Archive of ‘Clothing’ category

Behind the Scenes at My Candy Store!

I thought I’d share the evolution of the Subtle Tees shirts featured in Volume 105 July/August 2017.


When I am embroidering, I’m like a kid in a candy store.  I’m overwhelmed by all the options – from thread colors to fabric colors and even fabric type.  And before I can make a final decision, I have to try all the “flavors” and hope that I don’t get too distracted from completing the project.  Anyone else have that problem? 😉

The photo below shows example stitch-outs from the Fascinator t-shirt.  I spray painted the lace a light blue and used a variegated thread…because variegated thread has to be tried!

Then there are those moments when I go off the rails with crazy color selections.  I didn’t see a need to complete the test stitch-out….I don’t know why I chose that fabric….

Here’s a look at another test stitch-out.  I didn’t want to waste a good piece of lace so I used a piece of polymesh stabilizer as my applique fabric.  For this example, I was double checking my thread color choices.  The threads used on the bird and branch became my final colors.

You can appreciate how color choices and fabrics can transform a look.  Compare the polymesh stabilizer applique photo above with the flowery lace applique below.   The orange stippling pops while the blue stippling blends in.  

Here’s a look at the final design, shot on location.  The airy, flowery lace applique makes a statement.  The shapes can be interpreted as clouds and fits the theme for the shirt.


Fulfillment comes not only from the finished project but in the process of experimenting and improving techniques!

Volume 105 July/August: Fascinator!

Fascinator! 

The Volume 105 July/August issue is making its way to newsstands and mailboxes across the globe.  This post shares the expanded coverage of the “Fascinator” beaded shirt from the Subtle Tees article on page 24.  Enjoy!


This shirt was influenced by my love for fascinators.  The process evolved as I created. I share the steps in an unusual order to show there is more than one way to produce the same result.  Sometimes creative inspiration happens during the stitching process.  Don’t hamper the process!  Adapt and see where it leads.

Materials
Beads
Lace (plain, not ornate)
Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color in Black

Embroidery Designs
Embroidery software to make an applique heart shape.
Free design from Kreations by Kara

Step 1.  Embroidery Designs
Overview:
 I made a heart shaped applique in Perfect Embroidery Pro software.  While I’m not necessarily fond of wearing hearts on my shirts—I thought it would be good to challenge myself!  I added a Hexagon pattern inside the heart applique shape.  If you don’t have Perfect Embroidery Pro, it’s available as a free trial (save option is deactivated).  Purchase your activated version through an Inspirations Dealer.  

Go to the Artwork Tools located on the top toolbar.  Select the heart shape.  Hold down the CTRL button and left mouse button to draw a heart.  Don’t worry about the size—we will make the adjustments in the next step.

With the shape still selected, go to Properties – Transform box.  Uncheck the “Maintain Aspect Ratio”.  Change the width and height of the heart to 6.0.  Press the Apply button.

With the shape still selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Applique.

In the Properties – Applique box, select Change Colors.  Press Apply.

Right click on the heart.  Select Utility, then Create Outline.

When the Create Outline window appears, type 0 in the Distance field.  Select Ok.

Change the color of the newly created outline.  (Click on the Plus sign to add a color, then right click on the new color)

With the outline still selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Complex Fill.

In the Properties – Fill box, select Adv. Stippling.

Scroll down to the Hexagons pattern.

Change the Pattern Length to 30 mm.

You’ll notice the color sequence needs to be adjusted.  You want the Hexagons pattern to stitch before the satin stitching on the applique is finished.

Select the Applique heart design.  Right click.  Select Break Up Path.

Now the individual thread colors are displayed in the Sequence box.  (The sequence of stitches to make the applique are broken into individual components – making it easy to rearrange the thread sequence.)

Reposition the Hexagons color sequence so that it is the 3rd detail to stitch. (Placement stitch first, tackdown second, decorative hexagon stitching third and satin stitching as the last step)

I saved the design, printed a template and sent to the embroidery machine.


