Archive of ‘Digitizing’ category

Embroidery is Not Just for Hemlines

I was browsing in a department store this weekend and like normal, I was drawn to anything embroidered. Much to my delight, I saw so many embroidered t-shirts, sweaters and jeans. In the past, embroidery always seem to land at the hem. I’m sure you’ve had your fill of floral hemline borders!  Well, finally, the stitches have jumped out of the border.  I grabbed a couple of photos to share with you so you could see what I mean.

Some were embellished along the outside seam.

One just below the front pocket.

The brown denim was adorned above and below the knee.

While the mannequin sported a beautiful embroidered floral spray at the knee.  So wearable, wouldn’t that be flattering?

 

But I think my favorite technique was this one:

I love that embroidered patch. I know I can get a similar look with design Flo_0019Flower_D from Inspirations Vintage Embroidery software. 

It would be so easy to do. Start with a piece of denim scrap about 5” square.  Then, embroider the design on the square.  Next, trim the patch down so that the flower flows right to the edge.  Turn the edges, topstitch and apply to the jeans.  What a fast update to wardrobe staple!   Oh the possibilities are endless once you move away from the hemline!

 

70 Free Training Lessons!

Really? 70 free training lessons on software?  Yep – it’s all on the Inspired by DIME YouTube channel.  You can learn about Inspirations software programs in the comfort of your home, in your pajamas, in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night.  And they’re free. Each video is about 60 minutes so that’s 4,200 minutes of education!   

Every month, our resident software wizard Katherine Artines uploads a new video that’s chockful of information and often includes a project (or two or three) for you to create in your software.  For instance, in this month’s video, PEP Text Trails Project, she explores text on a path, spiral text and circle text.  

 

You’ll learn how to go from this:

To this:

She includes references to other videos that delve deeper into specific subjects.  In this month’s video,  she included this call out:

That’s so helpful when you’re trying to understand the difference between backdrops and artwork.  She also includes keyboard shortcuts (my preference when digitizing) such as this:

If you’re serious about machine embroidery – and you must be or you wouldn’t be reading Software Saturday! – then you are probably contemplating purchasing software or you already have.  I want to encourage you to use it and not to be afraid of your software – it’s such a fantastic tool and help is just a click away!  Use it to learn it. Watch instructional videos to master it.  You’ll be so glad you did.  Click here to view the Inspired by DIME YouTube channel.  Subscribe today to receive notification when a new video is posted. You’re going to love learning with Katherine Artines.

 

 

 

 

Text Editing Tips

Often, new users in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro struggle with making simple changes in text files.  It’s really quite easy so follow along in your software to get a better understanding of text editing.

Open a new page in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro. Click on the Text icon. The cursor changes to an A and the Properties Box opens. Select your font. I’ve chose Arial Small. Type a fictional recipe into the Properties Box, then click Apply. 

With the Text tool still selected, change the justification to Left Alignment.  Click Apply. Notice all of the editing features available on the text itself. You can move individual letters, whole words and lines. 

When the Select Tool is used, your options diminish. You can size the design (the software sees it as a design and not text when the Select Tool is used), rotate, mirror image, duplicate, etc. But you do not have the freedom to edit the individual letters. 

Click on the Text tool again, and all of your text editing options appear. I’ve readjusted the kerning on the word chips.

When I click on the Select tool again, my changes are there.

Save the design now in C2S – the native format of Perfect Embroidery.  Change the color of the thread to green and save it as Chips.pes. Close both designs.

Open Chips.pes. The design is no longer recognized by the software as text – it’s just an ordinary design. When you click on a letter, the sequence field now shows all of the individual elements of the design – runs and satins. Ugh – that’s very challenging to edit.  

Not to worry, you have the original file. Open it and you’ll find the software recognizes it as text and all of your editing abilities are right at your finger tips! 

For instance, you can increase the 5 cups to 6 cups if you’d like. 

This is a great example of why it’s so important to save the original file in C2S and a working copy in your machine format.  Make your changes to the original and you’ll always have the ability to edit.

 

 

June 2017 Update – Video!

Take a video tour of June 2017’s Update, Version 9.55 with Katherine Artines.  Katherine – our resident digitizing whiz – posted a 48-minute tutorial focused on the June update for Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro (PEP) digitizing software.  She’ll walk you through each of the new features so you can see them in action.  Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2867m5j4ZM

In Katherine’s newest video, you’ll explore PEP’s newest features: Nap Blocker, Projection, Filter and Change Style. 

The best part of watching Katherine work her magic is you can learn at your own pace.  You are free to stop the video, rewind and watch important segments again. Before I watch Katherine’s videos, I open Perfect Embroidery Pro so I can duplicate her lesson as she teaches. I watch a few minutes, pause the video and minimize the YouTube screen. Then I repeat the steps she taught in my own software.

