Archive of ‘Be The Difference’ category

Behind the Scenes: Cutting-Edge Serger Techniques

We recently took a trip to Austin, Texas where we dropped in on our friend, Barbara Goldkorn who was teaching a 3-hour hands-on class.  What a fun event!

Students made their own version of the Woven Table Runner featured in Barbara’s new book, Cutting-Edge Serger Techniques.  Students made the table runner entirely with their own Baby Lock sergers—this way they’d be comfortable applying the techniques they learned in class on their own at home.

I’ll be the first to admit, I had no idea a serger was packed with so many innovative and creative features!  What a great way to spend a day!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

As the students discovered, making the table runner was the chance to learn new techniques and apply more familiar techniques in unexpected ways.  The end result is not just a table runner—but new skills that can be used on countless other projects.   What a great opportunity to expand the use of a serger!  And if you don’t own a serger, you may be inspired to purchase one now!

When you think of binding, more than likely you imagine binding the edge of a quilt.  But Barbara uses the technique in a more creative manner.  Students attached a single fold binder to their Baby Lock sergers.  Then they serged the binding fabric to the fabric strips.

The end result – strips of fabric with a beautifully finished edge.  These strips will be used for weaving as shown below.

Behind the Scenes:  Cutting-Edge Serger Techniques

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

One of the really fun aspects of taking a class is the opportunity to see the different color schemes people select for their projects.

I love these traditional Christmas colors.
Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

On the other end of the spectrum are pretty pastels!  What a great way to welcome Spring any time of the year!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here are some elegant snowflakes.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Festive reds!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Holiday prints with red and gold.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Students also learned how to shrink fabric.  Yes, shrink fabric!  There wasn’t a magic wand involved but I hear it was a seemingly magical product known as Texture Magic.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a look at the assembly process.  There’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to create a table runner of my own.  The hardest part—deciding what colors to use!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

If you missed out on this fun class – don’t fret!  Barbara’s book, Cutting-Edge Serger Techniques gives easy-to-follow step by step instructions with photos to ensure success.


Here’s your assignment this week:One of these things is not like the other. Spot what’s different in the photo above? Two random comments will be chosen to receive $50 gift certificates at Stunning Stitches! Good luck. SS_DME-Banner-Certificate
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question…Leave a comment and tell us if you think the chandelier or stipple designs will look best on the Sun Kissed quilt. One comment will be chosen at random to receive a $25 gift card to use on the DIME website. Good Luck!The winner is… Ellen P.  “Chandelier it would look great and different. Love it.”


Ice Bucket Challenge: Raising Awareness for Ovarian Cancer

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and what better way to approach the upcoming month than to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Ice Bucket Challenge:  Raising Awareness for Ovarian Cancer

It all started when Blaine Austin, CEO of Allbrands and John Douthat, President of Allbrands challenged Eileen Roche to the Ice Bucket Challenge for the Be the Difference Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and finding a cure for ovarian cancer.

Ice Bucket Challenge

Eileen Roche accepted the challenge and also nominated Gary Gardner, President of G7 Solutions.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Gary Gardner did the honor of pouring the ice cold bucket of water on Eileen.  It sure looks cold!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Eileen was certainly a good sport!  She’s still smiling!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Then it was Gary’s turn to accept the Ice Bucket Challenge.  Rachel Albin, the Marketing/PR Coordinator for the Be the Difference Foundation, bravely poured the bucket of ice water on Gary.  His expression is priceless!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

No matter the challenge, Gary always has a smile on his face.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Life is full of surprises!  I doubt Gary and Eileen expected to come to work today knowing they’d get ice water dumped on them for all their friends, family and peers to read about and watch on video.  They embraced the challenge with enthusiasm for this worthy cause.

Now the question is… why?

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

They embraced the challenge to raise awareness about a disease known as the silent killer.  It has affected them personally.  On August 20th, 2014,  this disease claimed the life of Gary’s wife, 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.


A special thank you to Blaine Austin, CEO of Allbrands, John Douthat, President of Allbrands and the entire team at Allbrands who initiated this challenge.  As their Ice Bucket Challenge video demonstrates they are a team of fun-loving, thoughtful and generous business professionals that we are truly proud and grateful to know.