Step 2.  Preparing Applique Fabric
I chose a different style of lace that looks more like tulle with a subtle line pattern.  For dramatic effect, I spray painted it black.

Of course, if you already have black lace, use it!  My goal was to use what I have and adapt it to what I want.  If you’ve priced lace, it can add up—and I love having one of a kind pieces.

I stitched the heart applique on the center of the shirt.

Then I downloaded the free design from Kreations by Kara.  It’s on their Freebies page in the 2013 section.  It is the free design for the month of April.  (The file name is Kbkfreeapril2013_abstractlineflowers)

If you examine the free design from Kreations by Kara closely, the shape works as a corner design.   In embroidery software, I rotated the design 90 degrees.  When the design is in this position it reminds me of a fascinator.  I saved the design and printed a template.  I auditioned the template on the still hooped shirt, placing the delicately angled fascinator design on the ‘head’ of the heart applique.

I stitched the design.

I loved how the shirt turned out.  But it needed more.  I used the embroidered Hexagons as a guide to hand sew clear beads to the shirt.  No measuring or marking was needed.  The decorative stitching made it easy to evenly place the beads.  It’s a subtle touch but it elevates the shirt into a different category of “homemade”.


Final Notes:

You could have planned the design layout all at once in software.  But as the opening paragraph explained, sometimes ideas evolve and improve during the process.  If you’re a planner – do what works for you.  Plan and design before taking your first stitch.  If you are a more free-spirited – design-as-you-go type of embroiderer — then continue with your process!  There is not one single “right” method for achieving the desired results.  Have fun!

If you enjoyed this t-shirt tutorial, be sure to pick up the latest issue.  There are additional t-shirts featured.

Tropical Summer Stitching

The May/June issue of Designs in machine Embroidery featured one of my favorite new projects: Hints of Havana. This project could have easily been called Hints of Hawaii summer Splash, Tropical Flavors or well, you get the idea. You’ll find this look in the women’s department of any retail store this summer. If you missed the issue, here’s how to do it in Inspirations’ Vintage Embroidery Software.

Open a new file in Vintage Embroidery.  Click on the Designs Library icon and retrieve the following designs: ABS_0090_D, ABS_0093_D, FLO_0028_Flower, FLO_98_LilyD and FLO_0097_Flower.

Place Abs_0090 in the center.  Place ABS_0093 below it.  Flip 0093 vertically.  Ungroup 0093 and remove the leaf at the top right. 

And the top left. 

Add FLO_0028 at the top right. Copy, Paste and flip it horizontally. Move the second repeat to the left of the center designs. Use the alignment tools to position the designs symmetrically. 

Merge FLO_0097 into the screen. 

Delete the running stitch outline around the flowers.  Carefully group each individual flower.  One by one, select each flower and position it around the four larger motifs.   The fastest way to do this is to position all the flowers on the right side then copy, paste and mirror image.  Move the second set to the left of the larger motifs.  The Group and Ungroup tool is helpful here. Use it when moving all sections and you won’t leave any stray stitches behind.

Merge  FLO_0098_Lily_d into the design. 

Move the lily design to a clean area and delete the first two colors.  Select the remaining portion and mirror image it vertically. 

Center it under the newly-created design.

Save the designs as PB. The PB design measures 230mm x 240mm.  Since I don’t have a hoop that wide, I’ll split the design in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Open PB in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Select the design and click on the Split Design icon. 

The Split window appears.  Select your hoop from the drop down Hoop menu. 

Place the cursor in the 1:1 and 2:1 segments to toggle back and forth until you have a split that you are comfortable with.  

Click Save and the software will split and save the design into two files.  Both files include a long basting line.  Use this line to align the two hoopings.  

I’ll use my PAL 2 (Perfect Alignment Laser) to align the second hooping with the first. Love that tool – it’s makes aligning designs a breeze!

