Author Archive

Monogram of the Month – August

As you build your library of embroidery fonts, consider a basic applique font.  Not too fancy, not to juvenile, not too feminine, not too masculine, well you get the idea. A basic applique font is helpful to have on hand as you’ll find many uses for this type of font.  Upper case letters will do the trick for most of your monogram needs but having access to multiple sizes is a bonus.  The Punky Monkey from Five Star Fonts includes five sizes:  2 ½”; 3 ¾”; 4 ¾”; 5 ¾” and 6 ¾” PLUS numbers zero through nine.  The font should really be called Chunky Monkey because the letters are chunky – allowing for generous fabric exposure.

I liked the generous underlay behind the satin stitches because that tells me these stitches will stand up against terry cloth and faux fur – two popular fabrics for monogrammed items.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Whenever I create an applique that has a small opening in the center such as the letter R or B, I precut the applique. Precutting appliques saves so much time because it eliminates trimming in the hoop. I hoop the applique fabric and stitch color 1 of the applique design and then remove the fabric from the hoop. I trim just outside of the stitch line and set it aside.   Next I hoop the base fabric and stitch color 1, the placement guide.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Then I spray the wrong side of the precut applique with temporary adhesive and place it over the outline.  The next color tacks down the applique.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The final colors complete the decorative elements. The extra (and optional) line of bean stitches running right down the center of the satin stitches adds an interesting detail and elevates this simple font.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Our resident photographer, Pedro, really likes the extra bean stitch detail…

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

These letters are the perfect addition to a variety of projects!
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you like to mix and match sizes as I’ve done here, then you’ll enjoy the simplicity of merging these pre-sized designs into the screen.  To create this contemporary monogram, I used the 2 ½” extra small letters for the T (first name initial) and R (middle name initial) and the 5 ¾” large letter for the B (last name initial).  Order and size of monogram letters are two elements that can be changed to avoid monograms that become words or acronyms like LSD, SOS and PMS.  You can’t change someone’s name but you can get creative in the way you display the letters.  The next time you’re confronted with a tricky letter combination consider using this unconventional approach to letter arrangement.



Here’s your assignment this week:
Tell me your favorite applique font from Five Star Fonts and you could win a copy of Machine Embroidered Monograms for the Home.Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog
The winners of last week’s assignment completed the Facebook task of liking our page.  Congratulations to Lore E and Margarita!  You’ll both receive a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs.
Have you liked our page yet on Facebook?  Go ahead, give us a click.  CLICK HERE 



Hooping a t-shirt in Multi-Needle Monster

Today’s blog is inspired by a reader’s recent question.  We hope you enjoy and be sure to keep those questions coming!


On July 21, 2014, reader Beth Price left a comment asking how to center a t-shirt with Multi-Needle Monster and PAL. Here’s how I do it.

First, prepare your hoop. Multi-Needle Monster comes with four adhesive centering rulers. Apply them to the top of the metal frame. MN1

Mark the centers of the magnetic frame on the magnet side with a permanent marker. For illustration purposes here, I’ve place four Target Stickers on the marks so you can see them clearly. Set the hoop aside. MN2

Stabilize the knit shirt with fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer. I use the Embroiderer’s Helper for left chest placement because it provides flawless placement. Fold the t-shirt in half, matching the shoulder seams. Place the folded t-shirt on a flat surface and align the Embroiderer’s Helper’s straight edge with the fold. The notch at the top left goes right under the neckline ribbing. If there was a button on the shirt, the notch will land right under it. Slide a target sticker into the notch corresponding with the size of the t-shirt. My shirt is large so I align the target sticker with the notch marked Large. Remove the Embroiderer’s Helper. MN3

Place the shirt under PAL and turn on the beam centering the target sticker. Alignment now is not crucial; you’ll fine tune that in a few moments. MN4

Slide Multi-Needle Monster’s magnetic frame, magnets up, inside the shirt. Open the t-shirt to view the frame. Align the frame with the beam. MN5

Smooth the shirt front over the frame aligning the target sticker with the beam. MN6

Position the metal frame on one long edge of the magnetic frame holding it perpendicular to the magnetic frame. Check the alignment. The beam should hit the center mark of the metal frame. MN7Carefully release the metal frame onto the magnetic frame. Smooth the t-shirt by gently tugging on the fabric beyond the edges of the hoop. Since the t-shirt is stabilized with a fusible cut-away the fiber will not distort with the frame. Remember, it’s a flat hoop so it’s perfectly acceptable to pull on the fabric – within reason! You wouldn’t want to use brute strength, just normal handling. MN8

Attach the hoop to the machine, hem first. MN9

Inserting the free arm into the hem (instead of through the neck) insures that hoop can move freely during the embroidery process. MN10

You gotta love these multi-needle machines – they make embroidering on blanks so easy!

