Author Archive

Numbered Patches in My Block Piecer

Welcome Software Saturday readers!  Recently, I was creating a Flying Geese border in My Block Piecer. I stitched 16 repeats and after the third or fourth one, I knew the patch sequence by heart. Since I’m always on a mission to find time-saving steps, I figured if I omitted stitching the actual numbers in each patch, I would save some precious time. Here’s how to do it.

Open a new file in My Block Piecer. Click on the Block Libraby icon and enter Flying Geese #7 in the box. Click the green down arrow to jump to Flying Geese #7.  Click OK.N1BL

Select the block, right mouse click and select Ungroup.  Delete both side panels. N2BL

Select the remaining patches and click on the Workflow icon and Autobuild. Click Preview.  There are 12 patches in this unit.  Click Save and close. N3BL

Copy and paste the unit to stitch two in one hooping.N5BL

Select all and Ungroup. Now click on each individual letter and delete it.N6BL

You’ll be left with everything but the numbers.N7BL

But don’t worry, when you saved the design earlier, a PDF was created with a visual guide to the block. The first image includes the numbers on each patch.N8BL

The second shows an image of the design with the numbers.N9BL

And finally, there’s an instruction sheet which guides you through each patch.N10BL

Save this edited design with a new name and use it to stitch the block. Don’t you just love this software? It gives you so much freedom when creating blocks to piece in the hoop!

 

Multi-Needle Monday: Cylinder Hoop Attachment – Brother Entrepreneur

Multi-needle embroidery machine owners are a resourceful and thrifty group. I follow a few Facebook organizations and blogs and try to get a feel for what they are looking for. Most of the questions pertain to hooping and stabilizer challenges on multi-needle machines. Many are overwhelmed once the machine and all the necessary notions are purchased. I remember when I first started my embroidery business; I had no idea about the different accessories that were available to ease hooping.

Last year I taped an episode of It’s Sew Easy TV and I featured the cylinder hoop for the Brother Entrepreneur multi-needle embroidery machine. The series was titled fashion through history. My segment #813 focused on the 1970’s and I embroidered the bottom pant leg of denim jeans. The cylinder hoop can be a useful tool for stitching: upper sleeve on jackets, bottom edge of short sleeve shirts (coaches and corporate), children’s pant legs, narrow opening of bags (wine bags) and any other problematic blanks.

One of the best attributes of the cylinder hoop is the generous embroidery area size: 3 inches tall x 3.5 inches wide. There are three different components of the cylinder hoop: the mounting jig, the cylinder driver and cylinder hoop frame (all included with purchase from your authorized dealer). The hoop is curved and the use of stabilizer is very critical because of the “open window” frame. I suggest using fusible cut away stabilizer when stitching a fabric with stretch. The clips are necessary to hold the fabric in place and inserting the frame to the machine needs a steady hand so as not to push the fabric through the frame opening.

The embroidery machine will “read” the hoop which is helpful but consider if the design needs to be rotated.

Step 1: Loosen and remove the screws from back of machine attachment and remove the “A” or “B” arms, place the screws aside. Insert the cylinder driver on to machine where the arms were removed and tighten the bottom screws (included with the cylinder hoop) as well as inserting the screws from the arms that were removed. Attach the cylinder mounting jig to a table top or metal stand frame and tighten the bottom screw vice which is included with mounting jig. cylinder2BLcylinder3BL

Step 2: Mark the embroidery area on jacket sleeve with a target sticker; turn sleeve inside out and iron the fusible stabilizer to the inside of upper sleeve (or desired location for embroidery). Turn sleeve right side out with target sticker still in place. Insert the cylinder frame onto the mounting jig and slide the sleeve onto the frame.cylinder4BLcylinder5BL Use the included clips to tighten the fabric on the frame on both sides. Remove the frame from the jig carefully and transfer to the cylinder driver.cylinder6BL

Step 3: Embroider the design on upper sleeve area of jacket and remove frame from driver. Remove all clips and re-iron the fusible stabilizer from inside jacket sleeve. Carefully trim the excess stabilizer from inside jacket and clip thread tails if necessary.cylinder8BL

Visit It’s Sew Easy TV to view the segment: http://www.itsseweasytv.com

I have included a special coupon for you to use on my Craftsy class: “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno

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

Split Long Text Messages for Embroidering on Ribbon

If you have a message that’s longer than your largest hoop, you have two choices, shrink or split the text. Since you don’t always have the option of shrinking text (you might have to fill a certain size space), you might as well learn how to split it. And it’s really quite simple. Here’s how.

