Archive of ‘Color and Design’ category

Who has the Most Quilt Tops?

I really hit a nerve last week when I asked if you had any quilt tops that need to be quilted.  Most readers admitted having more than three tops ready to be quilted from over 200 (and counting) responses. Not that it was a competition, but wow, we all seem to have quilt tops that need to be finished!

Blog reader Eileen Gorzelic summed it up when she wrote, Wow! Seems like a lot of us are in the same boat. Honestly I am not sure how many I have to quilt. I really enjoy the piecing part and when I get to the quilting part I become paralyzed and anxious. For some reason I have a problem with making small pieces and end up with twins, queens, and kings and the cost of having someone quilt it has become so expensive that I end up dragging my feet and end up start a new project…….Thanks for giving us an avenue to completion!

On January 31, Nataly Poire shared, “I have 3 boxes of tops that need to be quilt because I don’t like the quilting part…have to try your method.”

I know exactly how Nataly feels. I’ll share a little of my quilting journey (it’s taken 20 years so I won’t bore you with all of the details). When I first started quilting, I didn’t know a thing about precise piecing skills so instead of focusing on learning how to be precise and consistent, I took another path. I just came up with my own ways, like wider seam allowances, raw edge applique, fabrics that hid mistakes and more.  Then in 2014, I invented the shortE, the embroidery short arm with a long reach. It’s a frame that holds a quilt above the machine bed so you can quilt with an embroidery machine.

At first, I used cheater panels and whole cloth quilts to learn the ‘machining’ part.  The ‘machining’ part is the actual quilting of the quilt.

After a while, I got good at the ‘machining’ part and I fell in love with the end result – quilts that I wanted to wrap myself (or a loved one) in.  They were not only soft and supple; they were also interesting to look at. The stitching was beautiful and the texture was what I had always longed for. They were finally like the samples in the quilt shops that you just want to pull off the wall and lie under. They were, well, real quilts! 

The end result made me want to create beautiful tops so I finally paid attention to the piecing.  Believe me, I’m years away from entering a top notch quilt show but I’ve found I enjoy the quilt top making process so much more because I know the ‘machining’ part is doable  – the machining is not going to ‘ruin’ all of my piecing efforts. And isn’t that what we’re all afraid of? Ruining our beautiful quilt tops with the quilting (machining) process?  Well, fear no more – help is here! 

Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons breaks all of the ‘machining’ down into manageable steps.  I feel like I’ve made (and overcome!) every challenge that you could encounter in quilting with an embroidery machine.  I’ve learned an awful lot on this journey and I’m happy to share it with you in Quilt with an Embroidery Machine in 8 Easy Lessons.  Remember, you can watch it on Sewing with Nancy at http://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/ or check your local TV listings to watch on PBS.

Last week’s lucky winner is Joanna Cook!

Want to be winner this week? Just tell me the size of your largest hoop (and machine model) and you could win a pack of Print & Stick Target Template paper – that’s a $19.99 value

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

Cruise 2017

My stitching Sister and I are heading back to sea and hoping you’ll consider joining us for a relaxing – and educational – cruise on the Harmony of the Seas on May 7, 2017.  Last year, we sailed with 70 embroiderers on the beautiful Royal Caribbean Allure. We all had a blast – so much fun that we didn’t want to leave the ship as evidenced in this photo: cruise1bl

Many came with friends or spouses and left with a slew of new friends.  Some of our guests from last year have already signed up for the May 2017 cruise but there are still spots available.  It will be a terrific way to spend Mother’s Day weekend. Think about it: top of the line Baby Lock machines, sewing room open every day, delicious food, interesting ports of call, beautiful ship and nothing to worry about except what color of thread to use next!cruise2bl

Many of our guests were students we’ve met around the country over the past ten years.  Marie and I were delighted to see each of them again. Of course, we hope to meet many more this year and make new friends!cruise4bl

What can you expect from a Stitching Sisters cruise? Marie and I take care of the details – along with our skipper, Harold Havard of Flash Sew and Quilt in Naples, FL. Harold has at least a dozen stitching cruises under his belt you can be assured each one goes off without a hitch.   Marie and I will guide you through three days of designing, digitizing, stitching and quilting with an embroidery machine.  But we’re not heading to sea by ourselves, oh no, we’ll also be joined by two of DIME’s Inspiration Consultants. You’ll be in good hands for three days of embroidery fun and exploration.

