designs. Many embroiderers are afraid to stitch continuous embroidery although it’s not difficult; you just have to set yourself up for success.

There are several approaches you can take but my favorite is the addition of placement marks. Placement marks are stitched around the embroidery design to help in placement. They are removed after the project is complete.

Here’s how to add them in all of Inspiration’s software programs: Perfect Embroidery Pro and My Quilt Embellisher.

Open a design in PEP and select it. I’m using a strawberry design (53688) from January’s free designs.

Click on the Placement Marks icon.AM2bl

Click on the mark in each corner. If you’re using a large design, you might find it helpful to add the center marks.  Click OK. AM3bl

Move the marks away from the design for increased visibility and easy removal after they are needed. Select the top two marks. AM4bl

Move them up and away from the design. It’s important that you do not move them left or right, just straight up. Use a keyboard shortcut to ensure the marks will not move to the right or left. Hold the Control key and click on the keyboard’s up arrow to move the design. Continue to click until they are about ¼” away from the design. AM5bl

Repeat the same process for the marks on the bottom.  AM6bl

Now let’s take a look at the color sequence, the placement marks are now the first color – the software automatically moves them to the beginning of the color sequence. I like to tweak that a bit. AM15bl

Select the two marks at the right of the design (if you are stitching from left to right). AM16bl

In the Properties Box, select the command tab and type in the number 9 in the color field. Click Apply. AM17bl

Left mouse click on the number 9 in the color sequence. AM18bl

Move it to the end of the sequence.  AM19bl

Now, let’s take a look at multiple repeats of the border design. AM20bl

Here’s how to make it happen on fabric. Stitch the first design of the border on hooped fabric. When stitching the second design, stitch only the first color (the placement marks at the left) on hooped adhesive stabilizer. AM21bl

Place the hoop under PAL (Perfect Alignment Laser), aligning the laser’s horizontal line with the stitched placement mark.  AM22bl

Then simply slide the embroidered fabric under the beam, aligning the beam with the stitched placement mark on the design.AM23bl

The designs will align perfectly!  Continue for the entire border. You’ll look like an embroidery rock star! AM24bl

If you attend an Inspiration’s Hooping Clinic, you’ll get to learn this technique hands-on! Our education consultants are embroidery wizards – experts all things embroidery – you’ll learn tons of new techniques, tips and tricks! Click here to see where a Hooping Clinic is scheduled near you.

Embroidering for Small and Plus Size Figures

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In my first attempts at embroidering a blank garment for a small child, I must admit I struggled. I often made the design too large for the small figure and it always landed in the wrong place. Oh, it looked great when the garment was flat but when worn, it was an entirely different story. The design usually hit closer to the belly button than up near the neckline. And a good portion of a left chest embroidery pretty much always wound up in the armpit.  Once the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit was available, I was saved. I just rely on that handy tool to get the embroidery in the right scale and location for young ones.

At the other end of the scale, embroidering for plus size figures gave me the same trouble.  So what’s my problem? Familiarity. I know what works on a garment that fits a person about my size, give or take a few sizes up or down the scale. But adding a left chest logo to say a man’s XXXL shirt, is not something I do every day.  So finding the right location is difficult. I was relieved when the Embroiderer’s Big Helper was released.  Everyone deserves to look their best when wearing embroidered garments and it’s up to embroiderers to make sure they do. After all, it’s the stitchers who set the look. The common man (those poor souls who don’t stitch) don’t know any better. They need to be led, steered in the right direction when it comes to embroidered garb. After all, they are a walking advertisement for your skills. So help them look their best – use the Embroiderer’s Big Helper when stitching on plus size shirts.

Let me show you how easy it to use.

Fuse Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to the wrong side of the design area. Use enough to fill the hoop – you can trim the excess after stitching.

Place the shirt on a flat work surface. Align the Helper’s straight edge with the center of the placket and position the curved cutout at the neckline.  Align a target sticker to the corresponding size notch.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the Helper and stitch the design.

Remove the shirt from the hoop. Turn the garment inside out and place it on a terrycloth towel on a pressing surface.  Press the stabilizer. Once it’s heated, gently lift it away from the shirt and trim away the excess leaving about ½” stabilizer around the design.  Press again to fuse it back to the garment.

Present the shirt to the lucky recipient!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Here’s your assignment this week:

Every sewing studio runs more smoothly with embroidery essentials. For today’s blog, Eileen reached for Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to complete the garment. What’s your favorite go-to Sulky product?

Sulky banner

Post a comment and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG courtesy of our friends at Sulky! Prize includes:

  • 8” roll of Tear Easy
  • 8” roll of Solvy
  • 8” roll of Soft ‘n Sheer
  • 1 can of KK 2000
  • A set of 12 Rayon Threads


The retail value is approximately: $105


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

Which approach do you most identify with? Are you the experienced machine embroider that begins a new quilt like Eileen or a more novice embroider like Denise who used the quilt designs to finish existing projects? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win Windmill Garden Quilts designs. And the winner is:  Beth R. – “I am more of a novice type – plus I have plenty of existing projects to finish!”

