Archive of ‘Eileen Roche’ category

I Sew For Fun

To all of us, Nancy Zieman was an industry icon but to her granddaughters, she was Grandma.

Nancy loved hanging out with all of her granddaughters. Sometimes she would sew with Avery and Luella (the older granddaughters) but often they would bake. Playing in the kitchen with Grandma is something every child wants to do.  Nancy Zieman’s children were no different.  Nancy enjoyed not only baking in the kitchen but also playing on the computer with her granddaughters while they decorated cupcakes and other bakery items in a popular software program.  She marveled at how engaged her granddaughters were, how they intuitively knew what buttons to click and how pleased they were with their creations.

She really wanted to experience something similar with them for sewing.  She shared this desire with me in early 2017. I listened to her thoughts and then explained the possibilities that we could make happen here at dime.  After Nancy and I defined what we wanted the software to do, the dime software development team jumped into action. They understood our goal of creating a one-of-a-kind software program that children and adults could enjoy.

Nancy and I knew that kids would jump right into this program because they love technology. To them, it’s a natural first step in the sewing process. Create the fabric, print the pattern and move to the sewing machine!  That’s what Click, Print & Stitch does.

Imagine what fun it would be to help a youngster design an outfit for an 18” doll.  They can make capris, a skirt, sundress, top and skirt.  Of course, they can personalize the fabric by drawing their own embellishments like dots, diamonds, squares, hearts and more.  Unlimited color choices are just a click away or they can choose from a built-in repeatable pattern.

 

Kids love the cat and dog pillows.  Here we show a purple cat but this kitty could be any color under the rainbow.

 

Our blue dog is a big hit with everyone. In just three simple steps, the project is complete!

 

Click, Print & Stitch is just one element of Nancy Zieman’s I Sew for Fun line of youngster-friendly sewing notions, a child’s book, Amazing Design embroidery collection and more. This new line of products ensures Nancy’s legacy of making sewing easy is passed down to the next generation. I’m looking forward to using all of these products with my 5-year old grand daughter – lots of memories in the making!

What project would you like to do with a youngster?  Share your thoughts below and one random winner will receive a copy of Nancy Zieman’s I Sew For Fun Click, Print and Stitch software program.

To Learn more about Click, Print and Stitch, visit Nancy’s Notions.   To watch the I Sew For Fun episodes on Sewing with Nancy, click here. You can watch online, anytime at WPT.org!

 

Tips for Digitizing for Metallic Thread

It’s sparkle time!  Dealers around the country are watching metallic thread fly off their shelves as embroiderers reach for their favorite holiday thread.  You can add this shiny element to many designs but you should set yourself up for success.

Use your digitizing software to change some elements into metallic-friendly details.  In Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software, lengthen run stitches.  My normal stitch length for quilting designs is 2.2.  For metallic threads, I increase the length to 2.8.  The longer stitch length lets the metallic thread shine on the fabric while shorter stitch lengths, tend to hide the pretty sheen.  Imagine how pretty those longer stitches will look on a dark fabric. 

Reduce the density of a complex fill.  The stitches should lay right next to each other without overlapping. The density default setting is 5.0, type in .80 and click Apply.

If your design requires underlay, consider making the underlay a separate color.  Stitch the underlay first in a coordinating polyester thread, then switch to the metallic to add the top layer.

Satins – think curves!  Metallics really shine when light bounces off the thread at different angles.  So curve your satin columns, and adjust the widths to take full advantage of the light.

The satin column on the right will reflect more light than the blue, straight column.

When digitizing for metallic thread, schedule some extra time for testing your digitized designs.  Later in the week, I’ll share tips for stitching with metallic. I’m hoping all of your holiday stitching is happy stitching!

Embroiderers Always Get This Request

Stitching a name on a stocking cuff is something almost every embroiderer is called upon to do during the holiday season. Most cuffs are faux fur with long fibers that can creep over embroidery obstructing the beautiful stitches.  On Saturday, I showed how to use Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software to create a light complex fill to hold down long fibers of faux fur.

Now let’s take a look at how to stitch it.  On a single needle machine, you’ll have to open the side seam of the cuff to flatten it (and possibly a portion of the stocking).  Find the horizontal center of the cuff and place a target sticker in that position.  Point the arrow towards the top of the cuff (where it meets the stocking) so that the word will stitch in the correct orientation.