Of course the Allure has lots of fun night time activities like shows, music, contests and more.cruise5bl

Or you can sneak back into the sewing studio and stitch some more.cruise6bl

This cruise will be our second on the Allure and fourth with the Royal Caribbean cruiseline. Click here to see why we think this ship is the best on the water. http://www.flashsewandquilt.com/dimecruise.html

Marie and I have already booked our rooms and we’re working on the class materials now.  Since we want all of the projects to be fresh and new for this special occasion, we are making sure all of the latest techniques, ideas and trends are included in the three days of embroidery fun. So details on the stitching portion of the cruise will be available at a later date. But it’s a good idea to grab your cabin now!  Please call Lenore Deck Travel at 352-270-8658 or email to cruiselady@tampabay.rr.com.  There is limited space in the embroidery studio so get on the list today. Hope you’ll join us on the Allure!

You can learn more about the cruise and select your cabin at the special rate by visiting http://www.flashsewandquilt.com/dimecruise.html

We hope you’ll join us for a relaxing and educational vacation!  Just pack a bag, wear comfortable shoes and show up. We’ll handle the rest!

Multi-Needle Embroidery: Using Designs with 10+ Colors

Multi Needle Monday - Diane Kron

The Baby Lock Enterprise multi-needle machine has 10 needles.  Many embroidery designs have more than 10 color changes. To utilize these designs on this machine it will require just a few additional steps.

Created by: Diane Kron, Software and Embroidery Projects Manager for Designer’s Gallery

Supplies:
Enterprise Multi-Needle Embroidery Machines by Baby Lock®
Built- in design

At the Embroidery Machine:

  1. In the Properties field of the machine, set the Manual Color Sequence to Off. This will be on  page 5 of the Properties.blog1bl
  1. Select the 12th design listed under Exclusive Home Décor.
  2. On the embroidery screen, each of the 10 needle bars is assigned a color based on the colors in the design. There are 13 colors in this design.blog2bl

 

  1. The screen also tells you how much time before the machine will stop and a spool color change is needed. The time indicator will turn red as the last color is being sewn before it stops.blog3bl

 

  1. To see where a spool change is necessary, touch the Forward/Backward key on the screen. A new screen appears.blog4bl

Notice the red line and its placement. At this point, the machine will stop and allow you to change thread colors for the remaining color stops in the design.  You will see a message at the bottom of the screen (Change Threads and click start button).blog5bl

  1. The LED spool stand indicator will light up in white and then flash with the new color as shown in the following illustration. If black is the next color, the light will turn off. Touch Close to remove the message.
  2. Re-thread the machine on spools 1 and 2 as indicated above in the illustration or any other remaining spool that is flashing. When the machine stops and indicates a spool change, the thread information for the spool to be changed is outlined with a red outline.blog6bl

If some of the colors needed are already being used in another part of the design, the machine will make the adjustments recognizing the previously used needle bars and thread colors so no spool changes may be necessary even though the screen may indicate more than 10 thread colors in the design. The following image shows the finished design.blog7bl

Glitter Princess!

Glitter Princess!

You’re never too old or too young to celebrate a special birthday!  Recently, Stephanie Sanders, my loyal employee of 14 years, approached me with a request to stitch a shirt for her daughter’s upcoming 2nd birthday.

We discussed options and thought it would be fun to stitch an applique crown and a number 2.  Since little girls love sparkles we knew the applique fabric would have to be something glittery and fun.

This was the perfect opportunity to use Glitter Sheets from BFC-Stash.  The sheets are available as sets and individual sheets in countless colors.  Instructions are included with the Embroidery Glitter for steps on how to use and care for the product.  

glittersheets

I used embroidery software to create the embroidery design.  If you missed the Software Saturday lesson on the blog click here.

I could have placed an entire square of the Glitter Sheet on the applique then trimmed it away once the tack down stitch was complete.  But this was a great opportunity to use the Brother™ ScanNCut to create pre-cut applique shapes.  So I sent the applique artwork files from Perfect Embroidery Pro to my Brother Scan N Cut.  I loaded a gold glitter sheet, pressed the button and Voila! A gold crown, perfectly cut!  IMG_0655

I was so excited I quickly picked up a pink glitter sheet and repeated the steps for the digit.  Gee, that stuff is addictive! IMG_0659

Once the design was created I fused Sulky Soft ‘n Sheer™ Extra cut-away stabilizer to the wrong side of the t-shirt. Then I hooped the t-shirt in Snap Hoop Monster.