A New Bag – Finale

Here’s the windup on my new bag. After embroidering the corner accents and grommet designs on both bag outer panels, I followed the instructions in Handbags 2, Designer Knockoffs for stitching the grommets on the lining. Now it was time to construct the bag. I used a centering ruler to find the center of the bag front. The long legs of the target ruler hit the grommets at the same measurement so the hole in the center designates the center of the bag. I slid my decorative trim under the ruler and pinned it in place then edgestitched the trim to secure it to the bag. HB_July8-1

I burrowed into my stash of bag-making supplies to find the Clover Shape ‘n Create Bag & Tote Stabilizer. I found a packet and low and behold, it was mere scraps! Ugh! HB_July9-1

But hey, since I can sew this piece to the bottom of the bag, I can probably sew the strips together to make a larger piece. That’s exactly what I did. I placed two strips under the needle, side by side and zigzagged over the joint. HB_July10-1

Then I repeated that for the third strip. Worked like a charm! I wouldn’t recommend this for a laptop bag but for an everyday bag, it works fine. HB_July11-1

I sewed the bottom seam, right sides together and taped the Shape ‘n Create in place. Then I sewed the stabilizer to the bag bottom and added the feet. HB_July13a-1

Designer Knockoffs shares some secrets for successful pressing because pressing during bag construction is crucial for a professional finish. I recently purchased Dritz Thermal Thimbles (heat resistant finger protectors) and loved using them for this task. It seems I’m always burning my fingertips while pressing the narrow ¼” seams open but not anymore! Love those Thermal ThimblesHB_July14-1

With the sideseams sewn, I slipped the lining into the bag and even tucked my phone into the pocket for one last fit check. HB_July16-1

Next step is the grommets. If you read Designer Knockoffs, you’ll notice it calls for headliner interfacing not heavy craft interfacing. The grommets will not adhere to the heavy interfacing like they do headliner. Make sure you use the proper materials. Here’s a tip for inserting the grommets. Use a kitchen cutting board to insert the grommets. Place the prong side of the grommet on a flat surface. Center the hole (on the bag) over the grommet. Place the matching side of the grommet over the hole, connecting the two grommets. Place the kitchen cutting board over the grommets and push down on the board with the palm of your hand. You’ll hear a snap as the board forces the two sections of the grommet together evenly. Give it a try; you’ll be surprised how easy it to force the two sections together. HB_July17-1

I followed Nancy’s instructions for adding a zipper then bound the upper edge and voila! That was fun – I love making bags!



Here’s your assignment this week:It’s an easy one! Just CLICK HERE and Like our Facebook page then leave the comment “Like” below. TWO winners will be chosen to get a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs.Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs
The winner of last week’s assignment:Leave a comment below about what size bag you prefer. Small, medium, large or jumbo-jet size? One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman.Handbags 2 - Designer KnockoffsAnd the winner is… Vicki B. – “Medium – I’m like you – I overload if it’s too big, and it has to have two straps that fit over my shoulder comfortably.”


Multi-Needle Monday: Speed Techniques for Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs

If you plan properly, you can stitch four grommets and four corners in three hoopings instead of eight or six.  Here’s how to do it. Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop, 8” x 12”. Select the grommet design and move it to the edge of the hoop.  Stitch the first color, the placement guide.  Place one interfaced outer bag panel on the placement guide, matching centers. Stitch the grommets. 1 Fold the edge of the bag back over itself and tape it down. 2 Rotate the design 180 degrees and move the design down to opposite edge of the hoop.  Stitch the first color, the placement guide (shown here in pink thread). It will overlap with the first placement guide but as long as the tape holds, the first bag panel is safe. 3 Place the second interfaced outer bag panel on the new placement guide. 4 Stitch the grommets. All four grommets are stitched in one hooping! 5 Let’s move onto the corners. Follow the instructions in Designer Knockoffs to pre-cut the applique corners.  Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop, 8” x 12”. Retrieve the corner design.  Copy and paste it. Mirror image of one the designs and position them as shown. FacingIm Stitch color 1, the placement guide for the left corner (which is actually on the right in the hoop). Place left corner of the bag on the outline and stitch color 2, the applique placement guide. Place the prepared applique over the outline and stitch the next color, the satin outline. Stitch the decorative detail if desired. Stitch color 1 of the second design. 6 Place the right corner of the other bag panel on the outline. 7 Stitch the applique placement guide. Place the prepared applique over the outline and complete the design. 8 Check out all the different handbags you can make with Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman. Here is my finished bag!


