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A Reader Suggested…

Yes, I’m still talking about the wedding! I’ve had so many people ask for details about the, well, the wedding details, I thought I’d keep you in the loop.  Although I didn’t actually embroider the wedding gown lace, I did add some very personal touches to the dress.  I thought long and hard about documenting the ceremony on the inside of the dress. I even asked you to leave a comment and tell me what you would do. My final decision was to add a label at the waistline and an embroidered ribbon to the lining’s hem.

I made several attempts at the label, starting with a traditional slant of the bride and groom’s names, date and location of the wedding.  I didn’t like this at all – the J’s were overlapping and the digits overwhelmed the letters.LabelSS6BL

Making a label is not really that big of a deal unless you think about how it will be read in 20, 30 or more years down the road. It was Janelle’s day, not mine, so I wanted the focus of the message to be on her. And I kept coming back to your suggestions. One of you –  Ruth Peterson – left a beautiful suggestion on July 24. It stayed with me for weeks so I decided to use it. Thank you, Ruth, for your suggestion.

For the next version I switched the font to one of Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro’s mini fonts – Diana Small. I typed each line of Ruth’s poem on a separate line and hit Apply. LabelSS3BL

I loved what appeared. I quickly did a test stitch out, switching the needle to 65 and the thread to a 50 wt.LabelSS2BL

I didn’t have to make any changes to the text but I did want the label to be finished on all edges. So I went back into the software and selected the Artwork tool and a rectangle. LabelSS4BL

I drew a rectangle around the lettering and selected the rectangle. I right clicked on the rectangle and selected Convert to Run. LabelSS8

When the Properties Box appeared,   I selected Two-ply from the Run menu and reduced the stitch length from the 3.0 default to 2.2. I changed the color to 2 so that the machine would stop after stitching the poem. LabelSS9BL

I hooped a fresh piece of the Bemberg rayon lining and stitched color 1, the text. I placed another piece of the rayon on top of the text and stitched color 2, the outline.  Once removed from the hoop, I trimmed the edges, slit the back and turned it right side out.  And then low and behold, I found a hand needle and actually sewed it to the dress! LabelSS10BL

Check back on Wednesday to see why another addition to the label made it so very special to not only Janelle but the whole Roche family.

A Timely Reminder

A week before we left for Janelle’s (my daughter) wedding in Hawaii, I realized she didn’t have a purse for her special day. So I quickly made one from leftover satin and Bemberg rayon lining.  I used my clutch purse pattern from Handbags 2, Designer Knockoffs.  I layered the satin with batting and quilted a small grid. Then I hooped the quilted satin and stitched the handbag lining pattern.  I used the lining design because I didn’t need any embellishment on the bag. I stitched two – one for the front and one for the back.  Then I hand sewed lace tidbits to the front panel. Purse5BL

I wanted to add a little something to the lining of the bag so I opened the lining design in Prefect Embroidery Pro. Purse1BL

I selected the Text tool and typed in the date: 8-21-2015. I knew these had to be delicate stitches in a rather small area, so I selected a mini font: Bauhaus Small. Purse2BL

Then I selected the Freehand font and typed in: “I Do!”  I thought that would put a smile on the bride’s face every time she opened the bag.Purse3BL

The final touch was to make sure the lines of text were centered in the lining and positioned below the top seam.  I used the Horizontal Center Align tool and with one click, it was set. Purse4BL

I hooped the rayon with stabilizer and stitched the newly-transformed lining design. Thank heavens I remembered to use the right needle and switched to a powder blue thread for the embroidery. These little clutch purses go together so quick, I was done in about an hour.

Even though she’ll only say “I do” once, I hope she uses this clutch for many special future occasions. And when she searches in her bag for keys, lipstick or a phone, she’ll look back on that date with joy in her heart.


Needle, Needle, What Size Needle?

