Archive of ‘Embroidery Techniques’ category

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.

 

 

To Rip or Not to Rip?

Imperfect stitches happen, no matter how experienced you are. The more you stitch, the better you get. The more confidence you have, the more you trust your machine to produce professional results. Even so, not every project will be perfect.  You can stitch the same design 30 times and 28 of them will be spot on, but two may not be up to snuff. Is it the end of the world? Of course not, but it does beg to answer a serious question, “To rip or not too rip?”

Some rip out EVERY misaligned stitch while others shrug and move on. Here’s the criteria I apply on making this call: How bad is it?  Can it be easily corrected? Will the recipient even know if something is amiss?

How bad is it? On a scale of 1 to 5, is it glaringly noticeable?  That’s a 5.  Barely visible, that’s a 1.

Can it be easily corrected?  On a scale of 1 to 5, will the removal of 20-30 stitches fix the problem?  That’s a 1.  A 5 is when you must start over as the project cannot be salvaged (and really that’s a 10!).

Will the recipient even know something is amiss? If yes, that’s a 5, you must fix it.  If not at all, that’s a 1.

Recently, I stitched an applique name and everything started out smoothly.

But as I advanced to color 3, the satin outline of the first letter, something must have hit the hoop and the outline didn’t cover the tackdown.  Ugh!  

Immediately, I applied the 3 questions: How bad is it? It’s a 1 in my book because the tackdown and satin outline is the same color as the applique fabric and there’s a just a speck of background fabric peaking out.

Can it be easily corrected?  Since I didn’t notice the problem until the satin outline was complete, it’s a 4. That’s a lot of satin stitches to remove.   Plus, I was on a tight schedule so ‘easily corrected’ didn’t fit the time frame.

Will the recipient even know something was amiss? No, not this little angel. She’s only 5 and not an embroidery expert yet!  If this was for a customer, then yes, by all means, rip it out.

End result? I removed the visible tackdown stitches, moved on and completed the project. 

How about you? What’s your criteria for removing stitches?

Learn Today in Your PJs

Resident software wiz Katherine Artines just posted a new tutorial on the Inspired by Dime YouTube channel. This latest video, Give Thanks, concentrates on Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro digitizing software.  She shares easy steps for using (and finding!) artwork that is in the public domain and royalty free to use for digitizing. 

Follow along to make a fun Thanksgiving project as you hone your Shape Tool skills.  A master at lettering of all types, Katherine shows how to make TTText fit into pumpkin shapes. But she doesn’t stop there. She creates Custom Stippling to finish the block.

Imagine what you can do what those skills!  She’s featuring several of PEP’s premium tools:  Backdrop, Artwork, Shape, TTText, Combine and Sequencing.  She even unearths a hidden Windows tool found on most computers: the Snipping tool for capturing screen shots.

Katherine doesn’t leave you hanging at the computer – oh no, she walks you through the embroidery process at the machine.  Watch for free on YouTube.  While you’re there, make sure you subscribe to the Inspired by Dime channel, you’ll be notified of all new posts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrGI7OgUkkY

Your Opinion Matters

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of teaching at Wisconsin Quilt Expo. My topic was Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm.  The one-hour lecture covered everything from selecting designs to placement of designs to handling the bulk/weight of the quilt.  I had a blast! I love that topic and my students were really interested in mastering the technique. I shared everything I know about the topic that I could fit into 55 minutes. You know, I’m originally from New Jersey so I can talk really fast! 

That experience made me wonder what you look for when you want to learn new embroidery techniques.  What motivates you to attend a teaching event? What’s your preferred learning environment: at your local dealer in small groups, large group, hands-on, short lectures, online, TV or in print?  If you prefer a mix of environments, I’d love to hear our thoughts. Would you take a moment to share your thoughts on classes/events?

More Denim Inspiration

Last week, we started with this flower in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro (with Vintage Embroidery Software installed on the computer):

and ended up with this flower:

You can follow those steps by clicking here. Now, let’s take it a step further. Remove the complex fill (blue) and the center embellishment (red).