A New Bag

Nothing puts a little kick in your step quite like a new handbag – especially when you make it yourself. Once or twice a year, I like to dip into my fabric stash and see what I can use to create a new bag. I gather some materials I’ve been hoarding, I mean saving, and see if they would work together. Handbag Supplies - Eileen Roche

I knew I wanted to make another grommet bag from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. I really like the grommets but I also like ready-made straps. It seems the best ones, (right length, width and material -microfiber) come with a ring attached at the end. Grommets for handbag

The ring doesn’t work with the grommets but I wasn’t going to let the closed ring stop me, I have a seam ripper! So I released the stitches from each end and unbraided the strap. It left me with two slits on each end. Hmmm…I placed them on my cutting table for a few days in the hope a good idea would pop into my head.

Modified purse strap

Once my materials are gathered, I take my time and work on the bag over several days (ok, maybe weeks!). This gives me time to think the process through, make some subtle design changes, overcome any challenges and enjoy the whole process.

I start by measuring the bag I’m currently favoring and decide if I want to duplicate that size or make adjustments. I’ve learned through the years, the larger my bag, the more stuff I pack in there. So reducing the space is a good idea for me, less clutter, less bulk, less weight. I decided my new bag would be a bit shorter than my current favorite. Then I cut and interface my outer fabric.

Next, I prepare my four corner appliques by hooping just the faux suede and stitching the Corner App design from Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. Then I stash my pre-cut applique pieces in a plastic baggie to keep them safe. While I was stitching the appliques, I turned my attention to the straps.

I was concerned about trimming the straps above the slits as this would make the straps too short. So, I decided to just stitch them closed.

Stitching straps closed

It looked so pretty that I stitched from end to end to make it a decorative detail. I used the triple zigzag stitch on my BERNINA 830. It’s normally a functional stitch but looks great on this strap!

Triple zigzag stitch

On Monday, I’ll show you some speed techniques for embroidering the corners and grommets.

Here’s your assignment this week: Leave a comment below about what size bag you prefer. Small, medium, large or jumbo-jet size? One comment will be chosen to receive a copy of Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman.Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs
The winner of last week’s assignment :Sewing Spoolie invites you to win a Slimline box of fabulous thread along with the pre-digitized designs to make all seven of the Spoolies in Sulky’s Collection #1. These popular sewing-themed designs, from the imagination of Joyce Drexler, are as fun as they are creative. And if you’ve ever tried to keep your stabilizers organized, you’re going to love Sue Hausmann’s bonus project included with the package. The whole package is a retail value of nearly $150 including 22 – 250 yd. spools of Sulky 40 wt. Rayon Thread, a 475 yd. spool of Bobbin Thread, and a CD with the seven Spoolie designs and bonus project. If you win, it’s all yours from Sulky. Now, go Express Yourself! Leave a comment below on where you would embroider a Spoolie to be entered!blog adAnd the winner is… Karen P – “Oh my gosh!! These are so cute!!! I would stitch them onto a bunch of tote bags that I have that I use for various different things, one is my Quilt Guild bag, one is my Crochet project bag, another has hand embroidery squares that I bring with me while waiting at various appointments, and so on. Plus, how could I resist putting a few of them on a sweatshirt or two!!! Ohhh I hope I won this one!!”



Multi-Needle Monday: Dynamic Duo

I have to admit when I hoop I use two devices that simplify my hooping process. I don’t have to struggle with the inner and outer rings of standard hoops or watch the outer ring scurry around my work surface while the stabilizer and fabric goes in another direction. I use a powerful duo: PAL2 and Multi-Needle Monster.

Here’s my routine: I place the Multi-Needle Monster’s magnetic frame, magnet side up, on my hooping station. My hooping station is a rubberized mat (shelf liner) taped onto a flat work surface with PAL2 centered above the mat. I have marked the center of each side of the hoop with a Sharpie and I make sure those marks are aligned with the beam.


Then I slide stabilizer and fabric over the frame centering the target sticker under the beam.


Next, I position Multi-Needle Monster’s metal frame perpendicular to the magnetic frame. I get the outside edge of one side aligned (metal frame still perpendicular to the magnetic frame). Then I carefully release the metal frame.


It all comes together in about 30 seconds and it’s perfectly centered! Love that combo!

Heading to a BERNINA Dealer near You

I had a sneak peek at the E 16 this weekend at BERNINA University. Dealers were excited to see the machine, learn about its features and explore the possibilities with this new multi-needle machine. The E 16 is heading to BERNINA dealers soon, very soon. In fact, some stores already have a floor model.


If you’ve been wondering what all the hubbub is about, then check it out for yourself. The E 16 is a quick stitcher – maxing out at 1400 stitches per minute. Plus it has a HUGE sewing field – 400 x 350 mm – without flipping the hoop!


Controlled by a computer, accurate placement is achieved with a pinpoint laser. The laser is illuminated with the touch of a button and stays lit (if desired) during the trace function. Look closely at the image below and you’ll see the laser dot in the middle of the stitched number one. e-16_4

BERNINA is proud of the Go Pro Tension System – thread flows through the tension just like water through a spigot. Instead of being squeezed between discs, it is released from the thread pipes at the proper tension for the fabric under the needle. The ‘pipes’ are the white tubing under the thread tray feeding into the thread guides.