Watch Eileen’s Ice Bucket Challenge!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Watch Gary Gardner’s Ice Bucket Challenge!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Here’s your assignment this week:
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Throughout the month we will feature a Tapestry of Life Quilt project created for a young woman recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. What have you created with your embroidery or sewing machine to support and comfort a friend or loved one faced with cancer? For each unique user comment below we will donate $1 to the Be The Difference Foundation, up to $820! Thank you for your support and don’t forget to come back for our Tapestry of Life Quilt project.Tapestry-of-Life-Quilt_logo
The winner of last week assignment:
Support the Be the Difference Foundation. Please visit their website or like their Facebook page. Your support is greatly appreciated. Leave a comment below about your favorite item in your house that is TEAL! Four comments will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to use at towards a design CD. Good luck!
dimeblogAnd the winners are; Pat D., Julienne B., Susan, and Debe!

My Friend Helen Gardner


Normally, on Saturday, I write about software but this week, I’d like to share some thoughts about my business partner’s wife, Helen Gardner.

I’ve known Helen for over 15 years and have always admired her. She was a smart businesswoman, loving wife and mother but when faced with a terminal diagnosis of ovarian cancer, my friend Helen Gardner did not sit down. Oh no, she did everything in her power (and beyond!) to live every remaining day of her life in full throttle. She fought. She researched her disease and even educated her doctors! She did not take NO for an answer. She said YES to everything and wanted everyone else to also say YES.

She started a foundation so that other women would not suffer from this terrible disease.  In the three years since the inception of the Be the Difference Foundation was started, over $1,000,000 has been raised for research and awareness. But Helen was more than ovarian cancer. She was beautiful – inside and out. Funny, brilliant and creative. Blessed with a sharp wit and kind heart, she had a solution to any problem. She was a devoted wife and mother and her family was her most treasured possession.

Helen passed away on August 20, 2014 surrounded by her loved ones. To say she will be missed, is an understatement because Helen was a woman who made a difference in the lives of everyone she touched. Her spirit lives on in her family, friends and the Be The Difference Foundation. In Helen’s memory, her family is asking for donations to the Be the Difference Foundation. You can learn more here.

Behind the Scenes of Volume 88 Sept/Oct 2014

Behind the Scenes of the September/October 2014 issue

What an exciting day we had lined up: Beautiful projects, a beautiful model and of course—Denise was on hand with her miniatures….

Designs Editor, Eileen Roche and Steve Woods review the photos to be sure we have the right shot.

We loved this twin set from Nancy Zieman. So elegant!

Steve and Sam prepare the set for the next scene.

While it may not be a real living room, the pillow is a real project you can make! Be sure to check the Sept/Oct issue for the step-by-step instructions by Kerrin Brookes.

Here’s a garment makeover by Eileen or so she claims….

It appears she has a team of miniature men responsible for the garment makeover. So that’s how she gets so much work done!

Fred the lumberjack clears away the excess brush for the pretty flower embroidery to take center stage. I can’t wait for you to see the garment on the model. It not only looks fabulous but it really is easy to stitch. (Even if you don’t have a team of miniature men!)

Here’s Pierre taking a photo of a new Be the Difference clutch by Marie Zinno. Don’t you love the patterns in this scene?


Hans takes a moment to pose for the camera.  He certainly finds interesting places for his photo shoots. Can you guess where he’s hanging out?  Be sure to look for Katherine Artines’ project in the Sept/Oct 2014 issue to find out! When you read the story behind Katherine’s project you’ll see why Hans chose this spot for his photo.  Everyone needs friends to offer support, strength and hope!

Stylist, Andrea Huffman carefully sets up the next scene featuring a Be the Difference Tote, Sweatshirt and Blanket.

After we photographed Diane Kron’s charming quilt, the lumberjacks were called in again to clear away some overgrown weeping willow branches. I could sure use some lumberjacks in my backyard!

Perspective is an amazing thing – especially when it comes to photography!

Here’s an even more behind the scenes look….
Denise Holguin gets very involved in her miniatures photo shoot. You might even say she lives in her own little world….

Stanley was hired to photograph this fun compact set by Embroidery Garden. It features a mirror and carrying case.

He spent some time explaining his “vision” for the scene to the models.

Estelle was directed to sit on top of a Parisian perfume bottle. (Sure hope she doesn’t fall down!)

Miranda took center stage on the quilted carrying case. She does love the camera!