Resize the flower to 2.13” x 2.07” and move it to the top right corner.

Now that the flower is smaller, you might want to narrow the oval shapes a bit. Just click on each side center point and move the node in towards the center.  Copy and paste all elements.  Move the second flower below the first. 

Remove the two bottom petals and ovals (they are all separate elements).

Select the Shape tool, zoom in and click on the left petal extending below the square.

Move the stop point to a node just above the square outline.

Delete all nodes below the outline. Repeat for the right petal.

Change the colors of the second flower.

Copy, paste and rotate the third flower. Move it to the open space on the left.

Recolor and resequence all elements so that the 15 wt. elements stitch as one color and the 40 wt. ovals stitch as one.

Of course, you can add color stops to stitch three uniquely-colored flowers.

What a fun trio of flower patches!  

In a few months you’ll see what I decided to do with the patches in a future issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery magazine.  I know there is bleach, bling and a bit more of embellishment in their future. But I’d love to hear what you would do them. Please share!

Denim Inspiration

A few weeks ago, I posted several photos of embroidered denim that I spotted in a department store.  You can read that post here.  I mentioned my favorite technique of the several options I showed was this one:

I love that embroidered patch. I found a similar design, Flo_0019Flower_D, in Inspirations Vintage Embroidery software. 

Once I started playing with the idea, I spotted another flower, Flo_0085_Buttercup_D in Vintage Embroidery Software that struck my fancy.

I stitched the flower on a scrap of denim with the intention of making a patch.

I couldn’t resist playing with it a bit more in Perfect Embroidery Pro.  Follow these steps if you want to play along. First, trace around the flower petals and add a complex fill. Apply a stitch length of 3.5 and the same number in the density setting to stitch this color with Inspiration’s 15 wt. Vintage Rope Thread.

Next, use the artwork tool to draw an oval inside of each petal.  Just draw one, then copy and paste each one into position.

Draw a square around the flower and apply a long bean stitch: 3.0.  Reorder the sequence with the complex fill in color 1 (15 wt. Rope), satin outline in color 2 (15 wt. Rope), oval shapes in color 3 (40 wt. thread), flower center in color 4 (15 wt. Rope) and finally the square outline in 15 wt. thread.

Next weekend, I’ll walk you through the third version of Flo_0085_Buttercup_D.

Wisconsin Quilt Expo 2017

 

In just a few short weeks, I’m heading to my favorite quilt show – Wisconsin Quilt Expo, in Madison, Wisconsin, Sept 7-9, 2017.  Why is WQE my favorite quilt show?  Well, first off, it was created by my dear friend, Nancy Zieman, so I know every detail has been covered.  Second, it’s in Wisconsin in early September.  Wisconsin literally sparkles in late summer.  Third, the food – oh my.  They don’t call it America’s Dairy Land for nothing!  Fourth – the people. I’ve never met a population that pitches in with such gusto and a smile.  If you don’t know what I mean, consider this: Green Bay Packer fans VOLUNTEER to shovel out the stadium on a snowy game day. In fact, they stand in line to do so!  Oh, I love Wisconsin.

I am honored to teach one of my favorite topics, Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, at 1:00 every day. Tickets are on sale now and from what I hear – going fast!

I can’t wait to meet with fellow quilters especially those who want to get more out of their embroidery machines and finish those quilt tops they so lovingly created. I want to show them that it is possible to quilt an entire quilt – even a queen or king – on an embroidery machine. I’ve been doing this for years and along the way, I’ve made every mistake.  Now, I can confidently finish my quilts.  In my class, you’ll learn how to select designs for specific areas of the quilt, precisely place designs and handle all that bulk. To purchase a ticket to Turn Your Embroidery Machine into a Longarm, just click here.

We’ll discuss continuous line designs.

Custom designs (that fit perfectly into specific spaces.

And we’ll take a look at nesting designs.

I’ll share my secrets for perfect placement of all three types of quilting designs. To see what else is in store at Wisconsin Quilt Expo, visit https://wiquiltexpo.com/

Any chance I’ll see you there?  I hope so!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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!

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