When it was time to stitch the design I placed the pre-cut Glitter sheets on the placement stitching.  The sheets were tacked down then finished with the satin stitching.  The final step is to use a Teflon pressing cloth to iron the embroidery using the linen heat setting.  (330-365 degrees).  Complete care instructions are included with the Glitter Sheets.

The Glitter Sheets are light-weight and move with the garment.  Perfect for a little one that is always on the move!

IMG_0662

The final step was to finish the back of the garment with Sulky Tender™ Touch.  This added step makes the shirt more comfortable for little ones to wear by covering the bobbin stitches.

sulkytendertouch

Now the little princess is ready for her party!

Peyton

If you’ve missed out on this month’s Designs Plus Newsletter, be sure to stop by for a visit.  Sulky is offering 3 free embroidery designs and a limited time special offer on their products.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:

I had so much fun working with the Glitter Sheets from BFC- Stash on this project. The wide range of sheet color choices is my favorite aspect of the product. What is your favorite color Glitter Sheet to use? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.

Monogram of the Month – A tribute to a friend

How do you cope with the end of life of a dear friend?  It’s never easy – especially when life seems to have been cut way too short.  Whether you’re an embroiderer, sewer, crafter or other form of artist you have an opportunity to use your skills to create something special to honor the deceased’s memory.  This month I decided to create a special monogram with a friend in mind.  She passed away at the young age of 30 from ovarian cancer.

I enjoy the challenge of learning new software—so I chose to work with Art and Stitch 3.0 software.  I was delighted with the built-in designs and features—plus the program is very intuitive.

Open the program, then select File / New.  In the dropdown menu I chose Embroidery for the type of design and chose PES format.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I clicked on the Monogram Tools button and discovered a library of monogram styles to choose from.  Keeping my friend in mind, I chose the Pioneer Monogram.  The ribbon and flowers reminded me of her.  I typed my friend’s initials in the letters box.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Although it’s Monogram of the Month—I didn’t want to stop with a monogram.  I want more text and the opportunity to use more features in the software.  Art and Stitch has a fun feature—adding text on a circle path.  I typed “Loving daughter” in the upper portion of the circle then added “and friend” in the lower portion of the circle.  While I could probably write pages of text, I figured those two phrases would cover most everything not only for her family but for people lucky enough to have known her.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I saved the design and sent it to the embroidery machine.

Depending on your work habits you could have chosen the thread colors in the software then saved the design.  I usually don’t know what colors I want to use until I have ALL the “crayons” in front of me.  Once in my sewing studio I selected thread colors that I thought would not only coordinate well but would celebrate Alana’s life.  This is also when the creative process really did turn into a process!

First I grabbed some blue fabric.  I liked the “almost” denim look and thought it would be perfect to stitch the monogram.  But when it came time to select thread colors I realized the challenge of making sure the embroidery popped against the now not-so-nice blue fabric.  The thread colors don’t merely need to be bright—they need to be attractive and coordinate.  Not to mention they need to be colors my friend would have liked.  That is a daunting task!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

The blue sample above just didn’t work.  What was I thinking when I stitched teal ribbons next to the green leaves?  The colors don’t work well together.  On the bright side, I did like the red thread.

Undaunted, I tried again.  This time I switched to white fabric.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Now, before you scoff at this sample, let me explain my logic at the time.  The leaves needed to be green.  The red worked in the previous sample—so surely they’d work for the ribbons.  But as I stitched I realized the sample was turning into Christmas with the red and green.  So I thought I’d balance things out with the stark black thread for the initials – then a dash of teal for the lettering.  I almost didn’t finish stitching this sample.  It wasn’t my best color selection!

After the first two samples I decided to regroup.  I focused on my friend’s favorite color:  emerald green.  I selected a pretty emerald green thread—and let it lead the way as I chose the rest of the colors.  The rose and golden yellow coordinated well.  I really wanted to incorporate teal—the color for ovarian cancer awareness.  So I chose a darker version of the color than I had been using.  Confidently, I stitched the sample and well, I think the results speak for themselves!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

There is a lesson in this blog.  Maybe a couple lessons if we look hard enough!

  1. Select one color and build around it.
  2. Be open to experimenting with different thread color combinations.  If you don’t get it right the first time, it doesn’t mean you won’t get it on the next attempt!
  3. Every stitch-out is an opportunity to learn!

Now that it’s stitched it’s ready to be framed and given to Alana’s family.