Have you noticed all the teal colored projects in this issue? September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – and teal is the color chosen to spread awareness. Like many of our readers, we know people that have been affected by ovarian cancer. To show our support we chose to make the entire issue teal colored. Not only do we want to help spread awareness but we want to offer hope, celebrate life and help find a cure. For more information visit the Be the Difference Foundation website.

The September/October issue will be available September 1st.  Be sure to pick up your copy from your local dealer or visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website to order a subscription.

Here’s your assignment this week:
Support the Be the Difference Foundation. Please visit their website or like their Facebook page. Your support is greatly appreciated. Leave a comment below about your favorite item in your house that is TEAL! Four comments will be chosen to receive a $25 gift certificate to use at towards a design CD. Good luck!
The winner of last week assignment:
What’s your favorite method for mending a mistake like this? Throw it out? Use a seam ripper? Peggy’s Stitch Eraser? One comment will be chosen to win a $25 gift card to use on the DIME website!Gift-CardAnd the winner is J Coxsey – “Like others have said, for a design like this, I would leave it in the hoop, carefully pick out the stitches and then find the place in the design to be restitched and stitch! If it’s too dense to fix, rather than toss it in the bin, I save it and use it in some sort of mixed media or fabric collage if possible. You could also use the embroidered design in an in-the-hoop applique design such as a crazy quilt. Great way to repurpose and turn a mistake into a happy accident!”

Multi-Needle Monday: Assigning Thread Colors, Part I

Many of you expressed an interest in learning how to assign thread colors to the needles.  I’ll share how I do it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m self-taught – I’ve never had a lesson on a multi-needle machine. For quite some time, my only exposure to the multi-needle machines was at Stitching Sisters events. After deferring all multi-needle questions at those events to my sister, Marie, I figured it was time I tackled the 10-needle.

Here’s what I’ve learned.  Stitching does not have to proceed from needle one through needle ten. It can progress in any order such as needle three to needle seven to needle one. You can control what needle stitches when just like you can control what thread you put on what needle.

I’m often working with one palette for several embroidery projects at a time so I select the 10 thread spools and load them onto the machine in no particular order.  Now remember, I’m not a commercial embroiderer so although I like to save time, I am not focused on shaving seconds off of every stitch out.  If I was, then I would pay attention to the order in which I loaded the spools (most-used spools go together on pins three through eight to save time when the machine actually moves from needle to needle).

With all ten needles threaded, select the notes section on the machine screen and go to page 5.


Turn the Manual Color Sequence to On and then touch Close.


Retrieve the embroidery design. I’m going to stitch a six color design from the Embroider-a-Cure Collection. Thread3

Here’s the color sequence as shown in my embroidery software program. Thread4

At the machine, retrieve the design.  Touch Edit End.


Touch the spool icon.


When this screen appears, you can change any of the colors to a specific needle.  Just to be clear, ‘colors’ are the colors of the design as listed on the left column and ‘needles’ are the ten icons on the right of the screen.


To assign a needle to the first color, touch the needle that you want to stitch first. Here, I’ve assigned needle 8 to stitch the first color. Notice how the color on the left now has an 8 next to the spool.


Touch the plus sign at the lower left corner to advance to the next color.


Touch the needle that you want to stitch next. Here I’ve assigned needle 7 to stitch the second color.


Touch the plus sign at the lower left corner to advance to the next color and throughout all of the design until all needles have been assigned. Touch Close.


The design now appears on the sewing screen and you can make final adjustments to positioning the design in the hoop.


Once you’re satisfied with the placement, touch Sewing and you’re ready to stitch!


An added bonus to manual color sequencing is the programmed colors in the design will remain until you select another design. To permanently store the programmed colors, save the design in the machine’s memory.

Next week, we’ll complete this discussion on threading.



Embroidered Infinity Scarf

A huge shout out of gratitude to all of our Blog tour stops –Peas in a Pod, Riley Blake Designs, Nancy Zieman, We all Sew, Stitched by Crystal and Totally Stitching. The Be the Difference Foundation is honored to have all of these talented women participate in the drive to spread the awareness of ovarian cancer. Thank you!

Splash a little color on a trendy infinity scarf with feminine scrolls. This lightly-digitized design is part of a larger design and flows fluidly on this delicate rayon fabric.


  • One purchased infinity scarf
  • Water soluble mesh-type stabilizer
  • Embroider a Cure embroidery design #BTD005
  • Embroidery editing software

Open design BTD005 in embroidery editing software.