Volume 104 Subtle Tees – Leaf Lesson Part 2 of 2 – Spray Paint

Leaves! by Denise Holguin

If you’re a Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine reader, then you’ll enjoy this expanded coverage of the Subtle Tees project featured in Volume 104 May/June 2017.

 

Embroidery & Spray Paint

I used a Baby Lock Alliance and Snap Hoop Monster for the embroidery process.  You can use a standard single needle or a multi-needle machine, applying the same techniques.

Everyone has their favorite techniques for finding and marking the center of a shirt.  I like to fold the garment in half then I place Painter’s Tape along the fold line.  I have found ironing a crease to mark the center ineffective.  The crease isn’t as noticeable as bright blue tape!

Place the template on the shirt, aligning the top arrow with the edge of the Painter’s Tape.

Place a Target Sticker on the garment, underneath the center of the template.

I used a water soluble mesh stabilizer when hooping this tissue-weight garment.

Attach the hoop to the embroidery machine.

The Baby Lock Alliance has a handy laser you can use to align the design properly.  Move the design on the embroidery machine screen until the laser aligns with the target sticker.

Peel back the Painter’s Tape and target sticker.

Stitch the design.

Spray Paint!

Place the garment on a cardboard t-shirt frame.  Audition the stencil on the embroidered frame.

Mask the stencil and cover the surrounding t-shirt with wax paper to avoid overspray.

Spray the garment with brown spray paint.  I added a spritz of silver spray paint for a subtle sparkle effect.

Remove the tape, stencil and wax paper to reveal the spray painted leaf.

The final step—I added a button to each corner of the embroidery design.  The detail and dimension finish the look.

Come back on Saturday, May 20, 2017 for the lesson on how to create the leaf border. In the meantime, gather your supplies and get ready to make your own Subtle Tee!

 

The Embroidery Rules Have Been Rewritten

For years, I’ve been making embroidered gifts for two special men in my life. I don’t want to ‘throw anyone under the bus’ so let’s just call them – the boys. The boys are always grateful and charming when accepting these items from the work of my hands.  It’s a lovely moment. I’m touched by their gratitude and they’re touched by my thoughtfulness.  And then….I never see the items again.  I mean, NEVER.  But that’s changed because now I’m using Inspirations newest software – Vintage Embroidery Software – and the boys love the results!  One jacket I created for one of the boys has become a wardrobe staple. I’ve seen him wear it at least once a week. Wow! I’m so impressed with the possibilities this software offers, it’s a real game-changer.

So what’s so different about it?  Well, it’s not traditional embroidery – the rules have been re-written to give the look of yesterday’s hand stitches coupled with today’s digital products and high performance threads.

This software was inspired by what you see in retail stores: big, bold stitches in matte threads on knits, denims, cotton and linen.  The long stitch length and thick threads result in low-stitch count designs making garments so comfortable.  There’s no need for heavy cut-away or fusible stabilizers; just lightweight water solubles or tear-away wash-aways give all the support that’s needed.  Vintage embroidery is fabric-friendly and embroiderer-friendly!  The designs are low stitch count (because the stitches are big and the polyester thread is chunky). And the boys love to wear it because it’s comfortable and mimics what their friends are paying big bucks for.

This t-shirt and hat combo stitched in under 20 minutes – including hooping!  Love that!This backpack stitched in under 8 minutes.  Vintage Embroidery Software takes gift-making to a whole new level.Up until, a home embroiderer couldn’t get this look on an embroidery machine without some serious digitizing skills.

The best part of Vintage Embroidery software is you don’t need digitizing skills. You get to select from over 1500 built-in designs and 18 fonts.  It’s so user-friendly, it even tells you what thread weight to use for each color so you can duplicate the look.   The software gives you tons of editing and conversion tools, it’s quite robust without being overwhelming.