 

Here’s your assignment this week:What thread color combinations would you have chosen for the monogram?  One random comment will win a $25 gift certificate to the Designs in Machine Embroidery website.
The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:
I’m sure you’ve come across the empty bobbin message. What do you do to avoid this? Wind several bobbins? Purchase pre-wound? Throw away almost empty bobbins? Or just bear with it? A random comment will be selected to win a pack of Print & Stick Target Paper!The winner is: Karen M.  – “Empty bobbins are not fun! I try to always keep at least 6 bobbins ready to go simply because I dread the task!”  

 

 

 

 

All for Me!

Improvise! Create! Have fun!

I wanted to create something fun and personalized for my friends. These luggage tags featured in Shelly Smola’s book, All for Me, fit my needs for creativity. They can be used as gift tags, luggage tags or even Christmas ornaments!

The luggage tags are designed with a handy pocket made of clear vinyl to slide a name tag with contact information. Unfortunately, I didn’t have vinyl and I didn’t want to drive all the way to the fabric store. (It’s a whole 5 minutes away from the office!)

I decided to improvise…

Improvise on Materials

First attempt: Clear plastic from a paper CD sleeve.
I wasn’t using the CD sleeve and the plastic seemed like it would work. However, the needle penetrations perforated the plastic making it easy to rip away.

Undaunted, I hunted the office for other clear plastic materials…

Second attempt: A Ziplock bag!

I thought I was pretty clever for trying this technique. Again, the needle penetrations perforated the plastic.

Suggestions from office mates: Use a clear shower curtain.

This idea has been used and tested in the building… but sadly there wasn’t a shower curtain in the office. And the nearest retailer is at least 20 minutes away….

Next attempt: Tulle.

I used two layers of tulle and placed water soluble stabilizer on top. This method worked! Plus tulle comes in countless colors to coordinate with my fabric selection for the dresses. The card insert I placed in the pocket is still legible through the tulle.

Next attempt: Sheer ribbon.

I used two layers and placed water soluble stabilizer on top. This method also worked. I prefer the ribbon because it’s easier to work with but that’s just a personal preference.

All for Me

Create!

Sample 1. Pretty Blue!

I selected blue satin fabric for the dress and soft thread colors to coordinate with the fabric. I accidentally stitched the leaves in pink. Surely there are pink leaves found in nature somewhere! I added hot fix pearls to the flowers for added embellishments.

Sample 2. Bridal Party

I selected the same blue satin fabric. This time I stitched everything in white. The blue is subtle enough that it could be used for a bridal shower gift tag. I added the hot fix pearls to the flowers and the buttons. Also consider making one as a Christening ornament for a baby.

Sample 3. Celebrate the Crinkles!

When discussing our serious fabric shortage in the building with Eileen, I came upon a delightful brown crinkle type fabric. I hesitated but had to ask anyway, “will this work or am I crazy?” Fortunately, Eileen encouraged me to try. In fact, she shared a tip to ensure success.

Eileen’s tips:

Add fusible polymesh cut-away stabilizer to the back of the fabric. This will add stability and will also keep the wrinkles in place as you stitch the crinkle fabric. The particular concern was ensuring the stipple stitches would stitch properly on the fabric.

Another tip, the fusible polymesh comes in black. This is especially useful if you’re working with a dark colored fabric. I’ll keep that in mind next time!

I love the added texture this fabric brings to the dress. In fact, I’d wear this dress if it were full size!

Sample 4. Embrace Color!

Now with 3 dresses successfully stitched, I was feeling quite bold. I found a bright yellow satin fabric. I fused polymesh to the back of the fabric. I opted to embrace contrasting colors… and during the process I must admit I got some inspiration from the movie, 27 Dresses. I used two layers of pink tulle for the pocket and of course a bright pink for the stitches. While stitching the flowers I noticed the leaves look like hearts. I decided to skip the flower centers and add hot fix crystals as embellishments.

Have Fun!
The primary motivation when I create anything is to have fun. During this process I enjoyed focusing on variety and details. For this project I only made dresses and challenged myself to try and make each one slightly different. What details can I add? I experimented with fabrics, thread colors, skipping embroidery details, adding hot fix embellishments and more!

Looking at the dresses, I realized hangers would be a nice addition. Using wire and some pliers I fashioned a small hanger for the embroidered dress. I cut two pieces of wire—one for the hook and the other for the base. I wrapped the end of the hook to the base. Next I covered the wire with a decorative fiber.