If I struggle with the technique, I maximize the YouTube screen and watch again. Once I feel like I know what I’m doing, I move onto her next technique.  I found this is the easiest way for me to master a new technique – by watching and doing right in the comfort of my home.

Katherine is an excellent teacher, she explains every keystroke she takes so that you’re not trying to guess how to get the results she gets.  She uses built-in designs so you can duplicate her work. Plus, she encourages you to use in the built-in art tools as many of us are not artists. She shows you how to powerful results in just a few keystrokes.

Subscribe to the Inspired By Dime YouTube channel and you’ll be notified as soon as a new video is posted.  Then take the time to watch – you’ll learn how to get more out of your embroidery software investment!

Free Updates – June 2017!

If you own Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro, you enjoy free updates forever. Really.  Forever.  Many updates work in the background to keep your software compliant with the latest Windows updates. In addition, some PEP updates include new features.  This month, you’ll find three very handy new features.  When you log on to PEP on Monday, June 5, you’ll be prompted to update your software. It’s not mandatory but it is advisable.

Three of my favorite new features are Projection, Filter and Nap Blocker. Let’s take a look at each one.

Projection morphs a single running outline into unique rows of flowing stitches.  Digitize a curvy line, overlapping here and there to mimic half of a butterfly. 

Select the line.  In the Properties Box, click the arrow next to Standard in the Type field and select Projection.   

Wow – look at what Projection produces!  Beautiful! 

I copied, pasted and mirror imaged the wing.  Then I added antennae and a body. 

It’s easy to change the distance between the rows of stitching. In the Properties Box on the Run, change the Density to produce different results.  The image above was 4.0. A bit more open is 6.0.An exaggerated spacing of 12.0 results is wide open spaces between the rows.

Filter allows you to make quick changes to specific stitch types.  Open a design that includes a variety of stitch types (satin, steil, run, complex fill, etc).  The Owl is from Inspirations’ Elegant Wisdom Collection, design #98627301.  Select the design, right click and select View, Filter. 

A new window pops up with all stitch types.  Place a check mark in the Run box and click OK. 

Now only the run stitches are visible. 

You can make any change you want to these stitches. For now, let’s just change the color to black. 

Select all, right click, View, Show All. 

That was so easy!

What if you want to stitch this owl on terrycloth?  Those run stitches will seep into the texture and disappear.  The Nap Blocker feature adds a layer of stitches behind all other stitches to hold down the nap of textured fabrics.  Select the design, right click, Utility, Create Nap Blocker.

Now the design will sit on a field of stitches whose only job is to smooth the texture of the fabric. The software automatically puts the Nap Blocker segment as the first stitches of the design. Assign a new color to the Nap Blocker, then select a thread to match the fabric. the Nap Blocker stitches will be practically invisible. 

Next Saturday, we’ll delve into to the newly-updated Style feature and explore the Vintage settings in the new Filter feature.  In the meantime, enjoy Projection, Nap Blocker and Filter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frame or Fill? Have It Your Way

A simple way to transform a shape into a satin frame in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro is to use the Create Outline tool.

Select the Star from the Artwork tool menu.

Drag the cursor across the screen to draw the star.  It’s a natural step to select the star, right click and select Convert to Satin.  But here’s what happens:

 

The satin stitches fill the star instead of outlining the star. Click on the Undo key. Select the star, right click and select Create Outline. The default setting .08”, that’s fine for this exercise. Click OK.

The points of the outline are squared off so let’s remove a stitch point from each leg of the star to create sharp points.  Select the Shape tool, click on a point, right click and Delete Point.

Select both stars, click on the Combine tool (the paper clip).

Select the star (it’s one unit now), right mouse click and select Convert to Satin.

 

Boom! There’s your frame!  It’s so easy, give it a try.

 

I Should Know Better!

Often, I have very large and complex projects to design, digitize, test, photograph and write the instructions.  These tasks are intense, highly-technical and deadline-oriented. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I’ve been doing it for a long time, a realllllly llllllong time. So I know what I’m doing. And I relish digging into a big project. Recently, I set aside a whole day to work at home (way less interruptions!) to tackle this new project.

I was pumped because I was at the testing stage. All designs were digitized and critiqued in software. It was time to stitch the designs on fabric before moving to the actual project – a full size quilt. I’m never satisfied until I actually stitch the design on fabric.  I see results during the stitch out that I never catch in software. So I grabbed a quilt sandwich for testing and popped it into a Snap Hoop Monster.  And pressed Start. Thirty stitches later and I see skipped stitches. And again, and again.

Then the thread breaks.  I rethread. Same result.

I check the bobbin and reinsert it. Same result.