I’m the first to admit, I sometime (ok, too often!) skim over the recommendations for proper sewing and embroidery.  You know, like changing the stitch length when sewing specific fabrics. Or choosing the right needle for the job. And yes, I’m often (too often!), disappointed in my initial results. My personality profile is I’m a starter; I like to jump right into a project without reading directions (good thing, cause the directions don’t often exist until I write them). But even when designing and creating an entirely new project, there are steps that I could take that would ensure success. And eliminate some frustration on my part.  You know, it’s hard to change your personality. It’s just my first instinct to jump in and get going. When in reality, I should, ahem, exhale, evaluate, gather the necessary supplies and then start.

Those lessons were reinforced this summer when I was making the wedding dress. If you remember, I couldn’t drive during that time, so my fabric trips were scarce and I really had to have my supply list complete.  Also, satin and rayon were not fabrics that I typically worked with in my sewing room.  So I did my research and made a list, and another list and another list. You know, I was laid up for six weeks, there was lots of list making!

The smartest addition I made to my sewing room during that time was Schmetz’s Needle Chart. At a glance, it told me what needles I needed for the massive (I mean, memorable) project and, once secured and lightly used, the chart told me what needle I was holding in my hand.  Its colorful rainbow is a welcome addition to an unused shelf in my studio.

Unused shelf? You’re astonished, I’m sure! But remember, my Stitching Sister Marie Zinno purged my sewing room a couple of years ago and I’m proud to say, it still looks that way! Back to the needle chart: it also happens to be the last thing I see when I walk out of my studio – a great reminder when I’m need of a new pack of needles.

The wedding dress required three types of needles: Stretch for the satin (it had 10% Lcyra), Microtex for the Bemberg rayon lining and Embroidery for the embroidered ribbon and label. Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Since I worked on the fabrics at different times, it was easy to switch them out. That’s when the color coding really helped! Needl2BL

You can download the chart for your sewing room.  Just click here and scroll down the page a bit to locate the chart.  The arrow in the illustration below is pointing to the download link – you have two sizes to choose from – one for your sewing room and one for your handbag. SchmetzBL


Here’s your assignment this week:

Schmetz needles are available at retailers nationwide. Whenever I’m in my local sewing machine dealer, I make sure I pick up a new pack of needles.  I’m building my stash so that I’m prepared for future projects. How about you? Do you have trouble planning properly? Do you jump right in and then regret it later? Or do you approach projects with caution and prepare accordingly?

Leave a comment and one lucky winner will win a SCHMETZ Sew Essential Combo Pack.  That’s three packs of SCHMETZ Embroidery needles with the ever popular Grabbit® Magnetic Pincushion and the free SCHMETZ Info card.  $24.95 US Retail.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Have you ever felt a moment of relief like this? Leave us a comment telling us how you celebrated a big accomplishment and one of you will be randomly selected to win a $20 gift card to Designs in Machine Embroidery!

The winner is:  

Darlene Bares: “I have a problem saying no. So when someone asks me to do something whether its sewing or an embroidery project. I’m burning daylight because most of the time it’s last minute. I just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and seeing their faces when its done. That’s enough for me.”

Simple Steps Great Results

Open a new file in Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches lettering program. Word Art in Stitches is only available at Inspirations brick and mortar dealers.


Click on the Bubble Text icon – just hover the mouse over an icon to quickly identify the icon’s function. blog22

A menu appears with several options for quick customization. blog44

  1. Select the artwork outline. I clicked on the plus sign next to Objects, then clicked on Frames. I opted for Scallop 2.
  2. Select how you want the border to appear: run, steil stitch or no visible outline.
  3. Type in the words. Skip prepositions and punctuation, just insert a few words. I typed in Faith Family Friends after removing the default My Text.
  4. Select the font. You can choose one or create custom combinations. The software forces a mini font into the list. This is a very helpful safety net as the words can get quite small.
  5. Select a thread palette. There are a dozen to choose from and you can create custom palettes.
  6. Select from several small designs to add additional embellishment. I select Love from the list.
  7. Apply is where the magic happens. Click Apply to view your work. Continue to click to see random creations. Once you see one you like, click Ok because you won’t see it again!

The menu will dissolve and you’ll find your new embroidery design on the screen. blog33

At first glance, a few things are bugging me.  I don’t like the large lips and the areas circled in red look very crowded. No worries, just select the whole design, right click and select Ungroup from the drop down menu.