Hoop adhesive tear-away stabilizer and remove the protective paper.   Place the cuff on the hooped stabilizer, keeping the straight edge parallel to the hoop. I like to rest the body of the stocking over the pantograph as it has less chance of falling into the sewing field.  If there’s a hanging loop, pin it to the stocking.

Stitch color 1, the light complex fill, in a thread color that matches the cuff.  

This color’s only function is to hold down the nap of the fur. It should virtually disappear after the decorative embroidery is applied.  If you look closely at the image, you’ll notice I changed threads in the center section.  The outside sections are stitched in a 40 wt. polyester thread – with the traditional sheen of an embroidery thread. The center section was stitched in our Retro Vintage thread – 40 wt., a matte finish.  I think it disappears quite nicely. In fact, I can’t wait to try it on towels. Anyway, back to the task at hand.

Stitch the next color in traditional thread and you’re done! 

No topper to remove, just tear it away from the hooped stabilizer and it’s ready to hang. How many stockings have you stitched this holiday season?

Tame Those Furry Fibers!

Cold weather calls for cozy fabrics like Minky, faux fur and lofty knits.  As wonderful as they are to wear, they present challenges when it time to add embroidery to them.  First, their fibers creep over embroidery camouflaging the beautiful stitches. Second, since they’re lofty and bulky, they’re hard to hold in a hoop.

Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for taming the fibers.  Nap Blocker adds a layer of complex fill stitches that’s just light enough to flatten the lofty fibers creating a smooth surface for the embroidery. Here’s how to do it in PEP.

Select the Text tool and type JOY in the Properties Box.  I used the Bookman font. 

Select the design, right click to access the command menu.  Select Utility, Nap Blocker.

Instantly, a layer of complex fill is added to the design in the first color position.

The fill extends .15” beyond the design to ensure any long fibers will not obstruct the embroidery.  You can change this by selecting the fill only and resizing.

Notice how the complex fill is placed at the beginning of the design in the color sequence. 

Stitch the complex fill in the same color thread as the fabric. This is key because you want these stitches to disappear behind the beautiful embroidery.  And…you don’t have to use a topper when you use Nap Blocker. How sweet is that?

Now to hoop – I use Snap Hoop Monster for all lofty fabrics because the magnetic flat frame does not leave hoop burn.  My 5” x 7” is my go-to hoop for these bulky fabrics – its strong grip does a great job for monogramming and more!

PEP and Snap Hoop Monster are a powerful combination for furry fibers.  Use it for Christmas stockings, faux fur throws and Minky blankets.

 

 

Free New Features in PEP!

The development team at Inspirations wants to wish you a happy holiday season with two exciting new features in Perfect Embroidery Pro!  Update your software now (for free!) to Version 9.68.  I’m sure you remember (and it might be why you purchased PEP) that all updates are free for life in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Katherine Artines created a new 45-minute tutorial on the new features. She gives a thorough exploration – and explanation – of the new tools.  She confesses her new favorite feature is Navigator.  Navigator allows you to view areas of a design quickly by blending the Zoom and Pan tools into one window.   You can access the Navigator on a tab at the bottom left of the screen, next to the Library and Color Sequence tabs. Here’s a close-up view of the area.

Notice the blue box  – that shows the magnified area in the main screen.

You can move the blue box in the Navigator window to any area of the design. This tool is such a time-saver – I love it!

If you’re intrigued with embossed fills, they you’ll be overjoyed with the expanded control you now have. Scale percentage allows you to change the size of the actual embossed pattern.  Katherine has a great example – three rectangles, three different percentages.

Of course, there’s more!  Now the angle can set the angle of the embossed pattern to follow the shape of the letters or any shape.  Just put a check mark in the box, click apply and you’re done.  Take a look at JOY without the check mark.

And JOY with the check mark.  Notice how the pattern flows with each letter, not just in a vertical pattern like above.  It bends around the curve of the J, around the O and out into the branches of the Y.

Another great example of the Inspiration development team listening to its users.  It’s just keeps getting better and better!

Check out Katherine’s video and see how she cleverly used the new features for her holiday decorations.

 

E-Stitch or Satin?