Swiss engineering fans will be happy to know the rotary hook system is the same dependable rotary system they have enjoyed on all BERNINA machines.

And don’t forget, it has 16 needles. That means 16 different colors without switching a spool. Very easy to assign colors to needles, there’s even a slide-out cheat sheet at the control panel.


Don’t get its large sewing field confused with its ability to do small jobs. It boasts the industry smallest cylindrical arm and when coupled with the right hoop, you can into the tiniest areas on onesies, pockets, bags, straps and more.

You can read more about the new BERNINA E 16 here and find a dealer near you to see it in person!


A few years ago, the embroidery design thumbnail images on my screen were so easy to detect. As time has passed, they seemed to be getting smaller! Thumb2

But help is on the way (beyond the readers that I wear all the time). The images can be enlarged 1.5 times (anything helps, eh?) by touching the Notes icon at the bottom of the screen.Thumb4

On page 1, touch the arrow next to Thumbnail Size to enlarge the images. Touch close. Thumb3

Touch a design folder to access the thumbnails.Thumb5

And just like that – the images are so much easier to view. Thumb2

Your images will now expand across several pages so don’t think you lost any files, just use the scroll arrows to access the next page.

Gee, these machines think of everything!


By Sherry McCary

Even though I have thousands of embroidery designs, there are several that are so versatile I use them over and over again on different types of projects.

One of my favorites is the swirly design group from Eileen’s Contemporary Machine Embroidered Accessories book. I’ve used it on pillow cases, tote bags, clothes, and a carry-on bag.



Remember, look at your design stash with an open mind and find creative ways to put your designs to use!

For a limited time, order Contemporary Machine Embroidered Accessories and Eileen will take the time to autograph your copy!  Click here to order now.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Do you have a versatile design you use over and over on different types of projects? Post your comment for a chance to win a copy of Calligraphy Project Designer.


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tags are a great way to add flair and function to lots of different items. Luggage, lunch bags, laptop cases, gift bags and even tackle boxes are brightened by their warm welcoming appearance. Share with us an item you would like to create a tag for but haven’t quite been able to figure out how. We or one of our readers might just have your perfect solution and 5 comments will be chosen to receive a $20 gift certificate to spend at Five Star Fonts!


And the winners are..Melissa R., Anne Marie R., Denise, Marta T., and Soph.

Thoughts to Ponder

Cal15-rev2Subtle text messages are a lovely way to add sentiments to gifts, home décor accessories or even wearables.   A romantic mood can be set with the right fabric, color selection, charms, ribbons and trims. I enjoyed making these small projects – the fun is in the creating and ok, the gathering of the goodies! Cal14-rev

Let me show you how easy it is to do. Open an embroidery lettering software program. I used Calligraphy Project Designer – designed for simple text creation with an Old World spin. Click on the Font icon to enter the text. Select a font and click Apply.


Left mouse click on the blue triangles to pull the text closer together to mimic handwriting.


Select the Ink Spots icon and left click on Heart 3 (highlighted in yellow in the image). Click OK.


Size the heart to 2.94” x 2.90” by dragging a corner handle or typing the measurement into the Properties Box. Click Apply.


Select and rotate the text. Cal6

Change the thread color to the actual thread you’ll use if desired. Click on the color chip on the right bar and select the appropriate color from the drop down menu. Click OK.


My intention is for the heart to be the backdrop of the text so I’ll send that color to the first position. Select the heart, left mouse click and select Order/To Back from the drop down menu.


Send the design to the machine in the appropriate format and hoop linen with cut-away stabilizer. Stitch the design. Remove the fabric from the hoop and trim the fabric leaving a 1” border. Cal9-rev

Trim the stabilizer close to the stitching. Cal10-rev

Sew around the square ½” from the fabric edge. Cal11-rev

Fray the linen on all four sides. Cal12-rev

Stitch the patch to a card stock tag. Add brads, charms and ribbon if desired.  Cal16-rev

What fun!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tags are a great way to add flair and function to lots of different items. Luggage, lunch bags, laptop cases, gift bags and even tackle boxes are brightened by their warm welcoming appearance. Share with us an item you would like to create a tag for but haven’t quite been able to figure out how. We or one of our readers might just have your perfect solution and 5 comments will be chosen to receive a $20 gift certificate to spend at Five Star Fonts!


The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What is your most appreciated mens embroidery project? Was it the golf club covers you made for your son-in-law, the personalized seat covers for your husband? Tell us the project that wowed and one comment will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to spend on the DIME website. Thank you for reading and good luck!


And the winners is..Sharon B. “My husband liked the golf towel with the club distances on it.”

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