The hanger was an afterthought for my pretty brown dress. Next time I would skip stitching the hole for the ribbon since the hanger serves the same purpose.

What a wonderful way to have fun with small scraps of fabric!

There are additional luggage tags included with the book as well as other fun projects.

A total of 6 projects are included:

  • Tea Party Luggage Tags
  • Glamour Girl Makeup Case
  • Petite Purse
  • Vintage Apron
  • Time for Tea Pillow
  • Time for Tea Quilt

All for Me

Did you know? All for Me is now available as a download! That’s right, now you can download the book and the designs from the comfort of your home. This is especially ideal for overseas customers!

Visit the Designs in Machine Embroidery website for more information.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Urban Threads is giving away four (4) $25 gift certificates to their website. Just leave a comment below about a design you re-purposed for something new, something different! Maybe you turned a kitchen towel project into some doll clothes or made a bracelet out of a sashing – whatever it is, we want to know.

DME_blog

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

What is your most prized monogram project? Tell us your favorite 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!

Gift-Card

And the winners is..Shea  – “My favorite monogram is the stacked one that I put on one of three t-shirts I gave to my 30-year old son for his last birthday. I’ve seen him wear that shirt three times in the month since then – he LOVES it.”

Where’s the embroidery?

As embroiderers we often think in terms of, ‘what will I embroider on this fabric?’ Oftentimes, some fabrics are quite busy and embroidery doesn’t seem possible. But sometimes the fabric is just too irresistible to pass up—like this bright and colorful linen.

You might be asking… that’s a great bag, but where’s the embroidery?

Take a closer look.

The bag was constructed using Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs. The bag’s corners are machine embroidered applique. I used a luxurious red suede to coordinate with the print fabric. When Nancy Zieman and I wrote this 68-page book, we set out to prove that machine embroidery can be beautiful but also functional. It can simplify sewing tasks and ensures flawless results. We let the embroidery machine handle the trickiest tasks of bag construction: making four perfect corners and attaching the straps. We also created this collection to give you the freedom to design any sized bag.

Some favorite features of this bag include the details. Never neglect the details—they can elevate an ordinary homemade project to a designer handcrafted project. I used a black zipper rather than one that blended in and I added the tabs at the ends of the zipper.

Black grommets (made by Dritz) were the perfect choice—they are available at most sewing supply stores or online.

When designing a bag—consider a light color for the interior. I chose lime green for a splash of color and because it’s a light color, I can easily find things inside the bag. There’s nothing worse than a black abyss where you have to go ‘fishing’ for your wallet, lipstick or pen!

Remember, ladies, look at embroidery as both beautiful and functional!

Here’s your assignment this week:

Look carefully at the image below. Can you help this clown find his beloved dog?

Image_puzzle

One correct answer will be chosen to receive Handbags 2 Designer Knockoffs by Eileen Roche and Nancy Zieman. Good luck!

Handbags 2 - Designer Knockoffs

The winner of last week’s assignment is:

We’ve showed you plenty of mistakes we’ve made in the past few weeks and asked you to share your stories as well. Now we’d like to know the funniest mistake you’ve ever made! We’ll choose one random comment below to receive a $25 gift certificate to use on the DIME website. Thank you for sharing your stories with us in our Has This Ever Happened to You series.

Gift-Card

And the winner is…Marjorie P. “I found out how “strong” my machine was when I embroidered completely a flower head pin. I had to sit and look at it for a while I was so amazed, then I just picked the stitches out backed up the design and continued on. Project saved, pin a complete loss.”

Doodles!

Have you checked out the free design in the August Designs Plus Newsletter?  Our sponsor, EmbroideryOnline donated a design from one of their newest collections, the Doodle Line Quilting collection.  The Doodle Flowers Centerpiece is yours free to download and enjoy from the Designs Plus Newsletter!  (Read on to find out details!)

We were excited to try the design so here’s a peek at what we’ve been up to.  The design is a breeze to stitch—so we stitched a set in 4 different thread colors.

Then we were inspired by the name of the collection and thought it would be fun to stitch the design on white fabric with black thread—then we colored in the doodles using Copic markers.

Click here to check out the latest Designs Plus Newsletter and to download the free design courtesy of EmbroideryOnline.com

Did you know we have a new sponsor every month that gives away a free design in the Designs Plus Newsletter?  Join our mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out!  Click here to join.

Have you stitched the free design featured in the August Designs Plus Newsletter yet?  Post your creations on our Facebook page!

We’re So Proud!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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