Select one scroll portion of the design.

Open a new screen and paste the scroll into the sewing field.

Rotate the design to make it easier to hoop.

Print a few templates of the design and audition them on the scarf. You might find it helpful to put the scarf on your neck, in the style you’ll wear, and place the templates in visible areas. Some of the embroidery will be buried in the twists and folds of the fabric but with a little planning you can make sure your embroidery will not be hidden.

Hoop the scarf with water soluble stabilizer and stitch the design. Rehoop as necessary until your embellishment is complete. My sample has 10 designs.

Trim the stabilizer close to the embroidery and rinse away the remainder. Once dry, press and wear!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave a comment below about your favorite scarf on the Love My Scarf Blog Tour and what inspired you to create one of your own! One lucky winner will receive this beautiful butterfly pin created on behalf of the Brookharts family in memory of their wife and mother, Joanne. If you’d like to pick up one for yourself or a friend you can do so here.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell us how you store your thread! We’d love to know if you keep it neat and organized by color, randomly piled in a plastic bin, kept on dowels – tell us! One random comment will be chosen to receive a $25.00 gift certificate to spend at the DIME store online. Good luck!

And the winner is…JJ “My thread is in plastic zip bags that came with my sheets and pillow cases. Some are large so I have embroidery thread in them and the smaller ones hold metallic or other varieties that I don’t have a large assortment. My serger thread is in a plastic bin. I too am on the look-out for something better but these work and it is recycling so it makes me feel good about using something I already have on hand.”

Momma’s Embroidered Do-Rag


It’s Kick-off Day for the Love my Scarf Blog Tour!  September is not only National Sewing Month but it’s also Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month so join us in making scarves for cancer patients. Our goal is to collect 10,000 scarves – that’s a lot of scarves so we’re going to need your help. Visit each of the stops on the blog tour – pick a favorite project or two and make a scarf.  You can send your scarf to us – we’re donating the scarves to cancer treatment centers here in Dallas, TX – or drop it off at participating sewing machine retailers all across the nation. The list of dealers is growing daily – look for the Love My Scarf Bin in your local shop. If you don’t spot, ask for it.   Many dealers are hosting Serge, Stitch and Sew days.  These events are open to all crafters – sewists, embroiderers, knitters and crocheters.  Wouldn’t it be fun to team with crafters a little bit out of your favorite hobby?  After all, we’re all fiber artists, no matter how you like to twist, bend, shape, cut, stitch or knit your fiber.

Momma’s Embroidered Do-Rag

Scarves don’t have to be long and flowing; they can also be snug and cozy. Also known as do-rags, they offer warmth and comfort for everyone and are perfect for people suffering from hair loss. Stitching a ‘do-rag’ is fast, easy and fun. In fact, you can stitch six from one yard (60″ wide) of four-way stretch knit. Add some delicate embroidery designs to put a feminine touch on this classy head wrap for a woman or go for a more masculine look for guys. They get cold too!

Five Ways to Wear

  1. Scrunch the tube together and slide it over your head. Keep part of the tube scrunched near the hairline and pull the remainder over the crown of the head to cover the head. Now, work the scrunched part down over the forehead.
  2. Turn the tube wrong side out. Slide your hands into the tube like a muff and pull the opposite end back onto itself. A knot will appear, work the knot close to one end. Use both hands to spread the tube open, creating a ‘cap’. Pull the cap over your head, with the knot towards the back of the head.
  3. Scrunch the tube together and slide it over your head. Leave it scrunched at the crown of the head to create a headband.
  4. Scrunch the tube together and slide it over your head. Keep part of the tube scrunched near the hairline and pull a bit back over the top of the head to create a wide headband.
  5. Wear around the neck.


  • Embroider-a-Cure* embroidery designs
  • Embroidery editing software
  • Water soluble mesh-type stabilizer

Open design #BTD014 from the Embroider-a- Cure design pack in your embroidery editing software. You can also use your own design, or buy the Embroider-a-Cure design pack to get access to design shown. You can find the pack at *A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Embroider-a-Cure design pack will go to the Be The Difference Foundation, an organization dedicated to increasing the survival rates for women with ovarian cancer.

Select one ribbon.

Open a new screen and paste the ribbon into the sewing field.