Next week, I’ll show you more and share a link to Katherine Artines how-to video on YouTube.  For now, you can ask your location Inspirations dealer for more information. They received their shipment of the software last week!  And you can attend a Vintage Chic event to learn more about it from one of Inspirations expert embroidery educators.

Click here to find a dealer and here to find an event near you.  In the meantime, take a look at what the software can do to a tired, denim jacket.

 

Volume 103 Overspray Turned in to Opportunity

This blog is expanded coverage of the Subtle Tees article featured in Volume 103 March/April 2017.  This post covers “overspray”.  

For spray paint tips, visit “spray paint


I did not heed my own advice when I spray painted the stencil on the t-shirt.  It was windy outdoors and I didn’t cover the shirt well when I appliqued the spray paint.

My heart sank when I removed the stencil.  The colors looked amazing.  But there was overspray.

No problem!  I decided to use the stenciled part of the shirt as applique fabric.

Overview of this Project:
I stitched the Ravenheart design on the spray painted (ruined) shirt first.  Then I cut the embroidered piece to use as applique fabric.  I embroidered the fabric on to the new shirt.  Since I was working with knit fabric, I chose to make my applique raw-edge applique.

The purpose of this article is to show mistakes can be salvaged. You just have to get scrappy!


Embroidery Designs:
Ravenheart from Urban Threads.  I chose this design because the decorative elements on the heart mimicked the stencil design.
Applique shape:  Created in Perfect Embroidery Pro but any digitizing software will work.

Step 1.  Make the Applique Shape

Determine the Size of Applique Shape
I printed a template of the Ravenheart design and placed it on the stenciled portion of the original t-shirt.  I didn’t love all the stenciled areas I spray painted, so I chose the area I liked best.  Feel free to experiment – you are creating a ‘new’ fabric.

This process helped me determine how big to make the applique.  I cut a square piece of paper  to audition how large my applique shape should be.

Launch Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Click on the Drawing icon on the top toolbar. Select the Rectangle.

Draw a shape.  Don’t worry about the size.  You will make adjustments in the next step.

Click the Transform Tab.  Make sure the Main aspect ratio does not have a checkmark.  Type the proper dimensions for the applique shape.  (My example is 5.5″ x 5.75″.)  Click Apply.

Now it’s time to convert the artwork to stitches.  Make sure the artwork is selected.  Then right click, select Convert To / Run.

Change the Stitch length to 2.5 mm.  I selected Two ply for the stitch type.

Save the design as AppliqueShape.  Print a template of this design and send to your embroidery machine.

Step 2.  Prepare the Applique Fabric
I used spray adhesive to attach a piece of polymesh stabilizer to the back of my ruined t-shirt.  Then I embroidered the Ravenheart design using Snap Hoop Monster.  (Snap Hoop Monster prevents hoop burn and let’s me tug easily on the shirt without fear of puckering).  Once finished, I unhooped the project.

Next, I placed the template of AppliqueShape on the embroidered design to get a sense of how much of the t-shirt I need to cut.  I cut a large enough piece of the t-shirt to use as applique fabric.  Remember, you can always trim but you can never add to an already cut piece of fabric.

Step 3.  Stitch the Final Shirt
I used spray adhesive to attach a piece of polymesh stabilizer to the back of my new t-shirt.  I placed the AppliqueShape Template on my new shirt to determine where to place the applique on the t-shirt.  Next, I placed a Target Sticker to designate the center of the AppliqueShape Template.  The last step:  stitch the AppliqueShape design.  Trim the edges of the appliqued t-shirt leaving about a 1/4” all the way around.

 

 

Volume 102 – Subtle Tees – Spray Paint!

Embrace your inner spray paint artist!

Have you been following the new Subtle Tees column in Designs in Machine Embroidery?  If you aren’t there are several reasons you will want to:

  1. The designs featured on the t-shirts include our magazine sponsors – without whom, we wouldn’t be able to provide you inspiration.
  2. Periodically you’ll find a free design download mentioned in that section.
  3. The column is about everyone’s favorite garment:  the t-shirt!  It’s affordable.  It’s wearable.  It comes in countless colors.  This column presents new ideas you’ll want to try – if not for yourself for someone you know.

