Archive of ‘Embroidery Techniques’ category

Multi-Needle Monday- Personalized Christmas Stocking

It’s that time of the year again….time to handle the tricky task of stitching a Christmas stocking. Every year I am approached by customers who need their family Christmas stockings personalized. There are endless styles, sizes, and fabrics of stockings and I have embroidered them all. I will share my quick and painless technique for stitching the cuff area of a Christmas stocking. I always use a Target Ruler and target stickers.

Products used: Tear away stabilizer, Target Ruler contained in Hoop it Up book, target sticker, Snap Monster Hoop for Quick Snap (4X4, 5X7 combo with attachment).

Step 1: Find the exact center of the cuff by using our Target Ruler, insert a target sticker into the center hole (make sure the arrow on cross hair is facing in the proper orientation for the name to be stitched). Remove the ruler and keep the target sticker in place.stocking1BLstocking2BL

Step 2: Turn the stocking inside out with the target sticker still in place. stocking3BLstocking4BLMake sure the stocking cuff will slide over the Monster Snap Hoop frame. Remove the arms of the embroidery machine and attach the metal attachment of the Monster Snap Hoop.stocking5BLstocking6BL

Step 3: Measure the opening of the metal frame to make sure the text will fit inside the hoop.stocking7BL Always use the “trace” feature before adding the garment or stocking onto the hoop . The embroidery machine does not “read” this hoop so you have to be certain the embroidery design or text will fit inside and adjust it if needed.

Step 4: Add a piece of tear away stabilizer to the top of the metal frame and hold in place with tape under the frame; slide the cuff onto the frame.stocking8BL Rotate the text to stitch in the right direction.stocking9BL Remove the target sticker when the needle is aligned with the cross hair on target sticker.stocking10BLstocking11BLstocking12BL

Step 5: Embroider the text or name and remove the stocking from the hoop. Turn right side out.

*Sometimes you only have one hoop size that will fit over the stocking cuff. Therefore, adjust the text size to make the job easier to embroider. Always use the trace feature to double check that the embroidery will fit inside the hoop selected before stitching.

Click the link below to save $20 on my Craftsy class: “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno

Embroidering on Velvet

A few weeks ago, many of you responded to my request for future blog topics. I’ve found your suggestions helpful and sometimes I’m at a loss for what to blog about.  I’ll be working through your requests as time permits. Kathy E. asked about embroidering on velvet and since velvet is a holiday favorite, I thought I’d tackle that first.

Kathy E. “A few years ago, I bought an expensive piece of plush black velvet. I had hopes (and still do) to embroider a large, fancy “E” on it, and then make it into a pillow. I’ve never taken on the project because I don’t know what stabilizer and needle to use. I’m thinking it would be best to use a topper too. If you could give me any tips, I’d be so thankful, then I could get this project going!”


Velvet shimmers when viewed from one angle, and becomes a deep, matte surface when tilted away from a light source. It’s an alluring textile and not one that we use very often.  Let’s discuss its challenges for an embroiderer.

  1. Velvet’s nap crushes when pressure is applied. A standard embroidery hoop will damage velvet’s delicate surface so don’t hoop it! Instead, hoop cut-away stabilizer and spray the cut-away with temporary adhesive. Finger press the velvet to the sticky surface centering the design area in the hoop.
  2. Embroidery design. Designs with complete filled areas work best on velvet. Running stitches and narrow satin columns will sink into the velvet’s pile.  Keep in mind velvet is a delicate fabric with a luxurious drape so avoid heavy dense designs.
  3. 75/11 sharp needle will do the job.
  4. It’s tempting to use a topper but you should proceed with caution here because removable is crucial. Options for toppers are no topper (most pile is very short), a lightweight water soluble film-type (think Sulky’s Solvy regular weight) or tulle.  You will not actually apply water to the velvet to remove the Solvy but you’ll tear it away since regular weight Solvy perforates at the stitch line very easily.  Tulle also tears easily and if you select a tulle that matches the velvet, any remaining bits will not be visible as they’ll blend in with the background.
  5. Once the design is complete, carefully remove the hoop from the machine and release the stabilizer from the hoop. Pink the edges of the stabilizer around the design – leaving at least ¼” of stabilizer.