Select your largest hoop and turn on the grid. Continue to copy/paste the ribbons and place them 2″ apart. Rotate each one individually to get a random appearance. Save the design and send it to your machine. Cut 4-way stretch knit fabric 21″ (crosswise stretch) x 20″. Place water soluble stabilizer (mesh-type) over the outer ring of the embroidery hoop. Place one corner of the fabric over the stabilizer. Insert one end of the hoop and gently stretch the fabric (crosswise stretch) before inserting the remainder of the hoop. Stretching the fabric before embroidering allows the fabric to expand during wear.

Attach the hoop to the machine stitch the design. Once complete, repeat the process and fill another area with ribbons. I stitched four hoopings on my fabric.

Slit the stabilizer between the rows then trim right next to the embroidery. The more stabilizer you remove, the easier it is to rinse away the remainder.
Fold in half, right sides together, so that the fabric now measures 10 ½” x 20″. Sew with ½” seam allowance. Leave the other ends unfinished, they’ll be hidden when worn.

T-shirt Do-Rag

This is great way to recycle -shirts. Cut the t-shirt across the body at the underarm seam. Keep the hem intact, you’ll use it as the front of the headband/scarf when worn.

Trim the t-shirt tube down to 9″ x 20″- it’s cut a bit narrower than the embroidered scarf because it will stretch more without the added embroidery.

Serge the side seam. Done!

How easy was that?


What is Love My Scarf?

Each year over 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. These women are our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. We aim to support these beautiful, courageous women by asking you to donate handmade or store-bought head scarves for them. Your scarf donation can be knitted, embroidered, embellished, crocheted or any other medium you prefer. We will donate all of the scarves you send in to cancer centers so that they can be used as head covers for women. Our goal is to donate 10,000 scarves and we hope you will join us and participate in Love My Scarf for these incredible women.


How to Participate

Visit your local sewing dealer and look for the Love My Scarf donation bin or mail your scarves to:
Attn: Be The Difference Foundation 2517 Manana Rd, Dallas, TX 75220

Love My Scarf Blog Tour Stops

Please stop by these blogs on the Love My Scarf Blog Tour and see their unique scarves which will all be donated at the end of the tour and see what prizes you can win along each stop as well.

August 28th Eileen Roche
August 29th Peas in a Pod
August 30th Riley Blake Designs
August 31st Nancy Zieman
September 1st We All Sew
September 2nd Stitched by Crystal
September 3rd Totally Stitchin
September 4th Eileen Roche


Be The Difference

The Be The Difference Foundation was formed by four ovarian cancer survivors in different phases of survivorship who all share the same passion, to Be the Difference and end the fight against ovarian cancer. Our mission is to help women increase their chance of survival of ovarian cancer by raising money to fund programs for better treatment options, effective early screening, symptomatic and genetic predisposition awareness and a cure. Learn more at

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us how you store your thread! We’d love to know if you keep it neat and organized by color, randomly piled in a plastic bin, kept on dowels – tell us! One random comment will be chosen to receive a $25.00 gift certificate to spend at the DIME store online. Good luck!

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Do you have any unfinished embroidery projects piled in your sewing room?  Perhaps you started a baby quilt and the “baby” is all grown up now?  Or maybe you’re looking for just the right fabric too coordinate with the project?  Tell us about your unfinished project(s) and SIX lucky winners will win a $25 gift certificate to the Stunning Stitches website!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Visit the newly updated Stunning Stitches website featuring Alphabets & Monograms, Cross Stitch, In the Hoop, Native American designs and also Give Back Project Challenges!

And the winners are – Donna, Vickie, Linda E, Nancy W, Jacqueline C, and Maureen K.

It’s Cold in Those Chemo Centers

Bag of Hope

When you have a family member or friend diagnosed with cancer, it leaves many of us feeling helpless – what can you do to support them? Nancy Zieman and I decided to each create a bag stuffed with helpful items that we’d give to someone in treatment for cancer. The bags are a perfect way to show you care and can be used to to carry everything someone might need during their treatments which can sometimes last for hours. For our bags we 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 our friend Helen Gardner.

I decided to work with blanks and wrap a little hope and warmth around someone undergoing chemotherapy treatments with an embroidered sweatshirt, pashmina and tote bag.

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 looking at you at ease? This versatile design looks great on both a sweatshirt and a pashmina.

Let’s start with the 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. 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.