Do you like to finish the edges of your applique with an e-stitch or a satin?  I have to admit I like both finishes.  In fact, in some projects, I mix them.  I’m working on a quilt – a large quilt – that features five embroidered blocks in a modern composition. Each block has four flowers, stems, leaves and some sort of center design to link them together. I opted to include one block with e-stitch edges.  It’s the center block so it works in the overall layout.

When deciding what type of edging to use in an applique project, remember satin (and motif) edges introduce another element to each applique. The edging can blend with the applique fabric, the host fabric or contrast with both. 

E-stitches usually blend with the applique fabric and of course, there is no applique fabric beyond the e-stitch edging.

The key to success for e-stitch applique is to apply a fusible web to the wrong side and pre-cut the applique pieces. Since a tack down stitch would be visible in the final applique, don’t include a tack down on e-stitch appliques. Instead, use a tacky fusible web such as Steam A Seam. The tacky adhesive will hold the applique in place while the e-stitch is applied. It can be fused permanently after removing the project from the hoop.

The applique feature in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro and My Quilt Embellisher gives you control over placement guides and tack downs.  Follow along in your software so you can see how easy it is to remove a placement guide.   Select a leaf from the Applique Shapes menu.

The default applique is a satin edge.

Change the type in the Properties Box to E-Stitch. Notice the check marks in both the Placement line and Tack down line boxes. 

Remove the check from the Tack down line box.

When you stitch the design, apply the tacky fusible web to the pre-cut applique pieces and you’ll have a beautiful applique.

 

Sharing the Craft   

What’s the best part of sewing? Inspiring others to learn the craft. Sometimes the ‘inspiration’ is subtle, not deliberate. You don’t have to sit someone at a machine and show them how to operate it. No, inspiration can happen by osmosis. Just exposing someone – specifically family members at a young age – to sewing. Leaving the sewing room door open, welcoming them into your creative space and answering questions.

Mothers and daughters can lock heads when it comes time to teach sewing. In fact, in many households, the love of sewing skips a generation.  But not always.  My niece, Lindsey Zinno (daughter of my infamous stitching sister, Marie Zinno), is the proud maker and owner of The Northern Market. Lindsey created NM to provide multi-functional fiber art for the modern home and lifestyle.  Her work is sold online and in boutiques across America and Europe.  And she started this company at the ripe old age of 17 – yes, SEVENTEEN!

Marie has always left her sewing room door open to Lindsey encouraging her to find her way and explore different mediums.  Lindsey witnessed Marie succeed in her commercial embroidery business and joined the Stitching Sisters on the road.  I think she couldn’t help being inspired by her surroundings.  

Today, she’s featured on Nancy Zieman’s blog as she was a guest on Sewing with Nancy. How did that come about? Well, I happened to be taping with Nancy in November 2016 when Marie sent me a link to a local newspaper story about Lindsey and The Northern Market. I showed Nancy and she was intrigued with Lindsey craftsmanship and minimalist style.  She wondered if Lindsey would like to be guest on Sewing with Nancy.  Not many people turn down that offer.

Lindsey’s success is due to her creative, open spirit. As a youngster, she was forever dabbling in art – drawing, painting, sculpting and music. She was like a sponge, drawing inspiration from everything and everyone around her. It was no surprise that she took to making rope baskets under the tutelage of another one of my sisters, Mary Pat Palombo (the oldest of my five sisters and the first stitcher).  While visiting Mary Pat, Lindsey watched her wrap clothesline with fabric and then sew the wrapped cord into baskets. Lindsey jumped into action and quickly made the technique her own.

Like many of today’s makers, she started selling her work on Etsy. As she poured her heart and soul into every stitch, The Northern Market’s popularity grew. She will graduate from the University of Cincinnati this spring and then, heaven knows what’s next for her.

You can watch Lindsey and Nancy as they share these techniques with you on, Rope Sewing Reinvented on Sewing with Nancy.  Click here to watch online now.

Thanks for letting me toot my horn – I’m so proud of Lindsey!

Houston is Ready…

If you’ve been hesitant about heading to Quilt Fest next weekend in Houston, don’t be, come on down!  The George Brown Convention Center is in pristine condition after serving as host to Hurricane Harvey evacuees. This weekend is Quilt Market, the industry’s largest convention to the trade, and attendance appears to be up as quilt shop owners flock to Houston.