Digitizing a Mylar Design

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Want to add sparkle and sheen to simple images? Try Mylar applique. When using Mylar, let the Mylar shine through the stitches. Plan on using a motif fill that mimics fish scales. MylarFish Start with a drawing of a fish – I drew this simple shape in Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro. There are six elements: the main body, the three fins, the head and the eye. Fish (1)

Select the body, right click and select Complex Fill. Fish (2)

With the body selected, change the Fill Type to Motif and the Pattern to #135 in the Properties Box (Fill Tab). Change the Pattern length to 2.5, put a check in the 3D effect box and click Apply. Fish (4)

Select the head, right click and select Complex Fill. With the head selected, change the Fill Type to Wave, Stitch length to 2.8 and the Density to 3.10. Click Apply. Fish (5)

Select the eye. Right click and select Complex Fill. Leave the default settings. Fish (6)

Select the eye, right click and select Create Border. Fish (7)

Select the border, right click and select Steil. Fish (8)

Change the width to 1.5 in the Properties Box (Steil tab). Fish (9)

Select the three fins. Right click, Convert to Run. Change the length to 2.4. Fish (10)

Select the head and the body, right click and select Create Outline. Change the distance to zero, click ok. Fish (12)

The outline is artwork at this point so select it, right click and convert it to Run. Change the run to a Bean stitch, 2.4 stitch length, 3 repeats in the Properties Box, Run tab. Fish (14)

Now let’s change the stitch order as you’ll want the outline to stitch last. The order should be: body, fins, eye and outline. One last step: add a placement guide for the Mylar. Select the last color, the outline, Copy and Paste. Select the copy, change it to a run stitch (from a bean) and set the stitch length to 3.0. Renumber the colors place the run stitch outline as the first color. Fish (15)

How fun is that? Perfect Embroidery Pro makes you look like a digitizing whiz!





Two different approaches…same results!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Preface:  One of the most enjoyable aspects of surrounding yourself with other stitchers is the opportunity to see different uses for the same design collection.  Designs Editor, Eileen Roche and Managing Editor, Denise Holguin, did just that in today’s blog. They took one embroidery collection, the new Windmill Garden collection, to make their own unique creation.  Both individuals took different approaches – drawing from their own experience for inspiration.  Whether you’re an experienced machine embroiderer like Eileen Roche, or a more novice embroiderer like Denise Holguin, you’ll gather some tips and information that will keep you inspired.

Take a look at Eileen’s approach to using the Windmill Garden collection…

It’s all about the Stitches – By Eileen Roche

When I saw the Windmill Garden designs, I was lured into the pretty stitches. I just couldn’t wait to see the designs stitched on plain fabrics. So I grabbed some aqua and orange fat quarters, pieced a simple – oh, very simple, table runner and then added the lovely stitches. I enlarged the designs right at the machine so that they would fill the 5″ blocks.  It was so simple that I actually cut, pieced and quilted this 22 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ sample in 90 minutes!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Making this sample taught me several things – first the designs look luscious in a contrasting – eye-popping thread. Second, they enlarge beautifully. Third, they are continuous run designs – no tie-offs in each color.  So the back looks as good as the front since I used polyester machine embroidery 40 wt. thread in both the needle and bobbin. Last, I can now plan on using these designs on future projects with confidence.

A Novice’s Approach – By Denise Holguin

I have a confession to make.  I have quilt tops in my closet that are 15 years old.  At last count I had somewhere around 15-20 quilt tops—varying in sizes.  This doesn’t include quilt blocks in various shapes and sizes that need to be pieced.  I concluded long ago I only like to make quilt tops—not actually ‘quilt’.

But now I’m a reformed quilter.  I discovered a new method of quilting that actually makes the process fun.  The Windmill Garden Quilt collection features 7 quilting embroidery designs that are easy to add to just about any quilt!

Unsure of my ability, I started with a small scrap quilt – large enough for a doll blanket. If I messed up it I’d consider it an opportunity to learn.  I printed a template and placed the template on each strip of fabric. Easy!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Stunned by the ease of placing the embroidery and the speed of the stitching, I was eager to experiment some more.  This time with a lap quilt.  First I made a quilt sandwich with my quilt top, batting and backing.  I pinned the edges to keep everything together.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I began by using the Windmill design.  I clicked on the monochromatic button to reduce the two colors to one color.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


I stitched my first quilt design with ease!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


My goal was to do a random effect with the quilt designs – so I continued adding the Windmill design throughout the quilt.

Enamored with the results – I experimented some more.  What makes this collection so doable is the ability to place the designs easily.  I used the corners of the blocks as my center for the embroidery designs.  As long as I can position my needle in that center, I’m good to go!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Late night quilting has never been this fun!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

With every stitch my confidence increased.  Don’t you love that feeling?

I decided to add designs to the center of the fabric squares.  I used a Target Sticker to designate the center.  Then I stitched the design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The end result – I have a quilt top finally quilted after all these years!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

No matter your skill level or approach we encourage you to try!

Here’s your assignment this week:
Which approach do you most identify with? Are you the experienced machine embroider that begins a new quilt like Eileen or a more novice embroider like Denise who used the quilt designs to finish existing projects?  Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win Windmill Garden Quilts designs.
The winners of last week’s assignment answered the following question: I had so much fun working with the Glitter Sheets from BFC- Stash on this project. The wide range of sheet color choices is my favorite aspect of the product. What is your favorite color Glitter Sheet to use? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website. The winner is: Karen P. – “I’ve only used the gold but all of the colors are great!! There are so many things you can do with them and if I had a scan and cut, I’d be using appliqué on so much more!! Even my dogs bed. It’s one of my dream gifts that I’m hinting for.”





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