Bald is Beautiful in the hoop

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.

Bald is Beautiful in the hoop

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 and spritz away the rest.  Trim the polymesh on the wrong side – ready to make a statement!

Bald is Beautiful in the hoop

Since the design is already loaded on the machine, let’s move on to the pashmina.  Fold the pashmina in half, lengthwise and measure 8” above the fringe on one end. Place a target sticker in that location.

Pashmina with Target Sticker

Place a piece of cloth-type water soluble stabilizer over the hoop’s outer ring; place the pashmina over the ring, centering the target sticker.  Insert the inner ring; tighten the screw since the pashmina is lighter than the sweatshirt – the previous hooping. No need to over tighten, just hand tight, is fine.

Target Sticker on pashmina

Flip the hoop over and make sure the water soluble stabilizer extends beyond the hoop in all directions. If it doesn’t, rehoop. Attach the hoop to the machine and stitch the design. Trim as much of the WSS as possible and spritz away the remainder.

Bald is Beautiful in the hoop

For the tote bag I chose the bold Survivor design in a vibrant teal color. It looks great against the black background of the tote and teal is the color of support for ovarian cancer. The bag was stitched in a jiffy on a 10-needle machine. I used Quick-Snap to hold the tote and was done in about 15 minutes! If you’re using a single-needle machine, it would take just a bit longer because it’s necessary to open the side seam to get the bag front to lay flat in the hoop. Once embroidered, just sew the seam and you’re done!

Survivor Design


To see more on the Sew a Bag For Hope created by Nancy Zieman please visit her blog here. And, for more information on ovarian cancer and the Be The Difference Foundation please visit their website here or join them on Facebook.

Nancy Zieman Sew a Bag of Hope


Here’s your assignment this week:

Leave us your ideas for items that would be perfect to put in totes for women in chemotherapy treatment. Two readers will receive this beautiful butterfly pin created on behalf of the Brookharts family in memory of their wife and mother, Joanne. If you’d like to pick up one for yourself or a friend you can do so here.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Leave us a comment about your favorite In the Hoop Project from the SewAZ Embroidery Designs website. Four readers will each receive a $25 gift certificate courtesty of SewAZ Embroidery Designs to the website.

And the lucky winner are…Patty, Colleen, Paule-Marie and Dana. Congratulations to you all!!

We’re So Proud!


Toot, toot!  Beep, beep! A special digital issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery is free for you – just click here to access. You’ll find projects, free embroidery designs, videos from our sponsors and access to leading companies in the embroidery industry.

Wondering what’s inside? It’s packed with educational material for newbies, intermediate and advanced embroiderers. Devour the expert information on stabilizers and how to embroider on ribbon, polos and t-shirts! Learn to create continuous embroidery with confidence; stitch a little something for the man in your life and develop your designer’s eye – all in this one special issue!


Download the familiar .zip file, unzip and inside you’ll find an exciting interactive Adobe Acrobat PDF file you can read and enjoy from the convenience of your desktop computer or laptop. Use the free Adobe Acrobat reader to achieve full interactivity and flip through the pages, zoom in on projects and print whatever you’d like. Use the arrows on your keyboard to navigate through the pages: advance by clicking the arrows pointing down or right while the arrows pointing up or left will take you to a previous page.

WP-IconWP-PlayLook for the mouse icon and click on it to activate the zoom feature and more.  View the embedded videos by clicking the play button and enjoy.

We made it simple to navigate, easy to view and inspirational to read – I think you’ll see why we’re so proud of our new digital issue. My hat is off to the whole Designs team for making this happen – led by Sam Solomon, Denise Holguin, Stephanie Smith and Sandy Griggs. Designs wouldn’t be here without that team – they’re awesome! I think you’ll agree when you see what they’ve created.

A very special thank you to our valued sponsors: Brother, Embrilliance, Embroidery Library, Five Star Fonts, Janome America, HoopSisters, SWAKembroidery and Urban Threads –  Enjoy!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Download our FREE digital edition of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine. Give it a read and enjoy all of the interactivity, photo zooming abilities, videos and beautiful photography captured for each stunning project. Then, come back and leave us a comment on what you think about it – good or bad, we can take it. One lucky reader will win a gift certificate to Designs in Machine Embroidery for $25!