But that’s not the only reason to be in Houston this weekend. Just a block away from the convention center, the Houston Astros are in the World Series at Orange Maid Park!  It’s not very often that you stumble across a display like this:

 

Here’s a closer look at each showcase:

Quilt Market 2017

2017 World Series

What’s so great about Quilt Market?  This is THE event to see new product, new fabric lines and beautiful quilts. What we see here this weekend will hit be hitting stores soon – sometimes immediately or a few months down the road.

The day before the show floor opens, Schoolhouse classes are staged in every available classroom on the second floor (this place is massive!). I assisted Deanna Springer in Nancy Zieman’s class, I Sew for FunTwo of Nancy’s granddaughters appeared on the PBS Sewing with Nancy show and the book that highlights that series is titled, I Sew For Fun.

It’s a new line of product geared at the younger generation and includes child-friendly notions from Clover.  Check out this retractable seam ripper – perfect for little hands (and big ones!).

Martingale published Nancy’s charming illustrated child’s book.

Easy in the hoop embroidery designs from Amazing Designs make computerized embroidery fun for little techies.

You’ll find a user-friendly software program, Click, Print and Stitch.  All of these products will be available at your sewing machine dealer or Nancy’s Notions very soon.

This whole concept from Nancy is focused on teaching adults how to teach children to sew.  After all, it’s common to have a young assistant in the kitchen but you wouldn’t let them loose with needles, knives and hot plates.  In the sewing room, the little stitcher needs a big stitcher to get started.

Today, the Quilt Market officially opens and I’m excited about visiting with our cherished machine advertisers: Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, Elna, Janome, Viking and Pfaff. They spend hours and hours designing their booths and samples to inspire shop owners.  I love seeing the samples they make to highlight new machine features and accessories (hoops, feet and more!).

This is often the only time of the year I get to visit with designers in person instead of over the phone or email.  I’m often humbled with the amount of work that goes into creating their displays.  I know how difficult it is to be a one-woman show!  Their samples and product bloom with creativity as they pour their heart and soul into every stitch.

On Monday, the doors of Quilt Market will close and the floor will be transformed to accept thousands of quilters for Quilt Fest.  By then, the World Series will be over and the town will be ready to host it’s favorite convention – Quilt Fest!  So come on down, Houston is waiting for you!

Magnify Those Stitches

Here’s a sneak peek at a recent work in progress.  These jeans will be featured in an upcoming issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery and I’m excited to see them on the model.

I know you’ve seen the flower patches in previous posts but check out the magnifying effect on this patch:

Isn’t that fun? Follow along in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro to duplicate the technique.  Use the Art tool to draw a rectangle.  Select the rectangle, right click, Convert to Complex Fill. 

In Properties Box, change the Fill type to Motif, Pattern 129.  Change the Pattern Length to 10.0. Click Apply. 

Draw a circle and position it off one corner. 

Convert the circle to Complex fill. Select the circle and rectangle and click on Combine.  

The overlapped area will be empty.

Draw around the open space. 

Convert to Complex Fill, Motif, Pattern 129, Pattern length 18.0 mm.

Select all, right click, Utility, Create Outline.  

Enter 0.0 in the distance field and click OK. Make sure the color sequence is rectangle, circle and border. Since I planned on stitching this on denim, I assigned Vintage Retro 40 wt thread to the first two colors and the Vintage Rope 15 wt. to the border to mimic hand stitches.  Enjoy!

 

 

Give Thanks Video Tutorial Part 2

Check out Part 2 of Katherine Artines’ Give Thanks video tutorial on YouTube.  Finish the remaining two blocks of the fun Thanksgiving project begun in Give Thanks Part 1. You’ll create additional custom stippling and work with Text on Path and the Outline feature. Katherine illustrates how to access artwork from Word Art in Stitches and use it for other techniques. 

If you’ve been wanting to explore the Artwork and Shape tools, this video will help you understand the features of both helpful tools.  Learn how and when to use the Combine tool plus how to set colors in the proper order (sequencing).

Katherine shares the steps for completing the quilted wallhanging – the actual sewing part!  She’s so much more than a ‘virtual quilter’, I’m sure you’ll pick up several tips to use in your digitizing.  Enjoy!

1 2 3 19