Select the large lips and delete them.  Select the heart at the top of the frame, copy and paste it in the open space.  Rotate and enlarge it to fill the area.

In the crowded areas, select a word and delete it. If the area becomes too sparse, enlarge one of the remaining words.  Of course, you can change the color of any word to balance the color throughout the design.

It’s really that easy to fill a frame.  blogedit11

Wedding Update

It’s been a while since I discussed the wedding.

On August…I wrote about cutting out my daughter’s wedding dress. If you remember, I briefly mentioned that I was ‘injured’ in May, I’ll admit, I skipped a few details. I had a broken right patella and left humerus. Those fractures left me unable to drive, sew, sit and stand for any length of time for six weeks. And the recovery was not instant, it has taken weeks and weeks of therapy to get my range of motion back. I’m almost there!  Needless to say, I felt the pressure of the impending wedding over the summer months.  But I made the deadlines and the bride looked beautiful. And, most importantly, she loved it!

In upcoming blogs, I will share the details of making the dress and adding the personal details such as an embroidered ribbon stitched to the hem of the lining documenting the couple’s names, wedding date and location and a label stitched to the waistline with an heirloom ring from her paternal grandmother.

The couple was set on a destination wedding and chose Kauai as the location. Hawaii was lovely, truly magical. We had a small group of family – twelve in all – who made the trip. Playing in the surf and relaxing for five days in the warm sun was a delightful way to wrap a wedding ceremony with love and memories. I enjoyed greeting each morning’s sunrise from this perch.blogblog

I have never seen my daughter as happy as she was on her wedding day.  As her mother, it was the most comforting moment. You can see for yourself how happy she is.  My husband Pete and I shared a moment of joy with the happy couple right after they exchanged vows. Hawaii2BL

Once back in Texas, we braced ourselves for the next event where 80 guests- friends and family – joined us to celebrate the nuptials. With just ten days between our return from Hawaii and the reception, it was a whirlwind.  We had a blast, danced the night away and saw the couple off under a shower of sparkling lights.

After it was all over, I felt like this:

Eileen & her sister Liz Scully wrapping up the wedding weekend.

Eileen & her sister Liz Scully wrapping up the wedding weekend.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Have you ever felt a moment of relief like this? Leave us a comment telling us how you celebrated a big accomplishment and one of you will be randomly selected to win a $20 gift card to Designs in Machine Embroidery!


The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Do you stitch for charity? and if so what items do you stitch?. We’ll pick a random winner here next Wednesday. If we pick your name, we’ll set you up with a Be the Difference Foundation design pack!

The winner is:  

Sara Redner: “I joined the Church quilters group to send quilts to underprivileged countries. Also, after a friend going through cancer treatments was given a hat at the clinic, several of us have gotten hat patterns to make hats for the clinic.”

Look what’s coming on Monday

Word Art in Stitches owners rejoice! When you update your software on Sept. 7, 2015, you’ll find 14 new shapes – dinosaurs, dress forms, fleur de lis and more. After you update, you’ll have a grand total of 598 shapes. That’s enough to keep you busy for year and half! blog4BL

All of those shapes need more than words and letters to make them come alive. That’s where décor designs come in to play. September’s update brings 269 new décor designs.  What are décor designs? Décor designs are the small embellishments that add a little pizzazz to Word Art.  They add style to the lettering and help emphasis thoughts and messages.  Take a look at some of the new designs.blog1BLblog2BLblog3BL

In addition to the ones shown above, you’ll find decors of all 50 states, shoes, leaves, hearts and more.  Oh my, the fun never stops with Word Art in Stitches.

I hope you took advantage of watching Katherine Artines’ webinar last week on Word Art.  If not, you can watch it here on the Inspired by Dime YouTube channel:

It’s time well spent – Katherine does a terrific job of showing you the basics of Word Art and walks you through creating a luggage tag. Watch and learn!

National Ovarian Cancer Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and here is a project that helps spread awareness. I used embroidery from the Embroider-a-Cure collection where all proceeds go toward the Be The Difference Foundation, an ovarian cancer research foundation founded by my friend Helen Gardner.