The most recent installment of Subtle Tees (Volume 102 January/February 2017) showcases t-shirts with an added element of excitement:  spray paint!  This blog post covers the expanded content as referenced in the magazine.  Let’s begin!

 


You’ll need the following supplies which are all available from your local big box craft/hobby store.

  • Tulip ColorShot Instant Fabric Color spray paint.  Purchase an assortment of colors! This photo represents just a small stash in my collection.  They sell smaller cans, but don’t bother.  You need the full size cans because once you start one shirt, you’ll want to do many.

  • Plastic Stencils.  Select a stencil that will make a good background for embroidery designs. Look for patterns instead of single motifs.  Your local craft/hobby store should have an assortment of options.
  • Cardboard T-shirt Form (this provides a nice flat surface for the t-shirt and prevents paint from seeping to the back of the t-shirt.)

  • Tulip Stencil Adhesive (this is optional but I found it very useful for keeping the stencil in place)

Additional Supplies:

  • Painter’s Tape
  • Wax paper
  • T-shirt

Notes on Color
Dark colored t-shirts lend themselves to lighter colored spray paints.  Light colored t-shirts lend themselves to darker colored spray paint.  Of course, I did the complete opposite with the unicorn shirt featured in this blog.  All colors were subtle!  The point is, consider color when you’re making your purchases.  Note that on some shirts I deliberately sprayed white spray paint as a base before adding other spray paint colors.

Step 1.  Preparation
This step reminds me of what it must be like to make Thanksgiving dinner.  You spend the majority of your time preparing the meal!

Slide the t-shirt onto the cardboard t-shirt form.  Fold the excess t-shirt (the shirt sleeves and lower portion of the shirt to the back of the cardboard form.  Secure the excess shirt with Painter’s Tape.

If using the Tulip Stencil Adhesive, spray the back of your stencil now.  Place the stencil on the t-shirt.

Even with the use of the Stencil Adhesive, I like to add Painter’s Tape to the entire perimeter of the stencil for an extra secure hold.

Tear sheets of wax paper large enough to cover the areas of the shirt you do not want spray painted.   Spray paint is a very fine mist.  Absolutely cover every inch!  Secure the wax paper with painter’s tape.  Don’t skimp.

Step 2.  Spray Paint
Go to a well ventilated area (outdoors!).   Avoid spray painting on a windy day.  It makes the process more difficult and overspray will happen.  Also wear a mask, there’s no need to take in the fumes!

Following the directions on the spray paint cans, apply even coats of spray paint to the shirt.  For the example shown, I went crazy and incorporated multiple colors.

You’ll soon discover at this point that this task is very much like the eating part of Thanksgiving dinner.  It seems over in minutes compared to the preparation!

Step 3.  The Big Reveal
This is my favorite part of the process.  Very carefully, remove the wax paper.  Set aside in a safe place (it will still be wet with paint).  Carefully peel the painter’s tape and stencil away from the shirt.

Go ahead and admire your work.  You, my friend, are a spray paint artist!

Follow the instructions that accompany the spray paint regarding the dry time.

Step 4.  Embroidery
I like having a few days pass to let the inspiration percolate in my head.  Let the spray painted design influence your choice of embroidery design.  Once you select a design, do a test stitch on a scrap t-shirt.  This step is worth it.  You don’t want to whip up another Thanksgiving meal – err, prepare another t-shirt for spray painting!  This will give you the opportunity to make sure the design size, density and thread color choices are right.

For the featured shirt, I chose the Unicorn design from A Few of My Favorite Things.  This collection is free to anyone who attends an Embroidery Techniques from A to Z event in 2017.  Print a template of the design and audition its placement on the shirt.