Open Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro (you can also follow these steps in Word Art in Stitches). Select the Text tool and type the message in the Properties Box.  Do not hit the return key on the keyboard as you’ll want a long continuous line of text for a ribbon.  Select the font, the sample is Athletic Script. WebRib1BL

The text appears on the screen and if you check the top of the screen, you’ll find the length. The sample was 27 ½” wide. WebRib2BL

Before doing anything else, zoom into the lettering and check the spacing (kerning). WebRib5BL

This is too wide for my taste so I reselect the text (with the Text tool) and change the settings in the property box.  Decrease the height to .65” and reduce the spacing to -4. Click Apply. WebRib6BL

Now the letters almost touch – perfect for stitching on organza. WebRib7BL

But the overall width of the design is still way too big for one hooping.  Let’s breakup the text. Right now, the color sequence box shows the text is all one color and one unit. WebRib7ABL

Select the text and right mouse click. Select Break Up Text from the drop down menu. WebRib8BL

Now the color sequence shows each individual element (underlay, satins, and runs) of the design.  Don’t fret. WebRib8ABL

Click on the Hoop tool and select the hoop you plan on using. WebRib9

Move the text so that the beginning of the message is at the edge of the hoop. Select a logical group of letters. Copy, open a new file and paste.  Save that design as Hoop1. WebRib10BL

Go back to the original file and select the next group. Use natural breaks (between words) to your advantage. WebRib11BL

Save each hooping as a new file and then print templates of each one to help with placement.  See how easy that was?

The Final Touch on the Wedding Dress: Embroidered Ribbon

If you have an embroidery machine and you’re making a wedding dress, you have to – I would say it’s mandatory   – embroider a ribbon and sew it into the dress with the bride and groom’s names, date and location. Just imagine years down the road when the next generation is looking at the dress, they’ll know the history of the garment.  Wouldn’t you have loved looking at that information on your mother’s dress? I know I would have.  So here’s how to do it.

Create the text in an embroidery lettering program such as Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro and split it into several hoopings.  (Check back here on Saturday for the how-do). Print templates of each hooping. Cut the ribbon the length of the combined text and add about five extra inches to the ribbon length to make hooping easier.  Place the hoop’s outer ring on a cutting mat aligning the hoop’s straight edges with the mat’s grid. Lay a piece of water soluble stabilizer over the ring. Place the ribbon in the hoop laying the end over the ring and centering the ribbon within the hoop’s sewing field. Use the mat’s grid to place the ribbon straight.  Insert the inner ring. Forgive me, these photos do not show a cutting mat but trust me, they should! Rib6AABL

Center the first template on the ribbon. Use a centering ruler to find the center of the ribbon and align the template’s crosshair with the ruler’s center.  The edges of the ribbon should hit the ruler at equal increments.Rib1BL

Remove the template and embroider the first design.  Remove the hoop from the machine and the ribbon from the hoop. Tape the second template on the ribbon, checking the spacing between the hoopings.  Ascenders and descenders, such as lower case j’s and p’s and all upper case letters, can throw off the centering. If a line of text has both ascenders and descenders, the center of the design will probably be on the text baseline. If it has one or none, the center of the design will not be on the baseline, it will be the center of the actual text.  Keep the text aligned on the same baseline from hooping to hooping.  Use a centering ruler to help with placement.Rib2BL

If you use a soft blue thread, you’ll have the ‘something blue’ covered and most likely the delicate color will not bleed through the dress. Rib3BL

I sewed the ribbon to the outside of the lining at the center back. Her dress was mermaid style and the back hem had quite a curve. In retrospect, if I had to do it again, I would sew it to a straighter portion of the lining hem or even up a seam from the lining towards the waist. Rib4BLRib5BL

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

Thank you all for allowing me to share this occasion with you. I hope you’ve learned some tips and maybe even thought of using an idea or two for a special bride in the future. What tip or idea from this wedding do you think you are most likely to use?