I change the needle. Same result.

I put the thread on a vertical thread stand. Same result.

I call my sister Marie and complain. She listens and laughs. I’m not laughing, good thing she’s 1200 miles away.

I start the machine again. Same result.

I change the bobbin. Same result.

I change the thread. Same result.

I CHANGE DESIGNS. Same result. By now, you can imagine, I am F U R I O U S.

I exhale, several times. And then I call Scott Goodman, author of the Great Scott column in Designs, and explain the situation. Scott is like a good therapist; he listens intently and asks thought-provoking questions.  But this time, none of his questions provide the answer I need – how to make the machine work!  So he gently suggests that I have my dealer take a look at the machine.  That’s the kiss of death. Now I love dealers and totally respect all technician’s abilities but I DON’T HAVE TIME TO GO TO THE DEALER today. So I thank Scotty and just when we are about to hang up, he says, “Well, flagging can cause that.” I said, “Flagging?”

He responded, “Flagging, when the fabric is not secure in the hoop, the needle can lift the fabric off the bed and the needle and bobbin threads do not connect to make the stitch.”

I turned 10 shades of pink. I was so glad Scott wasn’t actually in my sewing room because I know what flagging is and what causes it. You see, in my haste, I grabbed a quilt sandwich that did not FILL the hoop. And I know that the fabric should fill the hoop but I did it anyway.  Then when disaster struck I didn’t connect my mistake with the skipped stitches. I blamed every variable except the user.

Shame on me!  Scott and I had a good chuckle over that. The fix was so easy – I hooped another quilt sandwich – larger than the hoop – and it stitched perfectly!

I’m grateful for Scott’s long-distance diagnosis – he’s a gem. Connect with him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/GreatScottSews/

I’d love to know if you’ve ever had an experience like this. What do you do when you ‘hit the wall’ with an embroidery project?

Vintage, Old School, Retro – Get the Look!

Last week, Sew Much More, Austin, TX, hosted the first Vintage Chic event and wow- it was a hit!  Attendees were fascinated with the look of this trendy embroidery.  Inspirations Education Consultant Ashley Jones repeatedly heard, “Did you embroider your shirt?  Can I do that too?”

Ashley Jones, Inspirations Education Consultant

They were captivated with the new techniques Ashley shared.  The four-hour class went by in a flash.  Ashley freely shared her samples and knowledge so that attendees could go home immediately and have success. She even shared how she used the threads on her serger.

Dime’s Rope 15 wt. polyester thread stitched on a serger!

And how to mix these chunky stitches with prints – like a powerful black and white stripe!

It even pops on prints!

There were so many happy faces in the crowd.

Who said embroidery is a solitary sport?

They couldn’t wait to get started on their own vintage creations.  Attendees exclaimed, “Finally!  I can duplicate this look on my home embroidery machine.”

Ready to get started!

Not only will they have immediate success with these techniques but you’ll two very informative videos on the Inspired by dime YouTube channelOur stitching wizard, Katherine Artines, posted these Vintage introductory videos on Friday.  If you’d like to learn more about the software, click here to watch Katherine’s videos.  While you’re there, subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get all of the latest information on the Inspirations software line.

Dealers across the country are hosting Vintage Chic events.  Click here to find an event near you!  Join in on the fun because the embroidery rules have been rewritten!

 

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.

 

Fun with Symbols!

The built-in Symbol designs in Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro are tiny and intended to be used as border accents.  But you can do so much more with symbols.  Their small stature makes them perfect candidates for stitching fields of flowers, flocks of birds and schools of fish with just a few clicks.

Open a new screen in Perfect Embroidery Pro and click on the Symbol icon. Scroll down through the menu and select the Fish. Click OK. 

In the color sequence window, change the first color to blue, same as the second color.  

Recolor the blue and white to something you’d like. I chose blue and yellow.

Select each color, click on the Command tab in the Properties Box and change the End command to trim from normal. Click Apply. Make sure you do this for all three colors.

If you don’t, you might wind up with a mess like this:

Select the fish, click on the arrow next to the Circle tool and select Scatter.

Change the Area to 100mm x 100mm.  Remove the check in the Auto Rotate box and click Apply because fish in schools all swim in the same direction.

Click Apply again if you’d like a different layout.  These layouts are random so if you see one you like, click OK.

Select the design and Ungroup.  Reposition any fish if you’d like. At this point, there are 162 colors in the design. Yikes!  That’s a nightmare but an easy fix. Select all of the fish, go to Edit and select Resequence by Color.

The design is now three colors but it appears the needle will be jumping all over the hoop. 

No worries.  Go to File, Optimize Sequence. 

Now the design will stitch logically and your one fish has multiplied into a whole school!

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