Place a Target Sticker to designate the center of the embroidery design.  Remove the template.  Turn the t-shirt inside out.  Fuse a piece of polymesh stabilizer using Sulky KK2000 to the back of the spray painted t-shirt.  Be sure to place the stabilizer in relation to the target sticker’s position.  (Example, placing stabilizer centered on the shirt isn’t the most effective for hooping my t-shirt example.  My design isn’t centered on the t-shirt.)

I used the Baby Lock Alliance with the Snap Hoop Monster to stitch the design.  I love using the Alliance because it’s a single-needle free-arm embroidery machine.  The free arm makes hooping and stitching a t-shirt wildly easy.  I’m not as prone to stitching the back of the shirt closed.  Of course, you can get the same results on a traditional single needle embroidery machine. I recommend using a Snap Hoop Monster with the a single needle machine as well.  You avoid hoop burn this way and making adjustments to the fabric is as easy as giving it a tug.

Once finished, invite your favorite unicorn friend with purple hair to wear the shirt!

 


Need more inspiration?  Subtle Tees has been making a splash since Volume 100.  Pick up past issues from our website.

Curious about the free designs I mentioned at the beginning of this blog?  We’ve given away two so far in the column.  Click on the images below to visit the download pages.

Volume 102 January / February 2017

Volume 100 September / October 2016

Embroidering on Onesies

Is there anything sweeter than welcoming a new baby into the family right at the holidays?  It brings the meaning of Christmas home…time to focus on the important things in live and leave the mall hustle and bustle to others.  One of our team members, Sandy Griggs, became a first-time grandma on Dec. 18th to Bo Braun – a beautiful, healthy 8.3 pound cherub.

We couldn’t be more thrilled for her family and since Sandy is a previous collegiate softball star, I thought it was only appropriate to stitch a onesie for Bo.  It’s a little cold up there right now but come spring training, he’ll be ready for batting practice!

I purchased a baseball applique design at Applique For Kids and added lettering to personalize it for Sandy. 2016-12-28_15-27-17

Here are the easy steps for stitching an onesie. Fuse polymesh cut-away stabilizer to the wrong side of the onesie.  Place the onesie on a work surface and position the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit Center Chest template on the shirt. Match the shirt’s vertical center with the template’s vertical line and the curved neckline at the bottom of the ribbing. Place a target sticker in the opening. one1

Turn the onesie INSIDE out.  Slide the top magnetic frame of Snap Hoop Monster into the shirt, centering the target sticker. You’ll have to peek into the garment to see if it’s centered.  Attach Hoop Guard to the frame and pull the shirt over the Hoop Guard as shown. one2

Carefully transport the hoop to the machine (use the magnetic shield that came with the hoop). Attach the hoop the machine.  Use the machine’s editing features to center the needle over the target sticker.  Rotate the design so that it will stitch in the proper orientation. one3

Stitch the first color, the placement guide.one4

Place the applique fabric over the outline and stitch color 2, the tackdown.  Trim the applique close to the stitching and continue with the embroidered details. one6

Remove the hoop from the machine, turn the onesie inside out and trim away the excess stabilizer. Fuse a soft, tricot knit interfacing over the wrong side of the embroidery to protect the baby’s skin. one7

If you like this baseball applique, then there’s a good chance you could win a $20 gift certificate at Applique For Kids. Just leave us a comment and we’ll pick FIVE winners next week!  Since Applique for Kids designs are just $2.00, that’s 10 designs!  Pop on over to Applique for Kids and tell me what’s your favorite category of designs – they’ve got plenty!5winners

Happy New Year!

 

 

Multi-Needle Monday: Automatic Appliqué on the Brother Entrepreneur and Baby Lock Enterprise

As owners of the Baby Lock Enterprise and Brother Entrepreneur, we are so fortunate to have the latest and greatest technology at their finger tips. We have the scanner and live camera along with automatic basting file (shown in an earlier blog for embroidering t-shirts) and another helpful, quick technique the automatic appliqué feature. The automatic appliqué can create any shape, text or embroidery design into an appliqué without using embroidery software. There is an icon on the screen to convert each design into an appliqué.