I decided to work with a blank and wrap a little hope and warmth around someone undergoing chemotherapy treatments with an embroidered sweatshirt.

I selected the Bald is Beautiful design because many patients see no need to cover their hair loss so why not make a statement and put everyone at ease? This versatile design looks great on a sweatshirt.

Find the center front of the shirt and mark it with a pin. Print a template of the Bald is Beautiful design and place it on the center chest. It’s a large design so standard industry placement templates don’t work for a design of this size.  No worries – just place the center of the design on the shirt’s center. SweaterBL

Leave enough room at the top of the design to hoop the shirt – about 3” below the bottom of the ribbing will do it. Make sure the template is straight and place a target sticker under the template.  Remove the template.

Fuse polymesh stabilizer to the wrong side of the design area.  Place the hoop’s outer ring on the pointy end of an ironing board and ‘dress’ the ironing board until the target sticker is centered in the hoop.  Insert the inner ring. Nest the shirt around the hoop.SewaterBL2

Attach the hoop to the machine. Retrieve the design and center the needle over the target sticker.  Add film-type water soluble stabilizer over the design area. Stitch the design.  Once complete, tear off as much of the soluble stabilizer as possible.SweaterBL3

Trim the polymesh on the wrong side – ready to make a statement!

On August 20th, 2014, this disease claimed the life of Helen Gardner, after a very brave 5 1/2 year battle.  During her battle with cancer, Helen not only lived life fully – but she dedicated her time and energy to the Be the Difference Foundation, an organization she co-founded with three other cancer survivors.  Her goal and the goal for the Be the Difference Foundation is to help find a cure for ovarian cancer and to spread awareness so that it is detected as early as possible.

Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because so often, by the time there are symptoms, the disease has spread.  That’s why it’s critical to continue researching to find a cure for this disease and it’s also important women visit their doctors regularly. The sooner it’s detected, the better the prognosis.

Here’s additional information courtesy of the Be the Difference Foundation:
“Over 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and more than 15,000 will die from the disease. And these numbers have not changed in over 30 years! There is no early detection or screening test available for ovarian cancer today. The PAP test does NOT detect ovarian cancer.

It is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer. Remember, early detection is important for a better prognosis.
Know the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer: *
• Abdominal Bloating
• Feeling full quickly while eating
• Pelvic or abdominal pain or pressure
• Urinary urgency or frequency
• Changes in bowel habits
• Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
• Back pain
• Unexplained weight gain or loss

If any of these symptoms last for more than two weeks, please contact your doctor.

Know the Risk Factors of Ovarian Cancer:*
• Close family members who have had ovarian, breast or gastrointestinal cancer
• Have a genetic mutation such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
• Have had breast,uterine, or colorectal cancer
• Have never given birth or have had trouble getting pregnant
• Are middle-aged or older

*Source: Mount Sinai Hospital”

Visit the Be the Difference Foundation for more information on ovarian cancer.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Do you stitch for charity? and if so what items do you stitch?. We’ll pick a random winner here next Wednesday. If we pick your name, we’ll set you up with a Be the Difference Foundation design pack!

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

In what ways does nature give you inspiration?. We’ll pick a random winner here next Wednesday. If we pick your name, we’ll set you up with a $20 Designs in Machine Embroidery gift card!

The winner is:  

Donna G: “From the beautiful colors in nature! From the very subtle to the very bright, they’re all so well coordinated!”

Editing in Word Art in Stitches

If you’re like me, you can’t leave well enough alone. You just have to make a slight change to almost any design. I can’t help myself; it’s just the way I am. I’m grateful that I have the ability to do just that in Word Art in Stitches. The software is fantastic – works blazingly fast – and is very user-friendly. But I have to make it my own. Let me show you what I mean.