Use these tips for your holiday stitching and you’ll be pleased with the results. Always remember to approach each embroidery project with common sense. Think about the care instructions for a fabric and use them as a guideline for selecting stabilizers (water, heat, etc). You can handle this!


Here’s your assignment this week:

As I mentioned above velvet can be a challenging textile. What other fabrics do you find challenging yet alluring to use? Your comment will enter you in next Wednesday’s random drawing for a $20 gift card to !

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

So why not hop over there and come back here to tell us what Bunnycup design collection is your favorite?  Your comment will enter you in next Wednesday’s random drawing for 3 $50 vouchers to Bunnycup Embroidery.

The winners are:  

Kati: “I love all the wonderful designs from them. My favorite set is the woodland animals…they are sooo cute!”

Diane: “I really love the “Christmas Village” Set. There are too many to pick from, I really love them all.”

Deanna: “I love the Pretty Ponies designs. Cute designs, I had not checked out this website before. Love it.”



Software Saturday – The Backdrop Tool in My Quilt Embellisher

One of the helpful features of Inspiration’s My Quilt Embellisher is the backdrop tool. The backdrop tool allows you to bring an image on to the screen and audition embroidery in actual time. It’s a surefire way to design beautiful blocks.
First, take a photograph or scan an image of your quilt into your computer. Take note of where you stored the photo on your hard drive.
Open a new file in My Quilt Embellisher. Go to File, Load Backdrop. Locate the image of your quilt block and click OK.MQE_b1
The image appears behind the grid on your screen. Chances are the image is not perfectly square on the screen. That’s ok; it’s an easy fix in My Quilt Embellisher. Hover the cursor over the backdrop tool on the left toolbar.MQE_b2
Click on the small arrow under the icon to access the Backdrop tools. Select Define horizon. MQE_b3
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. The image will straighten on the screen.MQE_b4
In the properties box, notice the size of the image – it’s quite large.MQE_b5
That measurement is the size of the image, not the block. So let’s tell the software exactly what size our block should be.
Select Define Scale from the Backdrop tool menu.MQE_b6
Place the cursor on one corner of the block and with the left mouse button depressed, drag the cursor across the block to the opposite corner. Release the mouse. A window appears. Type in the correct measurement. My actual block measures 7” so I type in 7”.MQE_b9
The image shrinks and in the properties box, the size of the image changes too.MQE_b10
The properties box measurement is larger than 7” because it’s illustrating the size of the image – all the white/gray space that’s actually part of the image.
Now that you are viewing the block in actual size, it’s time to audition embroidery designs in the patches. This block was created for a sweet couple, Liz and Mike Tucker. The monogram font is August, the heart is Block Frill Heart (found in Embellishments) and the bird is #57488 in My Quilt Embellisher Free Designs.MQE_b12

Multi-Needle Monday: Cylinder Hoop Attachment – Brother Entrepreneur

Multi-needle embroidery machine owners are a resourceful and thrifty group. I follow a few Facebook organizations and blogs and try to get a feel for what they are looking for. Most of the questions pertain to hooping and stabilizer challenges on multi-needle machines. Many are overwhelmed once the machine and all the necessary notions are purchased. I remember when I first started my embroidery business; I had no idea about the different accessories that were available to ease hooping.

Last year I taped an episode of It’s Sew Easy TV and I featured the cylinder hoop for the Brother Entrepreneur multi-needle embroidery machine. The series was titled fashion through history. My segment #813 focused on the 1970’s and I embroidered the bottom pant leg of denim jeans. The cylinder hoop can be a useful tool for stitching: upper sleeve on jackets, bottom edge of short sleeve shirts (coaches and corporate), children’s pant legs, narrow opening of bags (wine bags) and any other problematic blanks.

One of the best attributes of the cylinder hoop is the generous embroidery area size: 3 inches tall x 3.5 inches wide. There are three different components of the cylinder hoop: the mounting jig, the cylinder driver and cylinder hoop frame (all included with purchase from your authorized dealer). The hoop is curved and the use of stabilizer is very critical because of the “open window” frame. I suggest using fusible cut away stabilizer when stitching a fabric with stretch. The clips are necessary to hold the fabric in place and inserting the frame to the machine needs a steady hand so as not to push the fabric through the frame opening.

The embroidery machine will “read” the hoop which is helpful but consider if the design needs to be rotated.