I created a simple three-letter monogram inside a diamond shape design right at the embroidery screen; no embroidery software needed. The steps below will guide you how to create your own appliqué once a design, text or shape is shown on the screen.

Step 1. Select the shapes icon under Exclusives and choose the diamond shape.

diamond mono1diamond mono2

Resize the diamond shape to approximately 4″ wide or the size you wish to embroider and select Edit End. diamond mono3

Step 2. Click the blue shield icon; this will add the automatic appliqué around the diamond shape.

diamond mono4diamond mono5

Step 3.Use the select key and highlight the black diamond shape as shown in photo (the original shape) and delete it.

diamond mono6diamond mono7

Go to “Add”. Choose the monogram icon.

diamond mono8diamond mono9

Step 4. Select the letters for the monogram; left, middle and right letters to fit properly inside the shape.

diamond mono10diamond mono11diamond mono12

Resize the letters to fit inside the satin stitches.

Step 5. Hoop the fabric and stitch the placement color (1st color). Add the fabric on top of placement color. diamond mono13diamond mono14diamond mono15Remove hoop from machine and trim excess fabric from around diamond shape.

Step 6. Replace the hoop on the machine and stitch the satin stitch and monogram. diamond mono16

final mono diamond

Instant applique! Right at your fingertips!

Learn more helpful machine embroidery business information by taking my Craftsy class : How to Start an Embroidery Business by Marie Zinno.

Click the link to save $10 on this class.

https://www.craftsy.com/ext/MarieZinno_4963_D

A freshly popped t-shirt!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I’ve been on a t-shirt wearing kick—mainly because t-shirts are comfortable to wear in the summer.  But instead of mass market t-shirts that everyone is wearing, I’ve opted to embellish my own.

Years ago I wouldn’t have tried, because I was afraid of the effort to hoop and that the embroidery would turn out crooked.  But with the tools and technology available today, there’s no excuse not to try.  Bargain t-shirts can be found for as little as $4.00.  Plus, the benefits of continued practice include an increase in confidence and an improvement of skills.

Another fun bonus:  the shirts become conversation pieces.

In the last month, I’ve stitched 4 new t-shirts and every time I wear one of them I get compliments.

The most memorable was while ordering my drink at Starbucks.  The barista said, “I like your t-shirt.” My reply: “Thank you, I made it last night.”  He looked at me with awe and asked, “You just whipped that up last night?!”

His reaction made me smile, but I also realized I had transitioned into a more experienced, confident embroiderer.

Whether you realize it or not— you have developed and improved your embroidery skills with every stitch made on a garment, quilt block or even a scrap of fabric.  It’s easy to forget or dismiss this gradual progression but it should be celebrated and encouraged.

When I consider the work of our contributing writers and Editor, Eileen Roche, it’s hard not to assume projects get whipped up in no time.   But as I’ve learned, it’s a function of continued practice, experiments, a willingness to try new ideas and yes… to fail and learn from mistakes.

So, readers, grab a t-shirt and an embroidery design and start stitching!

About the featured t-shirt:

  • The Popcorn design is from Baby Kay’s Appliques.  You get multiple sizes with your purchase.
  • The website suggested inserting a monogram but I decided to add text:  “I’m here for the show” using embroidery software.
  • The only shirt I had available was this brown one— I didn’t think it would work but with a careful selection of bright colors, I think it looks wonderful.
  • To help guarantee success, I stitched the design on similar colored brown fabric to make sure the colors would pop sufficiently.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


This week’s assignment:  Achieving a goal is often easier to complete if you write it down. Who is the next person you are going to embroider a project for?  What will you make? Post your comments and 4 random people will receive a $25 gift certificate for use at Baby Kay’s Appliques!

300x350 BabyKaysAD

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