First, I selected the Bubble text in Word Art in Stitches. SewBL

I opened the Frames in the Shapes window and selected Scallop 2.Sew2BL

I typed in Faith Family Friends in the Words field, selected Japanese Garden from the color theme box and Love in Décor Combo. Once I hit Apply, I liked, well almost liked what I saw. I hit OK anyway. Sew3BL

I wasn’t too thrilled with the large green lips and some of the crowded words as shown belowSew4BL

But I know those are easy fixes. I selected the design, right mouse clicked and selected UnGroup. Sew5BL

Now each element of the frame is a separate design. I selected the lips and deleted them.Sew6BL

I selected the heart at the top of the frame, copied and pasted into the opening left by the deleted lips. I enlarged the heart to fill the space. Next, I selected and deleted some of the words that were too close to other words. Oh my, it’s so much fun! Sew7BL

What word combos would you like to see in a bubble text?

Importing Artwork in Word Art in Stitches

It’s very easy to create your own bubbles with your own artwork in Inspirations’ Word Art in Stitches.. Let me show you how.

Open a new file (File, New). Select Import Artwork from the File menu.File1BL

Select an artwork file from your computer (navigate to different areas of your hard drive by clicking on the arrow at the top of the box (Look In).  You can import the following formats: AI, EPS, EMF, WMF, DXF, PLT, SVF and FCM.  I settled for a tomato in the WMF format.  Select the file and click on open.File2BL

The image appears on the screen. In the Sequence box, you’ll see the different colors that make up this drawing.File3BL

Bubble art requires one color, an outline, so I’ll remove all of the interior colors. Select the colors in the Sequence box and hit delete on the keyboard.File4BL

Now I have a black tomato, not an outline.File5BL

No worries, the software will automatically outline it.  Select the tomato and click on the Bubble Text icon.File6BL

The outline appears in the Bubble Text window. To fill the bubble, I chose a run stitch outline, typed in Tomato in the Words box, selected a Red color scheme and clicked Apply.File8BL

It was that easy!File9BL

Wahoo! A Yard a Day?

What’s all the hype about?  My Fabric is sponsoring a contest for a whole month! Just enter and you could win a yard of fabric. That’s all you have to do, enter and win.

So what is My Fabric Designs? My Fabric Designs allows you to create your own custom fabric by the yard! For full disclosure, I am a co-founder of the company and I’m excited to give crafters (just like me!) more choices when creating projects involving fabric. Now, you can upload a doodle from your grandchild, a picture of a favorite pet, an image you fell in love with or something you created yourself on the computer and turn it into custom printed fabric.

Imagine the possibilities! A quilt created with images of your family and friends. A sun dress made from a clip art image you discovered online. It’s all possible and more, thanks to digital textile printing. You can create your own or shop from the posted inventory. And best of all – it never goes out of stock. You can make curtains today, a quilt in 6 months and slipcovers in a year.

Digital textile printing involves a highly-specialized ink jet printer which prints directly onto fabric or depending on the fabric type, a sublimation heat transfer process. This method of creating textiles uses less energy, creates less waste and allows for small runs of fabric, as little as a fat quarter at a time.

You simply upload your design, choose your fabric and in 7-10 business days, your custom, one-of-kind fabric is delivered direct to your door. chipsBL

Whether you’re interested in creating quilts, garments, home decor or crafts, I hope the ability to print your own custom fabrics for your projects opens up an entirely new avenue of creativity for you.

In fact, I used My Fabric Designs to create DIME’s cheater quilts. I had so much fun digitally creating the quilts. But the best part was when I received them. I didn’t have to bother with piecing! I got right to the fun part – the quilting.CheaterBL


Here’s your assignment this week:

Pop over to My Fabric Designs and enter the contest. While you’re there, browse in the fabrics (click on Shop) and tell me what fabric you’d like to win. We’ll pick a random winner here next Wednesday. If we pick your name, we’ll ship you one yard of the fabric you mentioned in your comment.

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

I know many of you have taken on impressive embroidery projects. I’m sure you get a sense of satisfaction when complete. And I think its rewarding to look at the pile of used bobbin and do a head count.  So tell me, have you ever had a 7 bobbin kind of day?  What’s the most bobbins you’ve gone through on a single project? We’ll pick one random winner to receive a $20 gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery.

The winner is:  

Lois: “I used 14 bobbins while completing 105 placemats for my daughter’s wedding. I embroidered two wolves on each placemat after quilting them. Lots of work but worth it?”

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