Step 1: Loosen and remove the screws from back of machine attachment and remove the “A” or “B” arms, place the screws aside. Insert the cylinder driver on to machine where the arms were removed and tighten the bottom screws (included with the cylinder hoop) as well as inserting the screws from the arms that were removed. Attach the cylinder mounting jig to a table top or metal stand frame and tighten the bottom screw vice which is included with mounting jig. cylinder2BLcylinder3BL

Step 2: Mark the embroidery area on jacket sleeve with a target sticker; turn sleeve inside out and iron the fusible stabilizer to the inside of upper sleeve (or desired location for embroidery). Turn sleeve right side out with target sticker still in place. Insert the cylinder frame onto the mounting jig and slide the sleeve onto the frame.cylinder4BLcylinder5BL Use the included clips to tighten the fabric on the frame on both sides. Remove the frame from the jig carefully and transfer to the cylinder driver.cylinder6BL

Step 3: Embroider the design on upper sleeve area of jacket and remove frame from driver. Remove all clips and re-iron the fusible stabilizer from inside jacket sleeve. Carefully trim the excess stabilizer from inside jacket and clip thread tails if necessary.cylinder8BL

Visit It’s Sew Easy TV to view the segment:

I have included a special coupon for you to use on my Craftsy class: “How to Start a Machine Embroidery Business” with Marie Zinno

Split Long Text Messages for Embroidering on Ribbon

If you have a message that’s longer than your largest hoop, you have two choices, shrink or split the text. Since you don’t always have the option of shrinking text (you might have to fill a certain size space), you might as well learn how to split it. And it’s really quite simple. Here’s how.

Open Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro (you can also follow these steps in Word Art in Stitches). Select the Text tool and type the message in the Properties Box.  Do not hit the return key on the keyboard as you’ll want a long continuous line of text for a ribbon.  Select the font, the sample is Athletic Script. WebRib1BL

The text appears on the screen and if you check the top of the screen, you’ll find the length. The sample was 27 ½” wide. WebRib2BL

Before doing anything else, zoom into the lettering and check the spacing (kerning). WebRib5BL

This is too wide for my taste so I reselect the text (with the Text tool) and change the settings in the property box.  Decrease the height to .65” and reduce the spacing to -4. Click Apply. WebRib6BL

Now the letters almost touch – perfect for stitching on organza. WebRib7BL

But the overall width of the design is still way too big for one hooping.  Let’s breakup the text. Right now, the color sequence box shows the text is all one color and one unit. WebRib7ABL

Select the text and right mouse click. Select Break Up Text from the drop down menu. WebRib8BL

Now the color sequence shows each individual element (underlay, satins, and runs) of the design.  Don’t fret. WebRib8ABL

Click on the Hoop tool and select the hoop you plan on using. WebRib9

Move the text so that the beginning of the message is at the edge of the hoop. Select a logical group of letters. Copy, open a new file and paste.  Save that design as Hoop1. WebRib10BL

Go back to the original file and select the next group. Use natural breaks (between words) to your advantage. WebRib11BL

Save each hooping as a new file and then print templates of each one to help with placement.  See how easy that was?

A Hidden Treasure

My daughter Janelle’s paternal grandmother, Ron Roche (known as Mom Mom in our family), gave her a very special family heirloom at Janelle’s bridal shower. It was the wedding ring she wore on her wedding day. That ring was actually the ring of her mother – Janelle’s great grandmother. The family tradition has been that every Roche woman wears or carries the ring on her wedding day and then passes it to the next bride. What an honor for Janelle to carry this tradition on.

It has been worn by Mom Mom (who was married 71 years), her daughter Sue (currently enjoying 43 years of wedlock),  granddaughters Susie (celebrating 15 years), Katie (10 + years) and Monica (5+) years.

Of course, it was Janelle’s decision on whether she would wear it, tie to her flowers or pin it to her dress.  She didn’t make the final decision until we were in Hawaii for the wedding. I arrived in Hawaii armed with an emergency wedding dress kit – scissors, pins, needles, thread, bits of lace, ribbon, seam binding, hooks and eyes.  I wanted to be prepared for any dress emergency.