You can use that $25 to buy anything on our website including a 1 year subscription to our print magazine offered at the special price of $24.97 for a limited time only.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Go over and give Craftsy a looksy! Tell us what classes interest you or if you’ve already taken a class on Craftsy – tell us what you love about it. One lucky reader will receive a link for a complimentary download of Eileen’s new class, The Machine Embroidered T-Shirt!


And the winner is…“I’ve been checking out Craftsy website, and some of the free classes. My sister told me about this site, she had taken a class and loved it! I would really LOVE to win the chance to take the T-shirt class. I have a fear to try new things, but I’m sure taking the class would give me more confidence. Thanks for sharing your embroidery expertise.” – Jane B.

Congratulations Jane, we hope you enjoy your class and share your experience with us!

You Made a Difference!

A few weeks ago I brought to your attention a charity that is dear to my heart, the Be The Difference Foundation. I asked you to sponsor me as a participant in the Be the Difference Wheel for Life Bike Rally.

And wow – how you rallied! Be the Difference received over $2000 in your donations for the Designs Magazine team so I rode my little heart out to show my appreciation for your donations. I talked my sweet husband, Pete Kutsopias, into joining me – and he gladly did, climbing out of bed on an early Sunday morning to get sweaty!  He was so moved by the spirit in the gymnasium and the encouraging survivor stories, he wrote a check for $250 right on the spot.  And he wasn’t alone, donations totaled $278,625 just short of the $300,000 goal.

Pete Kutsopias and Eileen Stretching for the Rally

So what does it take to pull off a charitable event with this magnitude? The bike rally is no simple undertaking. There were 100 bikes, 400 riders, taking hour-long spins through the 6-hour event. If the math isn’t working for you that’s because many riders committed to more than one hour! My friend, Mike Horowitz, sat on his bike for SIX hours! But he didn’t just sit – he cycled and cycled and cycled.  And with each stroke, he made a difference.

Helen Gardner, Gary Gardner, Eileen Roche and husband Pete Kutsopias

There are other ways to make a difference. You can support local cancer charities in your community by contributing to scarf drives, volunteering to drive chemo patients to therapy or stitching some hope into patients’ hearts.  Last week, we introduced a new collection of embroidery designs that convey that Fight and Hope message.  And, we’ve had widespread support from the entire sewing industry. Each machine company – Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, JanomeViking, Pfaff and Singer – have ordered over a thousand of the design collections with 100% of net proceeds going to the Be the Difference Foundation.  The sewing industry is one of the most generous communities and I am proud to be part of it.

One of our favorite partners in the industry is, a division of Bernina. We love their professionally-digitized designs and newly-refashioned website. They bring decades of embroidery experience to every design they release so you can be confident in knowing your stitch out will be picture-perfect. And when they heard I was blogging about a charitable cause they pitched in a $100.00 gift certificate to the reader who shared their own charitable stitching experience with us.  So tell us if you ever participated in a community outreach program – what did you do? Why did you participate? Did you enjoy the experience?  We’ll pick a random winner next week.

For more information on the Be The Difference Foundation please visit their website or Like them on Facebook. Thank you for your support and thank you for truly making a difference.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us if you ever participated in a community outreach program – what did you do? Why did you participate? Did you enjoy the experience?  We’ll pick a random winner next week and they will receive a $100 certificate for downloadable designs from

At, you’ll find embroidery designs with fun and exciting techniques. Our art comes from renowned licensed designers and from our own studio artists, the most talented in the industry. Digitized by experts with over fifty years’ combined experience, our designs will make your projects shine, spark your creativity, and inspire you to stitch more.

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

Tell me what was your favorite project you created in 2012 and you could win an autographed copy of Machine Embroidery in 6 Easy Steps and the Sew with Nancy DVD.

And the winner is… “My favorite project from 2012 was a teddy Bear I made in the hoop. My daughter now 38 had a baby blanket she carried all the time even to college. It was literally in pieces !! mostly 4 x 5 inches .I had saved these saved in a plastic bag not sure what I was going to do with them. When my grandson was born I took these pieces and made a teddy bear using them for paw pads, belly,ears etc and minkie for the main parts .I am not a sewer but the in the hoop instructions were so easy . When I gave it to her and she realized what I had done , she cried ! Since he will most likely be my only grand child, it is a special gift !” – Dee D.

Congratulations Dee, what a nice gift and a clever way to recycle something with such sentimental value.

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