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Tell us if you (or someone you love) carried a family heirloom on your wedding day.  A random winner will be selected to win a $20 Designs in Machine Embroidery gift card!

The winner is:  

Carrie: “My daughters carried or wore their paternal great-grandmother’s gold locket.
It was very special to us that the locket was passed to my daughter’s”

Organizing Fabrics

Although, I spent a good part of my summer working on the wedding dress, I also have been working on a My Block Piecer quilt. I’ll share the quilt with you in a few weeks – it’s almost done.  I learned so much during this process and I’ll share some of it with you here but your Inspiration dealers will be getting all of the instructions within the next month.  Early on in this project, I learned I would have to keep my fabrics, templates and patches organized if I was going to flip between sewing a wedding dress and a quilt!   Here’s how I managed keeping over 4,000,000 patches organized!*

When working with multiple fabric patches for blocks created in My Block Piecer, it’s easy to mix up the fabrics.  I keep my templates and fabrics organized with a simple method – tape, marker and a pin.Org1BL

First, I used the Cutter tool in My Block Piecer to create paper templates sized perfectly for my block.  Once I cut the templates apart, I taped a scrap of the fabric to the template and wrote the number of the patch on the template.  Then after all fabrics were cut, I pinned them together – paper with all corresponding patches.  Then the whole batch gets stored in a zip lock baggie.  I placed a label in the baggie, in this instance, Block 12. I know at a glance what block I’m working on and how many patches are in the block. Org2BL

When you’re working on multiple projects, take a few extra steps to stay organized! You’ll be glad you did when the bride shows up in all white instead of white with a patch of bright blue!

*4,000,000 patches – I made up that number. It wasn’t anywhere near 4 million but sometimes, it felt like it! But maybe I’ll count them for a future blog.

Org3BL

A Hidden Treasure

My daughter Janelle’s paternal grandmother, Ron Roche (known as Mom Mom in our family), gave her a very special family heirloom at Janelle’s bridal shower. It was the wedding ring she wore on her wedding day. That ring was actually the ring of her mother – Janelle’s great grandmother. The family tradition has been that every Roche woman wears or carries the ring on her wedding day and then passes it to the next bride. What an honor for Janelle to carry this tradition on.

It has been worn by Mom Mom (who was married 71 years), her daughter Sue (currently enjoying 43 years of wedlock),  granddaughters Susie (celebrating 15 years), Katie (10 + years) and Monica (5+) years.

Of course, it was Janelle’s decision on whether she would wear it, tie to her flowers or pin it to her dress.  She didn’t make the final decision until we were in Hawaii for the wedding. I arrived in Hawaii armed with an emergency wedding dress kit – scissors, pins, needles, thread, bits of lace, ribbon, seam binding, hooks and eyes.  I wanted to be prepared for any dress emergency.

Just moments before the photographer arrived, Janelle decided to sew the ring to the dress. I looped the ring through a length of ribbon and hastily sewed it to the label.LabelBL

To have Mom Mom’s ring incorporated to the label brought tears to my eyes.  Mom Mom and I have guided Janelle through her life with love and tenderness.   I don’t think two women have ever loved a girl more than we have loved Janelle. To have the tender touch of our hands joined in this momentous day was almost more than I could handle! But I sniffed away the tears and just beamed at my beautiful little girl – now a grown woman.  My only wish was that Mom Mom could be with us in Hawaii.

That dream would be fulfilled in Ft. Worth, when Mom Mom made the trip from Philadelphia to Dallas for the Texas reception. Here she is – 93 years old – still as full of life and love as she was on the day she was married.momBL

Click here to see the software lesson on making the label.  In the meantime, tell us if you (or someone you love) carried a family heirloom on your wedding day.  A random winner will be selected to win a copy of my newest book, “Hoop It Up, The Stitching Sisters’ Guide to Hooping”.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us if you (or someone you love) carried a family heirloom on your wedding day.  A random winner will be selected to win a $20 Designs in Machine Embroidery gift card!

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

As the fall equinox arrives today it also ends the season of summer. Its funny how the days grow shorter and the embroidery project list grows longer in in the fall. What exciting fall projects do you have in store?

The winner is:  

Debe: “My 2 elder grandsons want a large scarecrow & I want to make a new fall table runner & wall-hanging. I am starting on Christmas gifts, also.”

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.

Purse6BL

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

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