Just moments before the photographer arrived, Janelle decided to sew the ring to the dress. I looped the ring through a length of ribbon and hastily sewed it to the label.LabelBL

To have Mom Mom’s ring incorporated to the label brought tears to my eyes.  Mom Mom and I have guided Janelle through her life with love and tenderness.   I don’t think two women have ever loved a girl more than we have loved Janelle. To have the tender touch of our hands joined in this momentous day was almost more than I could handle! But I sniffed away the tears and just beamed at my beautiful little girl – now a grown woman.  My only wish was that Mom Mom could be with us in Hawaii.

That dream would be fulfilled in Ft. Worth, when Mom Mom made the trip from Philadelphia to Dallas for the Texas reception. Here she is – 93 years old – still as full of life and love as she was on the day she was married.momBL

Click here to see the software lesson on making the label.  In the meantime, tell us if you (or someone you love) carried a family heirloom on your wedding day.  A random winner will be selected to win a copy of my newest book, “Hoop It Up, The Stitching Sisters’ Guide to Hooping”.

Here’s your assignment this week:

Tell us if you (or someone you love) carried a family heirloom on your wedding day.  A random winner will be selected to win a $20 Designs in Machine Embroidery gift card!

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

As the fall equinox arrives today it also ends the season of summer. Its funny how the days grow shorter and the embroidery project list grows longer in in the fall. What exciting fall projects do you have in store?

The winner is:  

Debe: “My 2 elder grandsons want a large scarecrow & I want to make a new fall table runner & wall-hanging. I am starting on Christmas gifts, also.”

Puffy Foam!

This post is a continuation from the September 2015 Designs Plus Newsletter.  If you missed it, stop by for a visit by clicking here.

In today’s lesson you’ll learn how to:

  • Work with an embroidery design that is specifically digitized for Puffy Foam.
  • Discover how the stitch sequence has similarities to applique – yet is surprisingly new and different!  (And addicting!)
  • How to use the Circle Template.  (A tool you’ll also find addicting!)

Open Word Art in Stitches.

Click on the Add puffy Text icon in the top toolbar.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Select the Arial Puffy font.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Type the letter “I”.  Click Apply.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click on File / Save As.  Save the design in C2S format.  Exit Word Art in Stitches.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Open Perfect Embroidery Pro Software.  Then go to File / Open.  Select the “I” embroidery design.  Once the design is displayed on the screen, press Ctrl + A, to select the design.  Click on the Circle Template Icon on the top toolbar.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

A new window appears as shown in the image below.  Change the Width and Height to 100.  Change the number of Repeats to 5.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Click Apply to view the layout.  When satisfied with the layout, press Ok.

Click on File / Merge.  Select the Sweet Nothing Spool Design, #09201005.  (This design is available for free courtesy of Sulky and is featured in the September 2015 Designs Plus Newsletter.  If you don’t have the design, click here.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the design in the center of your Puffy border.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Save the design and send to your embroidery machine.

At the Embroidery Machine

Be sure to read the instructions that are included with the Sulky® Puffy Foam™ for tips and techniques.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

I used a Snap Hoop Monster to hoop a sturdy canvas fabric.  I love the color blue – so it was clear I’d use a blue Puffy Foam and blue thread for my design.  You’ll want to match the Puffy Foam with the embroidery thread color.

Stitch the first color, which is a satin stitch outline.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Place the Puffy Foam on top of the satin stitch outline.  Stitch the second color—this second color stitches on top of the Puffy Foam.  If you’ve done applique these steps seem counter-intuitive – but that’s what makes this process so intriguing and exciting!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Once complete, you’ll notice the excess Puffy Foam perforates away from the project.  How delightful!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Repeat the steps for each of the Puffy Foam designs.  Then finish by stitching the center design.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Here’s a close-up view of the 3D-effect created with Sulky’s Puffy Foam.  Looks like Henry found a nice place to contemplate his next embroidery project!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Want to learn more about Sulky’s Puffy Foam?  Visit their website by clicking here.

Be sure to visit the September 2015 Designs Plus Newsletter for more free designs courtesy of Sulky.

Here’s your assignment this week:

As the fall equinox arrives today it also ends the season of summer. Its funny how the days grow shorter and the embroidery project list grows longer in in the fall. What exciting fall projects do you have in store?

Leave a comment below for a hance to win a $20 Designs in Machine Embroidery giftcard!

The winner of the last assignment answered the following question:

Schmetz needles are available at retailers nationwide. Whenever I’m in my local sewing machine dealer, I make sure I pick up a new pack of needles.  I’m building my stash so that I’m prepared for future projects. How about you? Do you have trouble planning properly? Do you jump right in and then regret it later? Or do you approach projects with caution and prepare accordingly?

The winner is:  

Barb: “I do some of each. If I find something I really am excited to try–I jump right in. Other times I may have a pattern that I am “scared” of and I try to plan it out the best I can so hopefully I won’t have too much trouble.”

Top Five Applique Techniques for Plush Fabrics


Most embroiderers love appliqué designs. Appliqué can be used when a large embroidery design is needed but using a high stitch count design is not feasible. Appliqué can also be used to tame thick plush fabrics; such as terry cloth, fake fur and plush velour. In my embroidery business I add appliqué frames in combination with beautiful monograms to lounge chair towels, blankets and baby items. Here are some helpful techniques for creating professional looking appliqué when stitching on plush fabrics.

  1. Pre-wash all appliqué fabric before embroidering.
  2. Use a fusible light weight interfacing to the wrong side of appliqué fabric.
  3. Match the satin stitch thread to your background fabric.
  4. Test the appliqué design on similar fabric before stitching to check the density and quality of design. Adjust design in software if necessary.
  5. Place the embroidery hoop on a clean flat surface when trimming the excess fabric.


Learn more in my Craftsy class; How to Start a Home Embroidery Business with Marie Zinno.

Click here for a $10 coupon.

Embroidering for Small and Plus Size Figures

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

In my first attempts at embroidering a blank garment for a small child, I must admit I struggled. I often made the design too large for the small figure and it always landed in the wrong place. Oh, it looked great when the garment was flat but when worn, it was an entirely different story. The design usually hit closer to the belly button than up near the neckline. And a good portion of a left chest embroidery pretty much always wound up in the armpit.  Once the Children’s Perfect Placement Kit was available, I was saved. I just rely on that handy tool to get the embroidery in the right scale and location for young ones.

At the other end of the scale, embroidering for plus size figures gave me the same trouble.  So what’s my problem? Familiarity. I know what works on a garment that fits a person about my size, give or take a few sizes up or down the scale. But adding a left chest logo to say a man’s XXXL shirt, is not something I do every day.  So finding the right location is difficult. I was relieved when the Embroiderer’s Big Helper was released.  Everyone deserves to look their best when wearing embroidered garments and it’s up to embroiderers to make sure they do. After all, it’s the stitchers who set the look. The common man (those poor souls who don’t stitch) don’t know any better. They need to be led, steered in the right direction when it comes to embroidered garb. After all, they are a walking advertisement for your skills. So help them look their best – use the Embroiderer’s Big Helper when stitching on plus size shirts.

Let me show you how easy it to use.

Fuse Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to the wrong side of the design area. Use enough to fill the hoop – you can trim the excess after stitching.

Place the shirt on a flat work surface. Align the Helper’s straight edge with the center of the placket and position the curved cutout at the neckline.  Align a target sticker to the corresponding size notch.

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog

Remove the Helper and stitch the design.

Remove the shirt from the hoop. Turn the garment inside out and place it on a terrycloth towel on a pressing surface.  Press the stabilizer. Once it’s heated, gently lift it away from the shirt and trim away the excess leaving about ½” stabilizer around the design.  Press again to fuse it back to the garment.

Present the shirt to the lucky recipient!

Eileen's Machine Embroidery Blog


Here’s your assignment this week:

Every sewing studio runs more smoothly with embroidery essentials. For today’s blog, Eileen reached for Sulky’s Soft N Sheer Plus to complete the garment. What’s your favorite go-to Sulky product?

Sulky banner

Post a comment and one very lucky winner is going to score BIG courtesy of our friends at Sulky! Prize includes:

  • 8” roll of Tear Easy
  • 8” roll of Solvy
  • 8” roll of Soft ‘n Sheer
  • 1 can of KK 2000
  • A set of 12 Rayon Threads


The retail value is approximately: $105


The winner of last week’s assignment answered the following question:

Which approach do you most identify with? Are you the experienced machine embroider that begins a new quilt like Eileen or a more novice embroider like Denise who used the quilt designs to finish existing projects? Post your comments and one random winner will be selected to win Windmill Garden Quilts designs. And the winner is:  Beth R. – “I am more of a novice type – plus I have plenty of existing projects to finish!”

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

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

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